By Melanie Ayotte, Boomerang staff writer
Beginning mid-November and running well into January, all of Ohio comes alive with the arts to celebrate the holiday season. Whether you take in a local show or make it a destination and include an overnight stay, there is something for every Ohioan who loves the arts. There are many opportunities, from national performing groups to local plays and concerts. You can catch a show at a variety of venues and at different price points. The only thing that is really limited is the time to enjoy them.
TourismOhio provides a searchable lists of events, plays, concerts, unique experiences and more. You can find what's happening near home, or plan a day trip or short fall "staycation." The site also has special offers and packages that change with the seasons. Below is just a small sampling of what is going on in Ohio.
- "Amahl and the Night Visitors," Cincinnati - This heartwarming chamber opera by Gian Carlo Menotti tells the tale of the crippled Amahl and his life-changing encounter with Three Wise Men seeking the Christ Child, a story that will delight young and old alike. This production, staged by Madcap Puppets, will bring Amahl to life through delightfully oversized characters. Presented the weekend before Christmas, Amahl will appeal to all ages.
- Short North Arts District Gallery Hop, Columbus - The Short North is renowned for the buzz of "Gallery Hop." The first Saturday of every month, thousands of visitors converge on the strip, the epicenter of the High Street Experience. They come to celebrate art and partake in an evening of sights, sounds, food, shopping and cosmopolitan fun.
- Christmas Festival Concert, Coshocton - Over 200 singers and musicians from central Ohio participate in this annual Christmas concert. This concert features the 100-voice adult choir, the 70-voice children's choir and the 60-voice teen choir, all performing a mix of sacred and secular choral music. All three choirs were founded and are conducted by Charles R. Snyder.
- "Mr. Scrooge," Marion - From the snowy streets of 19th century London to the ghostly apparitions of Christmas past, present and future, four professional actors vividly portray not just the authentic details but the emotional impact of Dickens' holiday tale about Ebenezer Scrooge. This powerful show, with more than 15 characters and 30 costume changes, is the longest-running production of the Columbus Children's Theater.
- Franc D'Ambrosio's Christmas in New York, New Albany - Franc D'Ambrosio, Phantom of the Opera's "Iron Man of the Mask," celebrates the sounds of the season with beloved holiday standards that evoke wonderful memories of Christmases past. Just picture Christmas in New York City.
- N.E. Ohio-Home for the Holidays, Painesville - The perfect start to the Christmas season is the "Home for the Holidays" celebration at the Lake County History Center in Painesville. The showpiece of the Center is a 10,000 square foot 1876 museum building that becomes a Victorian fairy land during the season with floor to ceiling holiday decorations. Guests will also find more than two dozen Christmas trees lavishly decorated and an enormous selection of gifts for sale.
- FNB Jingle Bell Parade Weekend, Waverly - You won't want to miss the largest night time illuminated Christmas parade in southern Ohio, which winds through the streets of Waverly. Immediately following the parade is a special Christmas play for children (adults welcome, too!). Other activities and attractions round out the day.
Visit www.discoverohio.com for information about these events and more. Your local Ohio Historical Society site also may have holiday-themed presentations, events and displays, including:
- Christmas in Zoar - Experience Christmas in the historic German separatist community of Zoar. Enjoy strolling carolers, hear musical entertainment in the landmark Zoar Church, tour private homes, shop artisans in historic buildings, see buildings decorated for the holidays in 19th-century style, visit Belsnickle Santa and the Kristkind and ride in a horse-drawn wagon.
- Picture an Old-Fashioned Holiday, Handby House, Westerville - Bring your family to the Hanby House, home of the composer of "Up on the Housetop," for a memorable holiday photo in the antebellum parlor. Sitting fee includes four poses. Period outerwear offered as an option.
- Holiday Open House, National Road/Zane Grey Museum, Zanesville - Enjoy beautifully decorated Christmas trees donated by local businesses and community members, plus seasonal music and storytelling. See spinning demonstrations, make and take home a pinecone birdfeeder, and enjoy Christmas cookies and roasted chestnuts.
- Dickens of a Christmas, Ohio Village, Columbus - Capture the spirit of Christmas Past at Ohio Village, a recreated 19th-century community, where Charles Dickens' festive and enduring vision of Christmas comes to life through carols, decorations and traditions inspired by his colorful tales.
Visit www.ohiohistory.org for information about these events and more. Your community also can be a gold mine of performing and visual arts events during the holidays. If you're looking for an entertainment bargain, check local high school and college websites for performances by the students. Churches and civic groups also have special performances during the holiday season that range from free to very inexpensive.
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