Six Flags Great Adventure provides a drone look at its spectacular lights display in its Holiday in the Park event. Courtesy of Great Adventure, Bridgewater Courier News
“The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” are just the cherries on top of your brandy alexander this winter holiday season as far as Central Jersey family fun is concerned. To help you plan the next six weeks, we’ve compiled a season-long list of can’t-miss merriment that will entertain the entire clan. Events are organized by date, just to make it your harried holiday life a little easier. And as events come in, we will continue to update this list on My Central Jersey. Happy holidays!
Artisan Holiday Show
Arts on Division Gallery, Somerville
As gifting season approaches, Arts on Division Gallery on Somerville’s fun Division Street pedestrian walk will present “The Artisan Holiday Show” featuring handmade gifts produced by local artists. Works include ceramics, silver, beaded jewelry, small sculptures, dream catchers, steam punk lamps, funky candles, ornaments, tapestries, tile coasters, silk-screened scarves and aprons, painted bottles, unique clothing, enamel art, prints, small drawings and original paintings. New inventory will be added throughout the run. Through Dec. 23, artsondivision.com. On weekends through December, carolers also will be strolling and singing along Main Street, and carriage rides will be available, weather permitting. For details, visit http://www.downtownsomerville.com/. Also, Somerville Arts on Division will present the 2018 Holiday Art Crawl on Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2, from 1 to 6 p.m. each day. The “Crawl” will present the works of numerous local artists beginning at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division St., and featuring original paintings, tapestries, ornaments, jewelry, and drawings. Second stop will be Gallery on Main, 30 W. Main St., featuring painted clothing. Verve Bistro at 18 E. Main St. will feature ceramics, bags, scarves, jewelry, and ornaments. Following a coffee break at Cheech’s Own, 37 W. Main St., the “Crawl” will conclude at Country Squire Pottery, 26 W. High St., with a presentation of ceramics.
‘Christmas in the Air’
Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, Hampton
The Playhouse’s annual Christmas celebration features new original songs, classic and traditional favorites, comedy sketches, and dance numbers. The production is the dinner theater’s most popular, so it sells out rather quickly. The Playhouse also serves lunch daily. Lunch and dinner include roast turkey with stuffing, eggplant rollatini, and gluten-free roasted vegetable kabob. Lunch also offers Yankee pot roast, fried jumbo shrimp platter, lemon pepper cod and chicken parmigiana. The dinner menu, served nightly except Sundays, also features roast prime rib, salmon with lemon dill sauce and chicken cordon bleu. Through Dec. 20, hhplayhouse.com.
Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
Six Flags Great Adventure lights up the nights as it transforms into a winter wonderland for Holiday in the Park featuring more than a million glittering lights, holiday entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa’s village and many of the park’s most popular rides. New in 2018 is “Wonder: A Cirque Spectacular Show,” featuring acrobats and dancers; Deck the Halls, a walk through massive holiday images; Holiday Craze Mirror Maze; “The Elf Who Saved Christmas!,” a high-spirited comedy about four caring elves, and a bird’s-eye view of the lights on the Parachute Training Center ride. Guests can ring in the New Year with a celebration on Dec. 31 featuring fireworks, music and more. Through Jan. 1, https://bit.ly/2PX1Aoq.
Festival of Trees
Red Mill Museum Village, Clinton
The holiday celebration in Clinton includes this display of decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces donated from members of the community. This year, Festival of Trees will include the first-ever Winter Village, a tented and heated German-style outdoor holiday market with 40 local craft artisans, vintage peddlers, and food trucks. To donate a decorated tree, wreath or centerpiece, apply at theredmill.org/event/festival-of-trees/attachment/fot-entry-form-2018/. Through through Dec. 9, redmill.org.
Holiday Sound and Light Show
A. Paul Mallery Model Railroad Center, Union
Hosted by The Model Railroad Club, this extravaganza is in the club’s sprawling, meticulously detailed HO scale layout that testifies to the dedication, skill and creativity of model railroad fans as they pull out all the stops for the annual event. Refreshments will available for purchase in the snack bar, as will train-themed holiday gifts at the gift shop. For babies and small children, a play and rest area is also on the site. Weekends through Dec. 9, wp.me/p4sLwl-gZ8.
Edison Memorial Tower Tree Lighting and the Grinch
37 Christie St., Menlo Park
“The Grinch” will be back in town during the Edison Memorial Tower Tree Lighting, helping the Edison Police Department spread holiday cheer and collect presents for the annual Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” drive. Children of all ages can greet “The Grinch,” and his police entourage, at 7 p.m. during the Edison Memorial Tower Tree Lighting. Joining them for holiday games and hot chocolate are “McGruff the Crime Dog” and, straight from the Santa’s castle in the North Pole, Mrs. Claus. This will kick off a series of appearances “The Grinch” and his friends make throughout Edison from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov 30; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; and 12 to 4 p .m, Sunday, Dec. 2. Community members are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys for needy and hospitalized children. Edison police are also accepting store-bought or homemade, unsealed holiday cards that will be mailed to United States military personnel serving abroad and far from their families during the holiday season. Call the Edison Police Department at 732-248-7400 or email Officer Keith Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Jazz Holiday with the Eric Mintel Quartet
North County Branch Library, Clinton
The Eric Mintel Quartet performs its annual holiday concert with original jazz pieces, classic fare, “Silent Night” and “O Christmas Tree,” and the music of Vincent Guaraldi from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The group also will perform Dec. 5 at the library branch in Raritan Township. Visit hclibrary.us.
Melissa Etheridge: ‘The Holiday Show’
State Theatre, New Brunswick
Grammy- and Oscar-winner Melissa Etheridge will holiday hits with her own favorites. The holiday element largely is culled from her 2008 album, “A New Thought for Christmas,” such “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “O Night Divine,” aka “O Holy Night.” Her own material will include the Grammy-winning “Ain’t It Heavy” and “Come to My Window” and the Oscar-winning “I Need to Wake Up,” the only song featured in a documentary, 2006’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” to win an Academy Award. Visit stnj.org.
28th annual Holiday Model Train Exhibit
Barron Arts Center, Woodbridge
Except for Christmas Day, this free exhibit will be on display through Dec. 30 with more than 300 feet of track that features a moving operating playground and three towns — Main Street U.S.A., a small town in the snowy mountains, and the Boardwalk with a Ferris wheel and Tilt-A-Whirl — all surrounded by an operating monorail. Nearly a dozen different trains with four operating at all times. The layout will be a complete walk-around-display viewed in the round. Display cases featuring several gauges from N-scale through G-scale will be on view. The curator is Michael Gelesky of the Colonia section of the townshp. He has been collecting trains since he was 5. The exhibit is free, but donations will be accepted and a reservation must be made at 732-634-0413.
American Repertory Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway
A holiday tradition for more than 50 years, American Repertory Ballet’s “Nutcracker” is one of the longest, continuously running productions in the nation. The Dec. 2 performance is an abridged, one-hour sensory-friendly performance for children and adults with special needs. Also Dec. 2, ucpac.org.
Annual Bound Brook Holiday Tree Lighting
Van Horn Plaza
At this free event that kicks off the borough’s Shop Bound Brook for the Holidays promotion, Santa Claus will be on hand to light the tree and greet holiday well-wishers. Seasonal songs will be performed by Bound Brook High School Drama Club. After the tree lighting ceremony, Santa will adjourn to Jocy’s Party Place on Hamilton Street to pose for indoor photos with fans of all ages. The shopping promotion will offer a variety of holiday-themed discounts from local merchants, including 22 downtown restaurants, many of which comprise one of the most extensive assemblage of Central and South American cuisines in Central Jersey. Info: downtownboundbrook.com
Santa photos for disabled children
Somerset County Park Commission, Bridgewater
Santa Claus will visit the Therapeutic Recreation Activity Center at Park Commission Headquarters at 355 Milltown Road in Bridgewater on Saturday, December 1 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. It will be a peaceful and sensory friendly-experience, devoid of crowds and music, that is conducive to children with developmental disabilities. Games and crafts will be available for children to do so they will not have to stand in line. If a child is not ready to visit with Santa when it is his or her turn, an opportunity will be provided when he or she is ready. Photos may be individual or the entire family, providing one member has autism or a developmental disability. Each family will receive a 4 x 6 photo with Santa. All photos will be kept on file and emailed upon request. The fee is $10 per family residing in Somerset County and $15 per family if residing outside of the county. Registration is required and may be made by calling 908-526-5650 or Relay Service 711 for speech and/or hearing impaired. Registration deadline is Monday, November 26.Information on this event and other Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found at somersetcountyparks.org.
Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge section of Bernards
The Friends of Lord Stirling Stable (FLSS) will present its 20th Annual Holiday Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Ave., Basking Ridge.Children will enjoy hayrides through the woods to see Santa at his house (weather permitting). Santa’s Workshop will be open for games, craft projects, food, and more. Pony rides will be available at various times throughout the festival. Adults will enjoy exploring the offerings at the annual silent suction, which will benefit the Lord Stirling School Horse Retirement Fund. The FLSS gift shop will offer unique items for purchase. Guests also are invited to enjoy the first annual Drill Team Competition and Junior Horse Shows that provide Lord Stirling students the opportunity to showcase the horsemanship skills they have learned in class. The Drill Competition begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, with a performance by the Adult Drill Team at 1:30 p.m. The Junior Horse Show starts at 9 a.m. Sunday and includes a performance by the Junior Drill Team at 1 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Tickets for pony and hay rides will be available for $1 each, or 12 for $10. Visit www.somersetcountyparks.org.
Roxey Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
The College Of New Jersey’s Kendall Main Stage Theater, Ewing
For nearly a quarter century, Lambertville-based Roxey Ballet led by director Mark Roxey has been producing this holiday classic. The first of two Dec. 1 performances will be sensory-friendly for families with autistic loved ones. Dec. 1 and 2, roxeyballet.org/nutcracker.
Cut-A-Thon & Toy Drive
Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School, Bridgewater
Cosmetology students at will hold their annual Cut-A-Thon & Toy Drive for CureSearch, a childhood cancer research foundation and Memorial Sloan Kettering Pediatric Center. Services will include mini manicure, paraffin treatment, lip and brow waxing, hairstyles, haircuts, single hair extensions, and deep conditioning. The students annually donate more $1,000 to cancer research foundations. In Cosmetology Classroom F109. Visit goo.gl/FzjQ8X.
Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster
Friends of Jacobus Vanderveer House invite visitors of all ages to experience Christmas past and present when the Dutch Colonial museum opens its wreath-clad doors. Built in 1772, the historic holiday-decorated house will offer shopping with boutique merchants and artisans; Colonial musicians, re-enactors and crafters; pony rides; military demonstrations; gingerbread house workshop for kids, and a visit with Santa. The historic house served as headquarters for Gen. Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79 and one of the country’s first military training academies. Dec. 1 and 2, jvanderveerhouse.org.
Breakfast with Santa
Applebee’s, 1255 Raritan Road, Clark
Boy Scout Troop 145 is hosting this Breakfast with Santa, served from 8 to 10 a.m. for $10 person. It includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and beverages. For tickets, call 908-313-8737 or 732-213-1085 or email SantaTroop145@gmail.com. Or go to https://santatroop145.brownpapertickets.com.
Pancake Breakfast with Santa
Bradley Gardens Community Church, Bridgewater
Pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, coffee, tea, and orange juice will be on the menu for this family event. And a bake sale will help fund a 2019 mission trip to Guatemala. Santa will be sure to enjoy that. Visit facebook.com/BradleyGardensCommunityChurch.
Breakfast with Santa Fundraiser
Trinity Episcopal Church, Cranford
Santa Claus will be at Trinity Episcopal Church, 119 Forest Ave., Cranford, in Sherlock Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Children can meet Santa for a pancake and sausage breakfast and have their picture taken with him. There will be lots of fun for the whole family: gift basket raffle, 50/50 tickets, wreaths and greens sale, face painting, the Cranford High School Madrigal Singers, and a children’s used book sale. There will also be a special jewelry sale. Breakfast is $6 per person (children under 3 are free). Photos with Santa are $7. Call 908-276-4047; http://www.trinitycranford.org/.
‘A Joyful Christmas with Eileen Ivers’
Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg
World-renowned violinist Eileen Ivers and her band perform a program of American and Irish songs, original tunes and holiday favorites. This concert for the whole family aims to celebrate a genuine spirit for the season and true meaning of Christmas. An All-Ireland Fiddle Champion and star of “Riverdance,” Ivers is a pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle. Visit rvccarts.org.
Festival of Trees
Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
The festival is an indoor exhibit of decorated trees by various community groups and individuals. Highlights also will include live holiday music and the relaxing Snowflake Café with refreshments on the weekends. Through Dec. 28 (closed on Dec. 24 and 25), somersetcountyparks.org.
Hanukkah Family Sweetheart Dance
East Brunswick Jewish Center
EBJC’s New Era Club, along with the Men’s Club and Sisterhood, invite community members to an evening of DJ music, dancing, games and a buffet dinner. Visit ebjc.org.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Milltown
New features at this long-standing event include the OLOL Emporium featuring holiday gift items, including Lenox, Mikasa, and linens. Highlights also will include breakfast with Santa, family activities, children’s games, raffles for gift baskets and a gift card Christmas tree, sales of lunch items, baked goods, homemade chocolates, candy, toys, ornaments and decorative items, organic skin care, religious articles, stocking stuffers and more. Visit ololchurchnj.org.
Jamesburg Public Library
Gently used decorations and gifts will be available at reasonable prices. Yummy homemade baked goods will be offered for purchase, as well as some crafts. In addition, on Dec. 20, Friends of Jamesburg Public Library will wrap your gifts for a small fee. Both fundraisers aim to provide the means for the library to purchase new computers. Visit jamesburglibrary.org.
Santa arrival by boat, tree lighting
Sunbeam Lenape Park, Frenchtown
Santa will arrive by boat at 2 p.m. at Frenchtown’s Sunbeam Lenape Park — the perfect spot for a selfie with Santa with the Frenchtown Bridge and Delaware River as backdrops. The Delaware Valley Regional High School Choir will serenade community members around town, and crafts, hot chocolate and snacks will be offered at the annual Tree Lighting at 5:45 p.m. Visit lovefrenchtown.org/.
Father Alphonse & Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea
Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway
The 48-member Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea led by conductor the Rev. Alphonse Stephenson once again will bring holiday spirit and cheer to this historic venue in this holiday tradition. Stephenson conducted more than 3,000 performances of “A Chorus Line” on Broadway, received a doctorate in music from Monmouth University, and has acted as a guest conductor at orchestras around the country. Visit ucpac.org.
Reformed Church of Linden
Pictures with Santa, baked goods, crafts and gifts, a luncheon, face painting will be among the many memorable highlights of this annual holiday event. Visit rclinden.com.
Plainfield Symphony’s ‘A Medley of Majestic Homes for the Holidays House Tour’
This hour tour showcases seven stunning Plainfield homes decorated by leading designers for the holidays. Each home featured on the tour is architecturally distinctive and representative of the elegant homes that are Plainfield’s trademark. This year’s house tour on Dec. 1 also launches the symphony’s 100th anniversary in 2019. The tour also features a curated holiday boutique with select vendors and a café housed in the duCret School of Art, 1030 Central Ave., Plainfield. The tour also features live music in the homes from symphony musicians. Advanced sale tickets are $35 and available now. Tickets are also available for purchase at Swain Galleries, 703 Watchung Ave., Plainfield. Tickets may also be purchased at the door the day of the house tour for $40. Call 908-561-5140 or visit plainfieldsymphony.org/events.
Community Tree Lighting Jubilee
Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 568 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick
Community members can honor and remembered a loved on by dedicating a light, a string of lights or a light in the star atop the Community Tree; names of those honored and remembered will be read at the tree-lighting celebration which starts at 6 p.m. The church hopes this celebration will bring community members closer together. After the tree lighting, an Advent program of wreath-making, crafts and holiday foods will be offered. All activities are free. To request a dedication, email email@example.com or call 732-254-7361. Tax-deductible deductions will support church ministries.
Holiday Lights Parade
The Holiday Lights Parade, featuring fire trucks festively decorated with lights, is hosted by Engine 1 Somerville Fire Department. Prizes are given out for the best decorated fire and emergency vehicles, personal float vehicles, and best decorated houses and/or businesses along the parade route. Staging runs from 2 to 5 p.m., and the parade begins at 6 p.m. All state-wide fire departments, rescue squads and law enforcement agencies are invited to attend, as our community-based organizations. Parade registration and waiver can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the fire department at 170 E. Main St., Somerville, where event-day registration and check-in will be take place. https://www.facebook.com/events/284818068982248/
Breakfast with Santa
American Legion Post 253, Spotswood
American Legion Post 253 will hold a breakfast with Santa from 9-10 a.m. at 50 Devoe Avenue, Spotswood which will include eggs, French toast, bacon, sausage and more. Reservations are recommended, which can be made by calling or texting 732-991-9607. Bring your cameras. Cost is $10 for those 13-years-old and older and $5 for those under 12 if reservations are made and $15 and $8 at the door, respectively, if spots are available. If you preregister, feel free to bring a $10 wrapped gift for Santa to give your child.
Downtown Scotch Plains
Scotch Plains will hold their ‘Hometown Holiday Celebration’ from on December 2 from 2-5 p.m. which will include horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, visits with Santa, hot chocolate and donuts, cookie decorating and face painting. Santa will arrive at 3 p.m. and goes back to the North Pole at 5 p.m. after he lights the town tree. New to this year’s event will be a holiday variety show performance featuring Theatrical Artists Prep students and faculty from 2-3 p.m. on the Alan Augustine Village Green stage.
Boston Pops Holiday Concert
State Theatre, New Brunswick
Led by Conductor Keith Lockhart, Boston Pops on Tour will perform their signature “Sleigh Ride,” as well as other holiday classics and new arrangements of seasonal favorite, including “Little Drummer Boy,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells,” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Founded in 1885, Pops conductors have included the legendary Arthur Fielder and Oscar-winning composer John Williams. Visit stnj.org.
Holiday House Tour
Tour beautifully decorated historic Metuchen homes and along the way, enjoy seasonal refreshments and an artisans’ bazaar at Old Franklin Schoolhouse. All proceeds benefit the preservation and maintenance of the historic schoolhouse, which hosts many cultural events throughout the year. Visit boroughimprovementleague.org.
Sayreville Annual Parade of Lights
McCutcheon Avenue, Borough Hall
The Annual Parade of Lights begins at 6 p.m; arrival time is 5:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Recreation Department, the parade includes floats and bands along with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event also features pictures, holiday entertainment and refreshments. Also, the Recreation Department’s Annual Toy Drive continues now through Dec. 7; items may be dropped from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Recreation Department on Dolan Street. Call 732-390-7021.
Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony
Perth Amboy’s annual Christmas parade will being at the intersection of Wilson and Smith streets and will be followed by the tree lighting at City Hall Circle, which also will host A Christmas Wonderland featuring music, inflatables, a trackless train, giveaways and hot cocoa. Visit ci.perthamboy.nj.us.
Dutch Sint-Nicolaas Day
Bouman-Stickney Farmstead, Readington
To honor the Dutch heritage of the 1741 Bouman-Stickney Farmstead, Readington Museums will host Dutch Sint-Nicolaas Day. Sinterklaas will be available for photos and Colonial musicians Anne and Ridley Enslow will perform traditional holiday pieces on a historic violin and hammered dulcimer. Cooks Bev Altrath and Arlene Soong will demonstrate authentic 18th century Dutch cooking; they plan to make waffles and gingerbread over the Farnstead’s original open hearth. Visitors may make a pomander ornament to take home and enjoy cider and homemade Dutch cookies. The program is free, but donations will be accepted. Visit readingtontwpnj.gov.
East Amwell Historical Society Sixth Annual Holiday House Tour
Throughout East Amwell
A tour of four historic private homes will take visitors to one of the largest Victorian houses in East Amwell. The 1850 home features large rooms, high ceilings and will be decorated for the holidays. Guests then will travel to a restored barn with large open spaces, big wooden beams and stunning views. Next, a 1735 home featured in Country Sampler magazine originally was a general store and now is filled with antiques and memorabilia. The tour will conclude at Henry Landis House, a stone home built by a saddle maker in 1750 and best known as the place where Gen. Marquis de Lafayette recuperated from an illness in 1778. Visit eastamwellhistory.org/.
Grand Menorah Lighting
State Park, Monroe
For the first time, the state’s largest menorah lighting also will include a spectacular fireworks display. Other highlights of the free event will include a ceremonial dedication to the victims of the temple shooting in Pittsburgh with dignitaries, donuts, potato pancakes hot cocoa, live music and free dreidels and menorah kits. Visit chabadnj.org.
Santa and His Elves
Warinanco Skating Center, Roselle
Admission to this fun family event includes a two-hour skating session, a skate rental, hot chocolate and cookies. No tickets will be sold at the door and space is limited to 250 people in each of three sessions, so organizers suggest purchasing tickets at the link above early. Highlights will include holiday caroling, kids’ crafts and face-painting. Visit wp.me/p4sLwl-gMh.
‘Welcome to America’ concert
Neve Shalom, Metuchen
The program starts at 3 p.m. with the Mercaz Jewish choir performing songs in Hebrew and Yiddish by Jewish immigrants to America or their children who wrote for Broadway. An Indonesian percussion group, playing “Kalingtan” instruments will perform songs from their culture. The Edison Chinese Choir’s 60-plus performers, will sing in many languages. Neve Shalom children will be performing some Hanukkah songs and light the first candle of the Menorah since that evening is Hanukkah, and the evening concludes with a group finale. Following the concert, for an additional fee, a Kosher Chinese meat dinner will be served. Concert tickets are $10 each and dinner reservations are $12 per person which must be made by Monday Nov. 26. Proceeds from the evening will help area immigrants through the Interfaith RISE organization. A free-will offering will be collected during the program. Contact: Hazzan Levin at 732-548-2238, ext. 14, or Hazzan@NeveShalom.net
Menorah Lighting and Gelt Drop
Downtown Scotch Plains
Scotch Plains will hold a menorah lighting on Monday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. which will include songs, latkes and donuts. The celebration culminates with a gelt drop from the town’s ladder truck and the lighting of the menorah.
RVCC Holiday Art Show and Sale
Raritan Valley Community College Art Gallery, Branchburg
This exhibition and sale will feature a varied display of work created by RVCC’s ceramics students, instructors and several alumni. The ceramic work ranges from low-fire smoked and Raku vessels to high-fire functional and sculptural pieces in porcelain and stoneware. Other show highlights include artist greeting cards, knitwear and jewelry. Refreshments will be served at the noon opening on Dec. 3. Through Dec. 7, visit raritanval.edu.
Menorah and Hanukkah Celebration
JCC of Middlesex County, Edison
Dignitaries, JCC staff and community members will be in the gym for the lighting of the menorah. Free festivities continue with music, entertainment and light refreshments for all. Visit jccmc.org.
Winter Wonderland 2018 and Annual Tree Lighting
North Brunswick Municipal complex
The North Brunswick Township Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services invite residents of all ages to Winter Wonderland 2018 and Annual Tree Lighting at 6:15 p.m. at the Municipal Complex, 710 Hermann Road. Attendees can bring their cameras for family photos while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa and treats The festivities will move inside in the event of rain. Donations will be accepted for the North Brunswick Food Bank. These include pasta, sauce, cereal, canned vegetables and fruits. Call 732-247-0922, ext. 475, or e-mail email@example.com.
Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour
State Theatre, New Brunswick
Celebrate the season with nine-time Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist Dave Koz. He’ll perform Christmas classics and hit songs with two-time Grammy nominee Mindi Abair, Best New Artist Grammy winner Jonathan Butler, pianist Keiko Matsui and multi-talented Sheléa, who is described as a cross between Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. Visit stnj.org/event/dave-koz-and-friends.
Annual Menorah Lighting
North Brunswick Municipal Complex
The North Brunswick Annual Menorah Lighting will be conducted 4 at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Complex, 710 Hermann Road. Residents of all ages are welcome. Donations will be accepted for the North Brunswick Food Bank. These include pasta, sauce, cereal, canned vegetables and fruits. Call at 732-247-0922, ext. 475, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Light Up A Life: A Celebration of Love”
Community Care Hospice, Somerville
This affiliate of Community Visiting Nurse Association of Somerville is hosting its annual tree lighting ceremony as part of a nationally recognized hospice campaign where a tree is lit in memory of or in living tribute to loved ones and friends. Lights purchased not only illuminate the tree, but also support the mission of Community Care Hospice, which provides care through an interdisciplinary team of experienced caregivers. Rain/snow date is Dec. 5. Visit: communityvna.org/
‘A Christmas Carol’ in Edison
Edison Main Public Library
Historial storyteller Alisa Dupuy will present, in costume as Ebenezer Scrooge’s sister, Nan, “A Christmas Carol” at the Edison Main Public Library “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. for $12 per person. Tickets are available at all of the three Edison library branches. Proceeds will benefit the Edison Public Library. For more information, call 732-287-2298 x 1.
Lights of Love Tree Lighting Ceremony
Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington
What better time of year for a special ceremony in honor or memory of family and friends? This 31st annual Hunterdon Medical Center Auxiliary event gathers family and friends and brightens the holiday sky with lights, music and love. Entertainment will be provided by The Star Maker School and Crossroads. A holiday cookie sale will benefit Briteside Adult Day Center. Beautiful hand painted ornaments created by The Brushing Violets also will be for sale to benefit the Auxiliary. RSVP at 908-788-6141 or email@example.com. Visit: lightsoflovenj.org
Wine and Design Hanukkah Party
Sponsored by East Brunswick Hadassah, this event will feature an evening of guests sipping wine, eating latkes, and designing their own Tree of Life necklace. RSVP by Nov. 28. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodbridge Township tree lighting
Evergeen Center, Colonia section of Woodbridge
Sponsored by Colonia Business Community, this annual event will include a holiday singalong with SJV Chorus. Santa arrives at 6:15 p.m. to help light the tree. After the tree lighting, follow Santa into the Evergreen Center, where there will be crafts, a balloon artist, refreshments and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring a toy for a Toys for Tots collection and non-perishable food items for We Feed Woodbridge Food Bank. For more information, call Councilwoman Debbie Meehan at 732-382-0273 or Emma Yepez-Ziegenbalg at 732-499-9191.
Holiday Lights Celebration
City Hall, Plainfield
The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes caroling with the Plainfield Community Choir and community members, and hot chocolate; Santa arrives at 6:45 p.m. One complimentary photo per family will be offered. A gift distribution for children 12 years and younger starts at 6:45 p.m.; proof of residency is required. The event is presented by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, the Plainfield City Council, the city’s Division of Parks and Recreation and Plainfield Action Services. Call 908-753-3097.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
State Theatre, New Brunswick
For more than 25 year, Mannheim Steamroller led by Grammy-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features beloved Christmas music and multimedia effects. Visit stnj.org/event/mannheim-steamroller-christmas.
An Evening of Holiday Music with Musicale Amice
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Berkeley Heights
Musical Amica is a female trio consisting of soprano Jamie Baer Peterson, pianist Lois Buesser, and cellist Sariah Johnson. Their concert of holiday favorites will feature servings of wine, cheese and hot cocoa and a festive singalong to end the night. Visit whartonarts.org/.
Palmer Square Menorah Lighting
North Plaza, Princeton
This free community event will celebrate the fifth night of Hanukkah co-sponsored by The Jewish Center of Princeton and led by their Rabbi Adam Feldman and Cantor Jeff Warschauer. Highlights will include holiday food and live music. Visit palmersquare.com.
‘The Great Russian Nutcracker’ with Moscow Ballet
Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg
Spectacular scenic design, costumes and artistry of 40 top Russian dancers make “The Great Russian Nutcracker” a family holiday tradition not to be missed. About 100 students of Gotta Dance schools throughout Somerset County will perform along with the professional dancers. Performances are at 4 and 8 p.m. In between 4 and 8 p.m. performances will be the “Nutcracker Tea Party,” which includes a photo for kids with a ballerina. At the separately ticketed event, guests will enjoy an assortment of delectable home-baked sweet treats, seasonal tea and homemade hot cocoa. Visit rvccarts.org.
Holidays in New Brunswick
New Brunswick City Center
Festivities will include a tree lighting on Dec. 7 with live music, a holiday craft market, cook off and visit from Santa; a toy, food and clothing drive through Dec. 16; Dec. 14 to 16, free horse-drawn carriage rides at The Hyatt Regency; Dec. 15, free photos with Santa, United Methodist Church, and New Year’s Eve fireworks, Dec. 31 at Monument Square Park. Through Dec. 31, newbrunswick.com.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
State Theatre, New Brunswick
Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the season with the sparkling show that combines the circus, Broadway and family fun with more than 300 costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, acrobats, singers, original music, and seasonal favorites. Also Dec. 8 and 9, stnj.org/event/cirque-dreams-holidaze.
Whitehouse Wind Symphony Holiday Concert series
Various locations from Dec. 7 to 20
The Whitehouse Wind Symphony is hosting a series of four holiday concerts around Hunterdon and Somerset counties in December. The concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Whitehouse United Methodist Church, 73 Old Highway 28, Whitehouse section of Readington; 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Historic Hunterdon County Courthouse, 75 Main St., Flemington (presented by Mediatech Foundation and the Flemington Community Partnership; 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 158 W. High St., Somerville; and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Flemington United Methodist Church, 116 Main St., Flemington. Admission is free to all concerts; donations will be gratefully accepted to benefit the symphony. Visit whitehousewindsymphony.org. The concerts are made possible by funds from the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The annual Clinton Christmas Parade is filled with the holiday spirit as floats, marchers, and costumed characters parade through historic downtown. Visit visitclintonnj.com.
‘Rock & Roll Christmas Party’ with The Mahoney Brothers
Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, Hampton
For their holiday party, the Mahoney Brothers, combine their tributes to The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett into a seasonal rock ‘n’ roll spectacle. The set combines hits by the icons, holiday favorites made more famous by them, and a sprinkling of originals. They also will perform on Dec.27. Visit hhplayhouse.com.
Sisterhood Family Hanukkah Dinner
Congregation Beth El, 91 Jefferson Boulevard, Edison
The community is invited to this Hanukkah Dinner which will be a traditional chicken and potato latke Shabbat Dinner. Services are at 6 p.m., and inner will follow. Call 732-985-7272.
Applebee’s Breakfast with Santa Fundraiser
Local Applebee’s locations
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® locations in New Jersey will conduct the brand’s 20th annual Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8 to 10:30 a.m. The fundraiser will support the efforts of the U.S. Marines Corps Toys for Tots program, which distributes new toys to underprivileged children. Guests can enjoy breakfast compliments of Applebee’s along with goodies, raffle tickets for door prizes and the opportunity to take a photo with Santa Claus. Tickets are $10 each and are available by calling or visiting a local Applebee’s. Advanced reservations are required as seating is limited. Children under the age of 2 are admitted free of charge, Applebee’s also is raising additional funds by selling paper “gift tags” for $1 or $5 each, which are displayed in the restaurants. Applebee’s Breakfast with Santa events will be offered at locations owned and operated by Doherty Enterprises in New Jersey, Long Island, Florida and Georgia. In New Jersey, Applebee’s is located in Brick, Bridgewater, Butler, Clark, Clifton, East Hanover, Edison, Flemington, Garfield, Hackensack, Hackettstown, Hillsborough, Howell, Jersey City, Jersey Gardens, Kearny, Lacey, Linden, Manahawkin, Manalapan, Manchester, Middletown, Milltown, Mt. Olive, Newark, Newton, North Bergen, Northvale, Ocean, Paramus, Parsippany, Phillipsburg, Piscataway, Rockaway, Tinton Falls, Toms River, Totowa, Union, Wall and Woodbridge. Visit https://www.applebees.com/en.
‘Wassail, Wine & Song’ at Proprietary House
Proprietary House, Perth Amboy
The Proprietary House at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy will welcome the holiday season with ‘Wassail, Wine & Song’ on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 7-9 p.m. Admission is $20 per person and $15 for members. For this event, visitors must be at least 21-years-old. Heritage musician Jim Kurzenberger will perform seasonal tunes in the colonial brick and stone wine cellar and tours of the historic mansion, lavishly bedecked for the holidays, will also be offered. Wassail (spiked punch), mulled wine, hot cider, egg nog and desserts will be served. For information, call 732-826-5527.
Hunterdon Harmonizers Holiday Show ‘A Christmas Secret’
Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Raritan Township
In this musical adventure, a young lady by the name of Mary Lou is confused by all the conflict in the world and has lost any sense of Christmas. In the present climate, this story (as the secret unveils) is designed to be a joyous expression for all ages. The event features the Hunterdon Harmonizers and the Hunterdon Central Pit Orchestra; performances are at 3 and 7 p.m. The Harmonizers also will have a return in their traditional “Reds” to close the show with Holiday Harmony. Visit njharmonizers.org, call 908-806-NOTE (6683).
River Union Stage’s 10th annual reading of “A Christmas Carol”
Presbyterian Church of Milford
River Union Stage once again will share the holiday spirit with their annual rendition of the Dickens holiday classic to benefit local food pantries. As in previous years, admission is free with a donation of a non-perishable food item to be distributed by the church to pantries in Milford and Frenchtown. Checks made out to a specific food pantry also will be accepted. For a list of needed items, visit milfordpresbyterian.org/mission/.
The performance will take place with support of Shop Rite of Hunterdon and as part of the Christmas in Milford celebration, which includes a 10-percent discount good at nearly a dozen shops and restaurants in and around Milford for everyone who attends. The hour-long reading will feature Todd Lewis as Ebenezer Scrooge, plus Steven Dennis, Alison Gilheany, Jeffrey Lanigan, and Diane Wagner reading Dickens’ other beloved characters.
Pet photos with Santa Claus
Local PetSmart stores
Pet parents the opportunity to have their pets’ photo taken with Santa over the course of two weekends at PetSmart locations around New Jersey.. At the event, pet parents will receive a free digital photo from PetSmart and can snap photos with their own device. The event will run 12 to 4 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16. Visit www.petsmart.com..
RVCC Chorale Annual Holiday Concert
Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg
This program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, “Das Neugeborne Kindelein,” a cappella pieces from by Rachmaninov, Verdi and Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi, and an audience singalong of traditional carols. Assistant Professor of Music John Sichel will direct RVCC students, former students, members of the community and fourth- and fifth-grade students from Clinton, Readington and Union Township public schools. Visit raritanval.edu.
24th Annual Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite
Performing Arts Center, Middlesex County College, 2600 Woodbridge Ave., Edison
The Dance Ensemble of Ms. Doreen’s Fabulous Feet will perform the 24th Annual Nutcracker, presenting two shows, at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.danceticketing.com/26983 until Dec. 6. Prices range from $16 to $30. Tickets will also be available at the door. The Edison Arts Society (EAS) also will be conducting a Silent Auction Fundraiser for the EAS Angelo Orlando Scholarship Fund at this event. This scholarship is awarded annually to art students from Edison High School, J. P. Stevens High School and Middlesex County College to be used for their perspective art area. Bidding can be made at either show. Items available for biding include some original art works, Lennox, Broadway tickets, gift certificate to Gigi’s Dancewear, La Bonbonniere Gift Basket, Tiffany bowl, weekend getaway and more. Visit http://www.msdoreensfabfeet.com/ or www.edisonarts.org.
Pet Pics with Santa Paws
Regal Bank, Somerset
The Somerset branch of Regal Bank is bringing back Pet Pics with Santa Paws for the sixth straight year. The public is invited have their furry friends digitally photographed with Santa Paws. Festivities also will include free goodie bags for pets and refreshments for owners. Visit regalbanknj.com.
Holiday Concert with Amani
Watchung Arts Center
The word for peace in Swahili, Amani was formed to perform for all ages, races, and religious affiliations. In addition to a selection of holiday favorites, this concert will feature the Great American Songbook, gospel, R&B, jazz, bossa nova, and Broadway. A dessert reception with the musicians follows the concert. Visit watchungarts.org.
Prallsville Mills, Stockton
This event will feature the works of top Central Jersey artists and crafters. Mediums will include oil painting, wool, watercolor, fine wood, jewelry, ceramics, and photography. Highlights will include horse-and-carriage rides on Dec. 8 and complimentary wine and cheese receptions on both days. Also Dec. 9, prallsvillemills.org.
Aldersgate UMC 2018 Cookie Walk
Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 568 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick
The Cookie Walk starts at 9 a.m. and lasts until the supplies run out. Proceeds benefit the United Methodist Women’s Christmas Missions Fund. Call 732-254-7361.
Abraham Staats House holiday events
Abraham Staats House, 17 von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook
The historic house is celebrating two events this weekend. From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9, “Holiday at the Abraham Staats House” will offer free tours of the decorated rooms, and period music, along with a performance of seasonal songs by the Franklin H.S. Madrigal Singers at 1 p.m. Saturday. Also, at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, candlelight tours of the Abraham Staats House will be offered by guides in period clothing. The cost is $10 with advance registration at www.staatshouse.org/ and $15 at the door. Call 732-369-3583 or email email@example.com.
Voices Chorale NJ presents “A Winter’s Night”
Trinity Episcopal Church, Princeton
Works by Nicholas Myers, Bob Chilcott, Jan Dismas Zelenka, John Rutter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more will be performed also Dec. 16 at Pennington Presbyterian Church. Visit: voiceschoralenj.org/.
10th Annual “Say Humbug to Hunger” Reading of “A Christmas Carol
Prebysterian Church of Milford
River Union Stage’s 10th annual reading of Charles Dickens’ “ A Christmas Carol,” to benefit local food pantries, will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Milford, 70 Bridge St. Milford. Admission is free with a donation of a non-perishable food item for local food pantries in Frenchtown and Milford. The performance will take place with the support of Shop Rite of Hunterdon and as part of the Christmas in Milford. Presented in reader’s theater style, audiences will have the opportunity to experience the prose narrative as well as the more familiar dialogue of Dickens’ classic work. For a list of needed food pantry items, visit http://milfordpresbyterian.org/mission/. Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission.
Tony Trischka Presents ‘Of A Winter’s Night’
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
“Of A Winter’s Night” is Jersey banjo great Tony Trischka’s acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his 2015 CD release of the same name, the show features Trishka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays and will be joined by multi-instrumentalist and shape-note singer Tim Eriksen, singer-fiddler Phoebe Hunt and percussionist-vocalist Sean Trischka, Tony’s son. Together they also will perform from the 1844 hymnbook “Sacred Harp.” Some of the evening’s songs date back to the Colonial era. Visit folkproject.org.
Hunterdon Holiday Parade
Main Street, Flemington
This parade features dozens of floats made by local businesses, organizations and community members, along with a variety of different community groups marching in this county holiday tradition. The parade starts at 5 p.m.; parade line ups start at 3 p.m. in the back parking lot of Liberty Village Premium Outlets. Participants must be in position by 4 p.m., and the parade will begin to move up by 4:30 p.m. to Main Street. (Main and Church streets will be closed by 4 p.m.) Visit the website for more details. Visit https://bit.ly/2QKP2NU.
Central Jersey Regional Airport, Hillsborough
Rotary Club of Branchburg will host its annual Santa Fly-In. The jolly old elf will jet in on his personal plane and distribute presents to all the good little boys and girls who come see him. Of course, parents must supply these wrapped gifts to the airport by Dec. 7 along with info about the child so Santa also can give them a hand-written letter. Photos of the children with Santa can be taken as they receive their gift. Cost is $20 per child and includes hot dogs, cookies and hot chocolate. Call Jodi at 908-576-4333. Visit branchburgrotary.org/, centraljerseyairport.com/.
Candlelight tours at Rockingham
Rockingham will present its candlelight holiday tours on Sunday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m.-4 pm. This year’s theme revolves around the animals that were part of George Washington’s life. The Live Historians Club of Montgomery Township High School will present the information in period dress as visitors tour each room of the historic house, decorated for the holidays. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 609-683-7136 with a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 per family. Tours will be offered at least every half-hour, with 3:30 p.m. being the last tour. Rockingham is located at 84 Laurel Ave, Kingston. For more information, call 609-683-7132 or visit rockingham.net.
Colonial and Victorian Christmas customs
Bernardsville Public Library
Listeners will find out the similarities and differences between a Colonial Christmas and a Victorian Christmas celebration and discover what foods were prepared as part of the holiday festivities on Monday, December 10 at 7 p.m. at the Bernardsville Public Library. The program will be presented by Judith Krall-Russo, a food historian and tea expert. There is no charge to attend, but advance sign-up is required. Register online at bernardsvillelibrary.org and follow the link from Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118.
Forum Theatre, Metuchen
This show features a cast of New York professional actors singing and dancing to holiday favorites. Tickets are $10. Also Dec. 11, dreamtheaterproductions.org.
‘The Night Before Christmas Carol’
Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg
Join Charles Dickens in his study on Friday, the 13th of October 1843 as history, humor and the holiday come to life in this production written by renowned Dickens scholar and author Elliot Engle. “The Night Before Christmas Carol” gives a glimpse into the life of Dickens and his inspirations for his world-famous wintry morality tale. David zum Brenna plays Dickens and 17 other characters. Two performances are 1 and 7 p.m. Visit rvccarts.org.
John P. Stevens High School Holiday Band Concert
John P. Stevens High School Auditorium, 855 Grove Ave., Edison
The 7 p.m. concert, under the direction of Andrew DeNicola and John Zazzali, will include the Symphonic Band, Freshman Concert Band, the nationally recognized Wind Ensemble and various small ensembles performing holiday music. This free event is open to the community.
Westfield Holiday Concert
Edison Intermediate School, Westfield
The Westfield Recreation Department will host its 28th Annual Holiday Concert featuring the Westfield Community Concert Band and the Edison Intermediate School Broadway Singers on Thursday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Edison Intermediate School, 800 Rahway Avenue, Westfield. This free public concert culminates a year-long series of performances by the Westfield Community Concert Band in celebration of the band’s 106th anniversary concert season.
New Jersey Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown
Under the direction of Carolyn Clark, New Jersey Ballet’s seasonal presentation of the holiday classic will feature live accompaniment by New Jersey Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gary S. Fagin. New Jersey Ballet’s “Nutcracker” is the longest running original professional production in the state. It debuted in 1971 and since has given about 900 performances with more than 5,000 dancers for more than a million viewers. Many in the audience who saw the production as children now bring their own children and grandchildren. Also happening at the arts center will be a year-end food drive starting Nov. 23. Through Dec. 27, njballet.org, mayoarts.org.
Christmas at Mercer County Community College
Kelsey Theatre, West Windsor
Holiday fun is on the schedule at Kelsey Theatre with two special events. Dance Connection’s family version of “The Nutcracker” will be staged Dec. 14 to 16. Even the youngest theater goers will embrace the wonder of “The Nutcracker,” a fully-narrated, one-hour performance set to the beloved Tchaikovsky score. The large cast is composed almost entirely of children and teens. At the conclusion of the show, families are invited on stage to meet their favorite characters, who will sign autographs.
An interactive live radio show, “Snow Day,” will be presented by MPOnStage on Dec. 22. The original production is a whimsical winter story that will give the audience an experience of how a radio show is presented, including participation by audience volunteers as impromptu foley artists and voice actors. Families will watch entertainment professionals create sound effects by using everyday objects. Info: kelseyatmccc.org/
Pancakes & Pajamas Holiday Breakfast
The North Brunswick Township Heritage Day Committee is sponsoring a Pancakes & Pajamas Holiday Breakfast at Applebee’s, 324 Ryders Lane, Milltown, from 8 to 10 a.m. The cost is $10 per person. This is an event for all to enjoy. It will include a pancake breakfast, crafts, games, activities, give-aways, pajama contest and more. Please bring a non-perishable item for the North Brunswick Food Bank and receive a special prize. Call 732-247-0922, ext. 475, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday gifts for sale in Tewksbury
Tewksbury Historical Society Headquarters
The Tewksbury Historical Society Headquarters, located at 60 Water St. in the Mountainville section of Tewksbury, will be open two Saturdays, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. selling its unique holiday gifts. Among the items for purchase are Tewksbury afghans, Tewksbury Art Show notecards depicting winning works from past THS Art Shows, Tewksbury Church notecards and post cards depicting original historic scenes, editions of “Historic Notes on Fairmont, NJ” by Freeman Leigh, prints depicting scenes in Mountainville by resident Charles Burrell and the “Tewksbury Auto Tour” booklet, a self-guided auto tour of Tewksbury.
Crescent Concerts’ Yuletide by Candlelight
Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield
This 5 p.m. concert is The Crescent Singers’ annual musical gift to the community; free to the public, donations are appreciated. Visit crescentconcerts.org/.
Holiday singing and lights
Frenchtown’s downtown will be transformed into a carpet of light as hundreds of luminaires will guide a special Pop-Up Choir from ArtYard through downtown to celebrate the holidays in song. Kira Willey will lead singers of all skill levels at 5 p.m., and the choir is open to all. Earlier in the day there will be the roving bagpipes and an art show at the Strasser art compound, and downtown will be open late for shopping and singing. Visit https://lovefrenchtown.org/.
United Reformed Church, Somerville
The Raritan Ringers, a choir of advanced hand-bell ringers, will present three Central Jersey holiday concerts. They also will perform Dec. 16 at Bernardsville Public Library and Dec. 19 at Laurel Circle Senior Living Community, Bridgewater. The program will include popular winter pieces, such as “Let it Snow,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Parade of the Tin Soldiers,” and traditional holiday carols. Led by F. Paul Dickey, the United Reformed Church of Somerville-sponsored Ringers will be joined by guest instrumentalists in each concert. Visit facebook.com/raritanringers.
Holiday Small Business Expo
Franklin High School
Piscataway-based P.E.A.R.L.S. Inc. education and community program will present this opportunity for vendors to sell their wares to holiday shoppers. Candles, crafts, religious items, décor, cosmetics, hats, jewelry, baked goods, Greek items, fashions, health products and art will be among the wares available. Refreshments also will be on sale. A portion of sales, as well as proceeds from 50/50 and gift basket raffles, will go to the P.E.A.R.L.S. scholarship fund. The program is the charitable arm of Nu Xi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest black sorority. Visit pearlsincnj.org/events.html.
Holiday concert in Middlesex
Community Room, Middlesex Public Library
A free holiday concert will be presented by the Friends of the Middlesex Public Library at 1300 Mountain Ave, Middlesex on Sunday, December 16 at 3:30 p.m. in the Community Room. Join Christine DeLeon for songs about the season and sing-along cheer. For further information, visit the Friends online at middlesexfol.org or call the Library at 732-356-6602.
‘Common Ground: A Holiday Musical Celebration of Community’
State Theatre, New Brunswick
This concert will celebrate the cultural diversity of the holiday season in a co-production with Tony-winning Crossroads Theatre Co. Performers will include The Youth Choir of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, Abundant Youth Dance Troupe, JP Stevens High School South Asian Dance Troupe, Rutgers Liberated Gospel Choir, and The Body & Music School from Piscataway. The celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and Ramadan will be under the musical direction by Jeanel LeBlanc, a graduate of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Visit stnj.org/event/common-ground.
Masterwork Chorus’s ‘Messiah’
Begin a life-long family tradition with Handel Messiah, performed by Chatham-based Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra which features world class soloists, Kendra Colton, Soprano, Emily Marvosh, Alto, Terrence Chin-loy, Tenor and Malcolm Merriweather, Baritone. This 100-voice ensemble conducted by Christopher Shepard brings the drama of Messiah to life as they return to the Perelman Stage in the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit masterwork.org or call 212-247-7800.
American Repertory Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
State Theatre, New Brunswick
These are the only American Repertory Ballet performances of the Tchaikovsky classic that will feature a live orchestra and choir. Under the direction of Douglas Martin, more than 100 performers will include students from the Princeton Ballet School. Also Dec. 22 and 23, stnj.org/event/nutcracker.
The Run Before Christmas: Santa Con 8K
Red Mill Museum Village, Clinton
’Twas the Run Before Christmas and all around the town, the Santas were jogging … nowhere was a frown! Organizers are certain that will be the case for this inaugural event co-produced by those behind the Main Street Half Marathon of Hunterdon. Runners should wear Santa suits. Register at santacon8k.itsyourrace.com. Visit redmill.org.
Staff Writer Bob Makin: 732-565-7319; email@example.com
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