Weekend Best Bets: Dec. 18-20

This week around the Twin Cities: holiday lights, ballet, storytelling, and more
Dennis Spears in a production of "Black Nativity" at Penumbra Theatre, which returns piecemeal this year in virtual form
Dennis Spears in a production of “Black Nativity” at Penumbra Theatre, which returns piecemeal this year in virtual form

Courtesy Penumbra Theatre/Allen Weeks

Heart-Warming Midwinter Tales

What: A Midwinter Gathering with Kevin Kling
When: Friday, December 18, 8 p.m.
Where: Online

Beloved local storyteller and MPR regular Kevin Kling tells a warm-hearted story of community in a show led by the Minnesota Orchestra’s conductor Sarah Hicks. Throughout, holiday songs pair with pieces by local poets and writers, including author Kao Kalia Yang, playwright JuCoby Johnson, multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour, actor Isabella Star LaBlanc reading work by Louise Erdrich, and more.

Christmas Carol, Reimagined

What: A Christmas Carol Goes Virtual
When: December 19-31
Where: Tickets available here

Starting this Saturday, the Guthrie Theater will be running a virtual telling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge as he embarks on a journey into Christmas past, present, and future. This program is not a recording of an on-stage production, but rather has been produced and created with four performers, drawing on a centuries-old tradition of dramatic readings. Tickets are $10 per household and can be purchased on their website. Once you purchase your ticket, you will receive a link and password to see the show. The content is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Tradition Preserved

What: Penumbra Theatre’s A Celebration for the Soul: A Virtual Event
When: Saturday, December 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Online

Instead of its annual tradition of staging Black Nativity, Penumbra Theatre is showcasing crowd-favorite parts of the show, featuring vocal performances by Greta Oglesby, Dennis Spears, and Jamecia Bennett. All donations benefit Penumbra Theatre.

Snow Queen of the Dance 

What: The Snow Queen
When: December 19, 7 p.m.; December 20, 2 p.m.
Where: Tickets available here 

Virtually join St. Paul’s Ballet Co. Laboratory for Zoé Emilie Henrot’s interpretation of The Snow Queen. The ballet tells the story of Gerda’s quest to rescue her brother, whose heart has been frozen by a shard of the Snow Queen’s enchanted mirror. The show travels through gardens and introduces Gerda to magical animal friends and the Rose Queen. This film version of the love story was made with the Ballet Co. Laboratory’s company dancers and over 70 students from the company’s school. The show will run this Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. only. 

Winter Farmers’ Market

What: Minneapolis Holiday Farmers Market
When: December 19, 9 a.m.-noon (every Saturday through the winter)
Where: 312 E. Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis

Stop by the Minneapolis Holiday Farmers Market for limited outdoor hours every Saturday. The farmers’ market has extended operations this year through the winter to provide a safe outdoor space to shop local vendors and farmers. You can find fresh and local produce, fruits, and vegetables along with flowers, meats, cheeses, and baked goods. There are also handmade crafts, like soaps and teas, for purchase. Bundle up and stop by the market all winter long while supporting local businesses. 

Drive-Thru Lights Extravaganza

What: GLOW Holiday Festival
When: Through January 3
Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds, enter at the intersection of Como Avenue and Canfield Street 

Minnesota has a new holiday lights experience this winter. For beautiful, sparkling, wintery holiday lights this season, stop by the Glow Holiday Festival. Featuring over a million holiday lights, a festive gingerbread house, and other exciting stops along the route, the Holiday Festival benefits a different community charity each night.

Festive Zoo Exhibit

What: Minnesota Zoo’s Nature Illuminated
When: Through January 17 (Closed: December 24; January 4, 5, 11, and 12)
Where: Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley

Experience the Minnesota Zoo from the comfort and safety of your car. This imaginative exhibit of individually crafted inflatable animal designs by Minnesota artists features beautiful wintery lights for night viewing. Each unique inflatable took up to six weeks to produce, lovingly designed and constructed by Landmark Creations in Burnsville. Slots are available for 30-minute reservations, and tickets, pricing, and a behind-the-scenes video on how the inflatables are made can be found on their website. 

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