The appeal of hearth and home can be powerful this time of year, and the to-do lists long and time-consuming.
But there also are dance and theater performances, concerts, children’s shows, light displays and special events available to enjoy in the coming days – offering memorable experiences that can end up strengthening families and the community as they stir the holiday spirit.
The calendars in The Eagle’s GO! section Friday and at Kansas.com round up the options, which range from traditional to wacky. Among the possibilities:
▪ Pick a “Nutcracker” or try both. Ballet Wichita’s performances are Saturday and Sunday at Century II, while the version by Friends University and Wichita Ballet Theatre can be seen this weekend and next.
▪ “A Christmas Carol” comes in musical, murder mystery dinner theater, or purposely “bad” comic varieties, respectively, via Forum Theatre (through Dec. 20 at Wichita Scottish Rite Center), Grand Chapel (through Dec. 20) and Mosley Street Melodrama (through Dec. 30). Other seasonal stagings include “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” this weekend at Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center; Music Theatre for Young People’s musical “Miracle on 34th Street” this weekend at Century II; “Plaid Tidings” and “Santaland Diaries” at Roxy’s Downtown; a holiday musical revue and kids’ show at Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre; and Wichita Community Theatre’s “The Game’s Afoot (Holmes for the Holidays)” (through Dec. 21).
▪ Voices and the season will come together at the Wichita Chamber Chorale’s “Sounding Joy: A Silent Night” concerts (7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday at Plymouth Congregational Church) and Heart of America Men’s Chorus’ “Cheers – A Toast to the Holidays” (7 p.m. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Sunday in De Mattias Hall at Newman University).
▪ The nights get bright at Botanica’s Illuminations (through Dec. 31), Heartspring’s Lights at WaterWalk (through Dec. 25) and the Arc of Sedgwick County’s Lights on St. Paul (through Dec. 28; enter at Douglas and St. Paul).
▪ Among local attractions in a holiday mood, Old Cowtown Museum is offering visitors its signature “Victorian Christmas” (6-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday) and breakfast with Santa (9 a.m. Dec. 20). Santa stars at both the Kansas Aviation Museum and the Sedgwick County Zoo on Saturday, when the latter also hosts “Season’s Treatings.”
And the community will receive a gift certain to outlast the holidays when Memories Park opens along the west side of Sedgwick County Park with a celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The photo-friendly setting is a donation from Together Wichita 2014, whose 22 partnering businesses and institutions include The Wichita Eagle.
Consider making new memories by gathering family and friends and taking in a holiday-themed event or two. The more who do, the merrier the season also will be for the good causes and cultural organizations that use Christmas receipts to help fund activities year-round.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman