Weekend Best Bets: Dec. 20-22

What to do on the darkest day of the year—plus holiday events and an Iron Range legend in the Twin Cities
St. Paul Ballet's "A Nutcracker Story"
St. Paul Ballet’s “A Nutcracker Story”

Courtesy St. Paul Ballet

Silver Screenings

What: Christmas at the Riverview
When: Dec. 20-23, times vary
Where: Riverview Theater, 3800 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis

The Riverview movie theater drops the latest releases in favor of holiday classics: ElfA Christmas StoryIt’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas—each ticket a gracious $2, or $1 with a non-perishable food donation.

Drink to the Darkest Day

What: Darkest Day Celebration
When: Dec. 21, starting at noon
Where: Uptown Tavern & Rooftop, 1400 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis

Instead of weakly suggesting that the darkest day of the year (Dec. 21) means it only gets brighter from here, get your optimism at Uptown Tavern & Rooftop. They put 30 dark beers on tap starting at 1 p.m. That’s just enough time to drink in the light before 4:30—and then, after that, so many Darknesses (Surly), Dark Infusions (Summit), Double Shot Double Blacks  (Bent Paddle Brewing), and more.

Sing the Sun Back

What: Bring the Sing on the Solstice
When: Dec. 21, 4-8 p.m.
Where: Theodore Wirth Park, 1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway, Minneapolis

The Current radio station, with Classical MPR, fills the longest night of the year with a singalong in the park, featuring special guests Cameron Kinghorn, Jerry Rubino, Dan Newton, and others.

Fresh Powder, Bad Threads

What: Ski with Santa & Ugly Sweater Contest
When: Dec. 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Afton Alps,

After Santa skis the Afton slopes (plus reindeer), an ugly sweater party hits up the Cantina, where Tattersall Distillery serves signature cocktails and live music takes over from 4 to 6 p.m. Ugliest sweater wins a trophy.

Not-So-Silent Night

What: Rhythmic Circus: Holiday Shuffle
When: Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Ames Center, 12600 Nicollet Ave., Burnsville

Four tap dancers and a seven-piece band rev up classic holiday tunes, as Rhythmic Circus, the world-renowned tap troupe, puts on its fourth high-octane seasonal show at the Ames.

Dance of the St. Paul Fairies

What: A Nutcracker Story
When: Dec. 21, 1 and 6 p.m.
Where: The O’Shaughnessy, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul

It’s that old tale of evil mice, dancing treats, and one weird uncle. St. Paul Ballet does its version of the Tchaikovsky mainstay, combining oral tradition and dance.

Iron Range Legend

What: Holiday on Ice Cube: Paul Metsa 40th Anniversary Celebration
When: Dec. 23, 6 p.m.
Where: The Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

For the 40th anniversary of his first gig at the Parkway, eight-time Minnesota Music Awards winner Paul Metsa (“the other great folksinger from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range,” said HuffPost) performs with special guests Sonny Earl, the Cats Under the Stars Acoustic Quartet, Stan Kipper, and more.

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