Botanica ramped up its Illuminations event last year by adding many thousands of lights and opening the gardens nightly through New Year’s.
This year, Illuminations will have a new lighted landscape: Candy Land.
“It’s based around the board game,” Kristin Marlett of Botanica said.
The new themed area will be in the Pinetum Garden and will include a gingerbread house, oversized gumdrops and gingerbread-family cut-outs.
It’s among holiday events kicking off around Wichita this week. Lights on St. Paul and Heartspring’s Lights on the Lake, for instance — two Wichita drive-through light displays that raise money for local nonprofits — light up for the season on Thanksgiving Day. (Find complete details about both in the list that follows.)
Illuminations will be open nightly from Friday through Dec. 30 (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas).
Other changes at Illuminations this year: The light show in the Meadow has grown upward with lighted pole trees. More trees in the gardens and more structures in the children’s garden will be lighted, including the treehouse. And there will be a North Pole post where children can send their letters to Santa.
As in the past, kids can visit Santa Claus until Dec. 23, and there will be musical entertainment and $1 treats every night, including s’mores over the fire.
Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and the cost is $7 for adults, $6 for members and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. People who come the week after Christmas will receive a free children’s admission if they bring two cans of food for the Kansas Food Bank.
The event won’t be open this year on Dec. 31, even though a crowd of almost 1,000 people showed up last New Year’s Eve, Marlett said. Finding volunteers and staff to work that night was a problem, she said.
Take a look at the following list of holiday events planned this season in the Wichita area.
Festival of Trees: Sneak Peek Day, Goodwill Industries event with more than 90 decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces. Entertainment, refreshments. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 29. Century II Exhibition Hall, 225 W. Douglas. $2. Information, 316-744-9291 or www.goodwillks.org.
Festival of Trees Starlight Gala, Goodwill Industries’ live and silent auctions and cocktail party. Bid on decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces. 6 p.m. Nov. 30, Century II Exhibition Hall, 225 W. Douglas. $75, ages 21 and older. Information, 316-744-9291 or www.goodwillks.org.
Grace Lutheran Church Cookie Festival, sale of cookies, breads, bars, candy and holiday treats. Coffee and apple cider available. Free samples. 9 a.m. Dec. 1, Grace Lutheran Church, 3310 E. Pawnee. Information, 316-685-6781.
Festival of Trees, more than 90 decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces. Children’s activities. Visits with Santa, entertainment, refreshments for sale. $5. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1, 1-4 p.m. Dec. 2, Century II Exhibition Hall, 225 W. Douglas. Information, 316-744-9291 or www.goodwillks.org.
Nativities Around the World, Bethel College Women’s Association’s display of more than 50 antique to modern nativities from around the world. Baked goods and homemade candies for sale. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 1, Bethel College Fine Arts Center, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton. Free. Information, www.bethelks.edu.
Nature Christmas Crafts, create craft gifts from nature. 1:30-3 p.m. Dec. 2, Dillon Nature Center, 3002 E. 30th Ave., Hutchinson. Ages 7-9, $12 or $9.60 for members. Reservations required, 620-663-7411.
Starry Night, drinks, tour of Botanica’s Illuminations, Friends University Jazz Band performance, buffet dinner, dancing. 5:30-11 p.m. Dec. 7, Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd. $100, 21 and up. Information, 316-268-4912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wichita Eagle Holiday Open House, exhibition of Eagle photographers’ work, family portraits with Santa by Eagle photographers, tours of the newsroom and running press with Eagle staffers, children’s activities, refreshments, live caroling, Eagle + demonstrations. 5-7 p.m. Dec. 6, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas. Free. Information, 316-268-6406 or www.kansas.com.
Victorian Christmas at Cowtown, live musical performances, displays, historical vignettes, demonstrations of 1870s crafts and cooking. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15, Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 W. Museum Blvd. $7.75 adults, $6.50 ages 62 and older, $6 ages 12-17, $5.50 ages 4-11, free for children under 4 and members. Information, 316-350-3323 or www.oldcowtown.org.
Senior Wednesday Holiday Party, refreshments, music and information about 2013 program. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Dec. 5, Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd. Seniors, free. Information, www.seniorwednesday.org.
Breakfast with Santa, Christmas crafts, make a personalized telegram for Santa, Santa’s arrival by stagecoach, breakfast. 9 a.m. Dec. 8 and 15, Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 W. Museum Blvd. $12.95 adults (ages 16 and older), $7.95 children (ages 4-15). Information, 316-350-3323 or www.oldcowtown.org.
Christmas Arts and Crafts Show, 140 exhibitors. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8, Cessna Activity Center, 2744 George Washington Blvd. $2, under 12 free. Information, 316-684-3971.
Christmas and Coffee Holiday Open House, event featuring Christmas shopping, coffee and baked goods. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 8, Louie’s Coffee Dive, 19950 W. Kellogg, Goddard. Free. Information, 316-516-9465.
Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church Sweets from the Valley, 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 8, 1600 W. 27th St. North. Free. Information, 316-838-8460.
Christmas Party at Swingin’ Sunday, live music from Tulsa band Branjae and the Swing Sets. Beginner class 6:30-7 p.m. followed by dancing until 10 p.m. Dec. 9, Harry Reese Dance Studio, 1628 S. George Washington Blvd. $10, members free. Information, 316-351-8276 or www.wichitaswingdance.com.
Christmas Holiday Whirl, square dancing event hosted by West Side Steppers. 7 p.m. Dec. 16, Clare Hall, 861 N. Socora. $4. Information, 316-670-0098 or www.kssquaredancing.com.
Lights on St. Paul, drive-through light display with more than 1 million lights synchronized to music. Santa photos available Fri.-Sun. for $5. 5:30 p.m. Thu.-Dec. 28, Arc of Sedgwick County, 2919 W. Second St. Free; donations accepted. Information, www.arc-sedgwickcounty.org.
Heartspring’s Lights on the Lake, drive-through light display, photos with Santa available. 6-10 p.m., Thu.-Dec. 25, Heartspring, 8700 E. 29th St. North. Free; donations accepted. Information, 316-634-8761 or www.lightsonthelake.org.
Illuminations, elaborate walk-though light display, music performances, nightly Santa appearances, hot drinks and snacks available. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Fri.-Dec. 30, Botanica, 701 N. Amidon. $7 adults, $6 members, $5 ages 3-12, under 3 free. Information, www.botanica.org.
Christmas on the Prairie, Christmas chuckwagon supper, Prairie Rose Rangers show and holiday events. Horse-drawn wagon rides, classic cowboy movies and Silver Screen Cowboy Museum. 5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. in November beginning Sat., Thu.-Sat. in December through Dec. 22. Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper, 15231 SW Parallel St., Benton. Information, www.prairierosechuckwagon.com.
Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas, 5-9:30 p.m. Nov. 24 and noon-4:30 p.m. Nov. 25, Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper, 15231 SW Parallel St., Benton. $47 ticket includes show, the all-you-can-eat chuckwagon supper, horse-drawn wagon rides, classic cowboy movies, Silver Screen Cowboy Museum and a copy of Murphey’s greatest hits CD. Information, www.prairierosechuckwagon.com.
Christmas Express Concert, Shriners Hospitals for Children benefit concert featuring “American Idol” musician Jay Leach. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Nov. 24, The Orpheum Theater, 200 N. Broadway St. $20. Information, 316-263-0884 or www.wichitaorpheum.com.
Christmas Gala Jazz Concert, Bethel College jazz groups’ holiday concert. 8 p.m. Nov. 30, Bethel College’s Krehbiel Auditorium, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton. Free. Donations accepted for the jazz department. Information, www.bethelks.edu.
Home for the Holidays, Newman University Christmas Concert featuring the Chorale and Troubadours. 3 p.m. Dec. 2, Newman University’s DeMattias Performance Hall, 3100 McCormick Ave. $5. Information, 316-942-4291, ext. 2196 or newmanu.edu.
Youth Horizons Benefit Christmas Concert, benefit concert featuring Earnest Alexander and cast and orchestra of Crown Uptown’s “White Christmas.” 7 p.m. Dec. 3-4, Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, 3207 E. Douglas. $25 for show and dessert. Information, 316-612-7696.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Lost Christmas Eve, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman. Tickets $60.50, $50.50, $40.50, $30, www.selectaseat.com.
A Patsy Cline Christmas, show by Kim Coslett and the Patsy Cline Tribute Band. Horse-drawn wagon rides, classic cowboy movies, Silver Screen Cowboy Museum. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6, 13 and 20, Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper, 15231 SW Parallel St., Benton. Adults $30, ages 6-12 $10, ages 3-5 $5, under 3 free. Information, www.prairierosechuckwagon.com.
Christ is Born! Hymns of the Incarnation, St. George Cathedral Choir’s concert of Advent and Christmas music from the Christian East. 4 p.m. Dec. 9, St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral, 7515 E. 13th St. Free. Information, 316-636-4676.
Mannheim Steamroller, 7 p.m. Dec. 9, Century II Concert Hall, 225 W. Douglas. Tickets $69 and $53, 316-219-4TIX or www.wichitatix.com.
“Christmas Rappings,” oratorio telling the Christmas story with styles from opera to country to jazz. Presented by Lyric Opera of Wichita. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 3 p.m. Dec. 15, Century II’s Mary Jane Teall Theatre, 225 W. Douglas. Adults $18, students $10. Information, 316-641-3309 or www.lyricoperaofwichita.org.
Wichita Chamber Chorale “Sounding Joy: Carols, Stories and Legends,” traditional and jazzy music performed by a 30-voice adult ensemble led by Mark Bartel of Friends University. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 4 p.m. Dec. 16, Plymouth Congregational Church, 202 N. Clifton Ave. $15, $12 seniors, $5 students, high school students free. Information, 316-204-2315 or www.wichitachorale.com.
Trinity Academy Christmas Concert, annual choir and band performance. 3 p.m. Dec. 16, Trinity Academy, 12345 E. 21st St. North. Free. Information, www.trinityacademy.org.
Say Grace Thanksgiving Day 5K Race, 9:30 a.m. Thu., GraceMed Health Clinic, 1122 N. Topeka. Registration, $25-$30 at bit.ly/RXEg0C.
Wichita Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, benefit for The Arthritis Foundation. One- and four-mile routes. Prizes, holiday-themed costumes encouraged. 9:30 a.m. Dec. 1, Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd. Registration $30 until Sun., $35 until Nov. 29 and $40 on race day. Information, 316-263-0116 or www.jbrwichita.org.