After 23 years of hosting its Holiday Festival of Trees, the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., has transformed its tree exhibit into a full-on artistic interpretation of holiday spirit called Everson Unwrapped. The show, which runs from Friday, Dec. 5, through Sunday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Dec. 11, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., will incorporate a winter celebration theme in not only its array of traditionally decorated trees, but also in one-of-a-kind tree displays made by local artists. One local poet plans to decorate his tree with ornaments based on an interpretation of one of his poems, while another artist has proposed to create a tree out of glass blocks. Jeffrey Mayer, the man behind the museum’s current Marie Antoinette exhibit, will design a tree that incorporates the famous French queen’s aesthetic.
The show will also feature live entertainment by local musicians, who will play every weekday at noon in the Rosamond Gifford Sculpture Court. Longer concerts that feature larger ensembles and choral groups will take place each Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hosmer Auditorium. Admission for the event is $5 for adults, free for children under 5.
On Sunday, Dec. 7, noon to 2 p.m, children ages 4 through 12 can participate in the museum’s Teddy Bear Tea, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Syracuse, 500 S. Warren St. Kids can dress up and bring their favorite teddies for lunch and tea, and later make crafts, buy raffle tickets for prizes and get their faces painted. The cost is $20 for kids and $25 for accompanying adults. Ticket prices includes lunch and admission to Everson Unwrapped. Call 474-6064 or go to www.everson.org for more information.
Locally made crafts await you at the 54th annual Art Mart show located in The Greenhouse of City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington St. The sale features paintings, ceramics, jewelry, stained-glass work, woodwork, fabrics and soaps made by artists from all over Central New York.
As in the past, Art Mart presents varied works: Ingrid Junga’s pottery, Tom Hussey’s paintings, watercolors by Judith Hand and Marge Hill’s acrylics. Many of the same artists participate every year, but there are newcomers as well. Charles Golden, for example, is showing masks and a series of pieces referencing ancient times. Often working with found and fabricated objects, he creates lettering in the style of hieroglyphics and other motifs evoking old civilizations.
In addition, photographer Elizabeth Patton is participating in Art Mart after a hiatus of more than 10 years. She typically displays her images of woodland scenes, antebellum architecture and other subjects in Skaneateles and Marcellus. A downtown venue is a change of pace for her. “It’s nice to reach a different audience,” she says. “And when I did my shift here, I was able to talk to people about the photos.”
Art Mart is open daily, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Dec. 24. Admission is free. For more information, call 468-2616.
For those who crave the simplicity of the 19th century, Skaneateles’ 15th annual Dickens’ Christmas celebration provides a chance for modern folks to roam the streets with Dickensian characters and revel in the quaintness of Victorian times. The free event began Friday, Nov. 28, and continues Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m., through Dec. 23.
Forty Dickensian characters, including Charles himself, will dress in full-on Victorian garb and interact with passengers on the streets and in local shops. The living exhibit will also offer free carriage rides and delicious roasted chestnuts. Kids can listen to stories in the Skaneateles Library, 49 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, and interact with Father Christmas, who will be sitting on the porch of the Masonic Temple.
Christmas spirit: The Ghost of Christmas Past comes to life each year as part of Skaneateles’ Dickens’ Christmas celebration, which takes place through Dec. 23 in the picturesque village. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
At 2 p.m. each day visitors can sing along while the Dickensian characters perform Christmas carols at the gazebo in Clift Park. The event will also feature performances by several community groups, like dancers from Blessed Virgin Mary Academy of Warners, who will perform live English cotillion dancing on Dec. 6 and 13 at 12:30 p.m. in the Skaneateles Library.
Parents who wish to treat their kids to extra holiday fun can bring them to Breakfast with Santa at the Sherwood Inn, 26 W. Genesee St., Skaneateles, on Saturday, Dec. 6, 8 to 11 a.m. Kids can sit on Santa’s lap and ask for holiday presents over a delicious breakfast buffet. The cost is $14 for adults, $8 for children ages 5 to 12, free under 5. Preregistraton is required. For more information about Skaneateles events, visit www.skaneateles.com or call 685-0552.
If the art of gingerbread-house making gives you thrills, this year’s extravaganza at the Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie Blvd. E., will be sure to captivate your imagination. The exhibit will feature all sorts of gingerbread houses—made by professional bakers, businesses and local families—interspersed among wooden Victorian village storefronts that encompass the entire gallery area. Starting Nov. 29, visitors can also stop by the museum’s first-floor theater to view a 45-minute how-to video on making gingerbread creations.
Candy is dandy: The Erie Canal Museum’s annual Gingerbread Gallery
fills the second-floor viewing area with whimsical creations, including
this scale model of the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles (below). MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
Kids will also have the chance to participate in Gingerbread Workshops, in which they’ll use milk cartons as bases to build, design and decorate their own creation. Workshops run on Saturdays, Dec. 6 and 13, at 11 a.m., and cost $5 for museum members and $8 for non-members.
The gallery is open Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Christmas Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for children 12 and under. For more information, call 471-0593.
Holiday Art & Craft Spectacular
Get your holiday shopping done early at the annual Syracuse Holiday Crafts Spectacular. The event takes place Friday, Dec. 5, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 7., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Horticulture Building on the New York State Fairgrounds. About 100 artists will present their handmade works including jewelry, pottery, photography and woodwork. Specialty food products will be available for purchase. Santa will also stop by the show to visit kids, and refreshments will be available. Admission is $3 for adults. For more information, visit www.unitedcraft.com or call (802) 425-3711.
Cazenovia’s 31st annual Christmas Walk will start Friday, Dec. 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m., on the front lawn of the Presbyterian Church on Albany Street. A tree-lighting ceremony will commence with a visit from the mayor, as well as an appearance from Santa and his band of medieval and international colleagues. The Cazenovia High School Chamber Choir will perform seasonal songs and kids can meet Santa from 7 to 9 p.m. at 95 Albany St. After the lighting ceremony, visitors are invited to roam the decorated village shopping district where shops will stay open until 9 p.m. and outdoor vendors will sell food, beverages and holiday crafts to benefit local non-profit organizations.
Gentlemen still brainstorming for the perfect gift for their significant others can participate in a shopping and social event via Men’s Night Out on Thursday, Dec. 11, 6 to 9 p.m. Men will have the opportunity to browse personalized shopping lists—many of the Cazenovia merchants know the significant others in the men’s lives and may even have their holiday
wish lists on file—and collect raffle tickets to win a flat screen TV. The boys are invited to end the night with hors d’oeuvres and drinks in the Lincklaen House, 79 Albany St., at 8 p.m. For more information about the Cazenovia events, call 655-9243.
Santa will be making an early stop by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park, 1 Conservation Place, this season to treat good kids to a day of food and fun. On Saturdays, Dec. 6, 13 and 20, and Sundays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves will be hosting a buffet breakfast from 10 a.m. to noon and buffet lunch from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Children are invited to decorate holiday cookies with Mrs. Claus and later enjoy a craft-making activity. The cost is $8 for zoo members, $12 for non-members, free for kids under 1. Tickets include zoo admission. Participants must preregister by calling 435-8511, Ext. 113.
Beaver Lake Nature Center
Holiday Pancake Breakfast
Treat yourself to a filling holiday breakfast at Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. On Saturdays, Dec. 6 and 13, volunteers and staff will be serving pancakes, sausages, juice and coffee in the visitor’s center. Prices range from $2.50 for one pancake and sausage, $3.50 for two pancakes and sausages and $4.50 for triple servings of each. After breakfast, visitors are invited to buy cookies, brownies and baked breads at its holiday bake sale and help out Santa Claus, who will be making his way around the center. Preregistration is required for groups 10 or larger. For more information or registration, visit www.onondagacountyparks.com or call 638-2519.
If the cold has you scared to go out this season, take a drive downtown and watch some of your favorite holiday classics in the warmth of the Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St. On Saturday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m., ski lovers can be transported to prime skiing spots all around the globe via Warren Miller’s Children of Winter, a sports-action documentary that features shots of Silverton, Colo., Hakuba, Japan and Cordova, Alaska. Admission is $18.50, which includes complimentary lift tickets to Vermont’s Stratton Mountain and Smuggler’s Notch ski resorts and Swain Resort near Letchworth State Park, a two-for-one lift ticket to Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, N.Y., and a $25 off coupon on a $150 purchase from the Ski Company, 3401 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. Tickets are available at the Ski Company, the Landmark box office (475-7980) and Ticketmaster (472-0700). For more information, check out www.warrenmiller.com.
On Sunday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m., kids and parents can enjoy Jim Carrey’s kooky rendition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Then on Sunday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m., watch Ralphie yearn for a Red Ryder BB gun in the iconic A Christmas Story. Tickets for both movies are $3, free for children under age 5. For more information, visit www.landmarktheater.com or call 475-7979.
Take a trip on The Polar Express in IMAX format through December at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology, 500 S. Franklin St. In this animated retelling of the classic holiday story by Chris Van Allsburg, a boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus takes a journey of self-discovery to the North Pole. Tom Hanks stars in the 2004 film, which won three Academy Awards.
As a special treat, the MOST is holding a pajama party on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. Kids can come in their jammies and make crystal snowflakes and whistles, enjoy hot chocolate, explore trains and have their picture taken with Santa, and this is before seeing the movie. The event is free with a ticket purchase to the movie. Preregister by calling 473-IMAX, Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The movie is being shown through Dec. 31. Film times are Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon and 2:45 p.m.; Fridays, noon, 2:45 and 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. IMAX tickets cost $9/adults, $7/children and seniors; add exhibits for $2 more. For more information, call 425-9068 or visit www.most.org.
Plowshares Craftsfair and
Winter Peace Festival
Find one-of-a-kind gifts at the Syracuse Peace Council’s annual Plowshares Craftsfair at Nottingham High School, 3100 E. Genesee St. On Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., shoppers can peruse ornaments, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, photography, watercolor paintings, drawings and baked goods made from 125 local artists. Local musicians Merry Mischief, One Black Voice, Full Moon Tribal and Salt Potatoes will perform in the school gym, as well as performances from Syracuse Community Choir and Johnson School of Irish Dance.
The 2008 roster of artists and artisans includes glass workers, people who make hand-screened and batik clothing, no less than 20 exhibitors showing their jewelry, and several sculptors. The works range from Robert Levy’s pottery to Lillie Harris’ cakes and pieces to Randy Squillace’s watercolors.
Even though the fair sweeps across two large rooms, there are more than 100 exhibitors and that means setting up displays in fairly tight spaces. Sharon Bottle Souva, for example, is best known for large fiber pieces designed to hang on walls. At Plowshares, she sells smaller pieces as well as pot holders and framed collages. Similarly, sculptor Candace Rhea creates clay tiles encrusted with leaves, ceramic crows and other works related to nature. Many of those works will fit nicely into her booth; her life-size sculptures of foxes aren’t a good match and will be left home.
In addition to displays of art and crafts, Plowshares sets aside space for organizations focusing on peace and justice issues. This year, a dozen organizations, including the Peace Council, the New Environment Association, the Partnership for Onondaga Creek and the Holistic Moms Network, will have tables at the festival.
Admission is $2 for adults, free for those under age 16 or over age 65. Call 472-5478 for more information.
The Good Girls, a quartet with a 14-year track record of holiday sales, has transformed its December event. In the past, the group, consisting of Jen Gendee, Amy Rohde, Michelle DaRin and Kathy Barry, displayed work, including ceramics, jewelry, mosaics and vintage-inspired hats and bags, at a house or studio. This time around, they will set up at Second Story Book Store, 550 Westcott St., with a reception Friday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 9 and continuing on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 13 and 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It’s a good fit for us,” notes Barry. “We are happy to be in a more public place and to be working with a neighborhood business.”
After finally being allowed to join in on all the reindeer games, Rudolph has followed his red nose to Syracuse, all the way to the Mulroy Civic Center’s Crouse-Hinds Concert Theater, 411 Montgomery St., where he’ll participate in a public performance of his annual ballet special on Saturday, Dec. 13, 11 a.m. The Adventures of Rudolph begins in Santa’s Workshop, where the elves are preparing for his annual sleigh ride. All goes well until Witch Winter Gray kidnaps the elves which would prevent Santa from making his Christmas morning rounds. It’s up to Rudolph to save the day and, with the help of the spirit of the season, transform her into Witch Winter White. Tickets cost $9.50 to $18. Call the Syracuse Symphony box office, 424-8200, for more information.
Last Chance Run and
If you’re a not a professional runner, it’s not a problem. The annual Last Chance Trail Run and Breakfast is perfect for anyone willing to take a holiday jog or walk in an often snow-filled wonderland. The Saturday, Dec. 13, event starts at the Skyline Lodge at Highland Forest, on Route 80, four miles east of Fabius. Runners can come any time between 8:30 and 11 a.m. to participate, and afterward enjoy a full pancake breakfast, complete with sausages, bagels, orange juice, coffee and real maple syrup.
Runners are welcome to the run the 9-mile loop but it’s not required. Some runners opt to a do an 8½-mile loop, some run a 2½-mile trail, and other participants just take their kids out for walk. After the race, everyone is invited back to the lodge for breakfast.
Check in for the races begins at 8 a.m. and runners are invited to race and eat anytime between 8:30 and 11 a.m. The cost of the race is $10 for families, $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Preregistration is required. For more information, visit www.syracusechargers.org or call 449-9615.
Christmas at Lorenzo
The Lorenzo State Historic Site will be celebrating the holiday season by adorning its rooms with ornaments, wreaths and extravagant holiday finery. The mansion’s drawing room will be decorated with vintage, hand-painted wooden ornaments, and peanut brittle and wassail will be served in the kitchen. Visitors will also have the chance to participate in a raffle which will auction off local silversmith Norm Dann’s hand-crated silverplate, gingerbread houses and holiday wreaths. On Friday, Dec. 19, a special lighting ceremony will cast the mansion in its historic impression: Every room will be lit with beautiful candles.
When the weather permits, people are invited to take free sleigh rides to the site’s historic schoolhouse, which will be open for crafts, live music performances and refreshments. The show runs Wednesday, Dec. 17, through Sunday, Dec. 21. The site is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children 12 and under. For more information, call 655-3200.
The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual rendition of Handel’s Messiah along with the Syracuse University Oratorio Society on Sunday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m. The show will feature memorable songs like the “Hallelujah Chorus” and the “Great Amen” as part of Handel’s masterwork. It will be hosted by Most Holy Rosary Church, 111 Roberts Ave. Tickets are $35.
Sing along to Christmas songs and enjoy a performance from jazz vocalist Margaret Carlson at this year’s annual Holiday Pops concerto. The symphony will play Calvin Custer’s “Holiday Medley” and “The Little Drummer Boy” arrangement and the Onondaga County Select High School Choir will sing. The concert takes place Friday, Dec. 19, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 20, 2 and 8 p.m., at the Mulroy Civic Center’s Crouse-Hinds Concert Theater, 411 Montgomery St. Student tickets are $5, while other ticket prices range from $20 to $75.
For information, visit www.syracusesymphony.org or call 424-8200.
Hanover Square Menorah Lighting
Hanover Square’s annual menorah lighting ceremony will illuminate downtown again this year from Sunday, Dec. 21, through Sunday, Dec. 28. During the presentation, a 22-foot menorah will be lit every night in celebration of the Jewish holiday. Dreidels, gelt—the word for money in Hebrew—and chocolate will be given out to children and fried doughnuts will be distributed to the crowd on certain evenings. Performances of traditional Jewish dancing and music will also be featured. Most of the favors and performances will occur on Saturday, Dec. 20.
The lighting ceremony will be held on the corner of East Water and Warren streets at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21, through Thursday, Dec. 25. On Friday, Dec. 26, 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m., the lighting will take place to mark the beginning and end of the Sabbath. The final lighting will take place on Dec. 28 at 4:15 p.m. For information, contact the Chabad House at 424-0363.
Remember the rocket ride at the E.W. Edwards department store? How about your hula hoop, slinky, roller skates or erector set? All these classic baby boomer toys are on display at the Onondaga Historical Association Museum now until Jan. 18. Kid Stuff: Toys From Your Childhood is sure to bring back memories for those who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, vintage photos of downtown Syracuse shoppers will help hasten your walk down memory lane.
Memory lane: The rocket ride at E.W. Edwards department store near Clinton Square was a perennial favorite among Syracuse youth of a certain generation.
The exhibit at the OHA, 321 Montgomery St., is open Wednesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Dec. 18, the exhibit will also be open 5 to 8 p.m. Donations are welcome. For more information, visit www.cnyhistory.org or call 428-1864.
Lights on the Lake
This drive-through holiday light spectacular is once again illuminating two miles of lakeshore along Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool. New this year is a section of lovely blue-hued LED trees, as well as an enormous purple dragon. Lights on the Lake coincides with Christmas Around the World at nearby Sainte Marie among the Iroquois, which will be open for visitors Saturdays only until Dec. 20, from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $1; call 453-6768 for more information.
Lights on the Lake runs daily through Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009; the event is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Admission is $6 per carload Mondays and Tuesdays with a Wegmans Shoppers Club Card, and $8 per vehicle the remainder of the week. You’ll find the lighting spectacular off of Onondaga Lake Parkway (Route 370) just south of the village of Liverpool. For more information, visit www.lightsonthelake.com or call 451-PARK.
—Carl Mellor contributed to this story.