Welcome to another weekend – and with that weekend, we’re one step closer to Christmas.
I’m already seeing events pop up on Facebook advertising “last-minute” holiday shopping events this weekend.
If you think Dec. 15 is last minute, have I got a shock for you.
In the midst of all your “last-minute” shopping this weekend, take a moment to enjoy some of Wichita’s finest events going on.
Use this list of events to help plan your weekend:
Christmas at the Barn
6-9 p.m. Fri., Stone Hill Barn, 9333 SW Haverhill Road, Augusta
If you’re looking for an outdoor excursion this Friday night, look no further than the Stone Hill Barn, just a 20-minute drive out east. There, you’ll find a screening of “The Polar Express,” dinner, a hot chocolate bar, s’mores bar, and an opportunity to meet none other than Kris Kringle himself.
Ballet Wichita Presents “The Nutcracker”
7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., Century II, 225 W. Douglas
Ballet Wichita has a new director and choreographer - Sean McLeod of New York - and a totally new look. The show, which also features New York-based guest artistic director Karen Brown, is set in 2017 and is a massive overhaul on “The Nutcracker.” It’s sure to be a worthwhile experience both for “Nutcracker” regulars and for those who’ve never seen the show before. The cast includes more than 100 local dancers as well as guest artists from across the country.
A Drag Queen Christmas – The Naughty Tour
8 p.m. Fri., Wichita Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway
How’s this for a non-traditional Christmas? Contestants from “RuPaul's Drag Race” on VH-1 will be performing live on stage and rocking the catwalk. We’re talking Shea Coulee, Kim Chi, Aja, Latrice Royale, Naomi Smalls, Chi Chi DeVayne and Eureka O’Hara. The evening will include holiday music and drag performances from several queens. All ages welcome.
Chris Lane Take Back Home Tour
8 p.m. Fri., The Cotillion, 11120 W. Kellogg
Need a break from holiday songs and Christmas carols? American country music artist Chris Lane will be here just in time to fix that. Chris Lane has risen to the top of country music charts over the past few years will perform at The Cotillion. Table reservations are available. Hand-crafted beers from Wichita Brewing Company will be available during the event. The show is general-admission and open to all ages.
5:30-8:30 p.m. nightly, Botanica, 701 N. Amidon
Sure, this happens nearly every day in December, but it’s worth mentioning, because I don’t think I’ve ever included it in this list before. Personally, I’m going to check out Illuminations for the first time this season on Friday night – and you can too. The gardens are completely filled with Christmas lights and there’s plenty of hot cocoa, snacks and other goodies for purchase throughout. It’s a classic holiday date for you and yours.
The Arc’s Lights
5:30-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5:30-9 p.m. Sun., Douglas & St. Paul
While we’re mentioning light events, it’s also worth talking about The Arc’s Lights. This annual drive-through light display features more than a million lights, starting at Douglas and St. Paul. The display is open through Dec. 28.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
9 a.m. Sat., Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd.
For the fitness-conscious among us, there’s a 5K being run downtown early Saturday. The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is a benefit for the Arthritis Foundation, and it’s a race that includes carolers and entertainment along the route. The event has raised nearly $60,000 already, so why not make it a little more this Saturday? Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. on site.
$40 on-site registration for the 5K, $20 age 12 and under. www.jbr.org
Central Kansas Reptile Expo
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., Best Western Wichita North Hotel and Suites, 915 E. 53rd St. North
Who doesn’t love a Best Western filled with reptiles? Certainly not anyone I know. This weekend is the official Central Kansas Reptile Expo at the north Best Western, featuring a whole array of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates available for purchase. Whether or not you’re looking to purchase a scaly friend or just look, this is the place for you.
Harvester Arts Holiday Market
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., Harvester Arts, 215 N. Washington
Here’s one of those “last-minute” holiday shopping opportunities for you (just kidding, this event wasn’t one that billed itself as “last-minute” shopping). Pick up unique, kooky, kitschy, and otherwise one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and decorations made by local artists and craftspeople at this second-annual event.
Take 6 Christmas Concert
8 p.m. Sun., Mark Arts, 9112 E. Central
Want to go to a concert this weekend and support charity while doing it? Check out this show, one of the last events to be held in Mark Arts’ current building at 9112 E. Central. A more-than-10-time Grammy winner, Take 6 will perform an a cappella Christmas set. All of the money raised from ticket sales will be donated to The Salvation Army, Erin is Hope, the Union Rescue Mission and Kidzcope. The concert is put on by Grumpy Old Men. Cocktails can be purchased at the event.