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WEEKEND FUN GRAB BAG: Events spread plenty of holiday cheer

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STORY BY BRIAN BINGAMAN 
bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

Academy of Music: Dec. 9-31 The Pennsylvania Ballet presents George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.” The Academy of Music is at Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia. For show times and ticket availability, call (215) 893-1999 or visit www.paballet.org.
Dock Woods Community: The Valley Forge Chorus is part of the Christmas celebration, which is open to the public, at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 in the chapel, 275 Dock Drive, Towamencin. For tickets and more information, call (610) 444-0538 or email tickets@valleyforgechorus.com.
Montgomery County Community College: ArCoNet hosts its 9th Annual Holiday Concert featuring the ArCoNet Youth and Chamber Orchestras at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 in the Science Center Auditorium at MCCC, Route 202 and Morris Road, Whitpain.  Also featured are the ArCoNet Community Singers and and audience holiday sing along. Tickets can be purchased online at www.arconetwork.org. Tickets are $10 for adults ages 13 and older; $5 for children 3 to 12 and seniors.
Mount Hope Estate & Winery: Dec. 9-23 is the 33rd season of Holidays at Mount Hope. The estate’s theatrical production invites guests to interact with the characters holding a festive party inside the 200-year-old Victorian mansion. It’s 1876, the Centennial Exposition has just ended and some cultural dignitaries and international scientific minds are reveling before returning to their home countries. The party will begin with traditional caroling and parlor games, then two stories — “An International Holiday Fantasia: Christmas Folktales from Around the World” and “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Before and between the performance, guests are invited to visit the Billiard Room to purchase Swashbuckler Brewing Co. beers, Mount Hope Wines, Lancaster County Ciders and hand-made signature cocktails made with spirits from Hidden Still, in Lebanon. Show times are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. General admission performance-only tickets are $19.95 weekends and $17.95 midweek. Meal and show tickets are $33.95 for lunch and $42.95 for dinner. For reservations, visit www.parenfaire.com or call (717) 665-7021. Mount Hope Estate & Winery is on Route 72, off Pennsylvania Turnpike exit 266, Cornwall.
Church of the Holy Trinity: The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra presents “A Russian Christmas” with the student brass players of the Bravo Brass ensemble. The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at 1904 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Tickets are $15. Call (215) 545-0502 or visit www.pyos.org.
Fonthill Museum: Go on a Holiday Lights Meander 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at 525 E. Court St., Doylestown. The candlelit tour route includes refreshments. Reservations are $20, $10 for children. Call (215) 348-9461.
Zellerbach Theatre: Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker!” is performed at 7 p.m. Dec. 12-13. Tickets range from $28-$68. The Annenberg Center is at 3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Call (215) 898-3900 or see www.pennpresents.org.
Elmwood Park Zoo: Brunch with Santa returns weekends through Dec. 18. Reservations can be made at www.epzevents.com or at (610) 277-3825, ext. 222. Also, take photos with the zoo’s reindeer, Tre and Clarice, through the holiday season. Photo opportunities are $5 and sessions are daily from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The zoo is at 1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown.
Indian Valley Public Library: Adam Dieffenbach performs a free program of holiday jazz at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the library, 100 E. Church Ave., Telford.
Longwood Gardens: “A Longwood Christmas” runs through Jan. 8, featuring 500,000 lights adorning 124 trees, fountain shows, an outdoor G-scale model train display, free and ticketed performances, daily holiday sing-alongs with Longwood’s 10,010-pipe organ and lots more. For a detailed list of performances, visit www.longwoodgardens.org. Longwood is near the intersections of Route 1 and 52 in Kennett Township. Non-peak days, when crowds are lighter, are Mondays through Thursdays (except for Dec. 26-Jan. 1). Peak days are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Jan. 1, and every day from Dec. 26 through New Year’s Day.
Pottsgrove Manor: Learn about decorations from the colonial era and make a mini-wreath and mistletoe “kissing ball” in a workshop held 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 18. This program is suitable for ages 12 older. There is a materials fee of $5 per person. Registration is required by Dec. 13.
Revel in the spirit of the season with the annual “Pottsgrove Manor by Candlelight” open house 2 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11.
Enjoy the spirit of the season at Pottsgrove Manor now through Jan. 8 with a guided tour of the mansion decorated for the holidays. Tours are offered on the hour 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. The last tour of the day begins at 3. Groups of 10 or more should preregister by calling (610) 326-4014. The site is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Pottsgrove Manor is at 100 W. King St., Pottstown.
Augustus Lutheran Church: During the Community Club of Collegeville’s Dec. 13 meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the church’s Friendship Hall, 717 W. Main St., Trappe, will be a holiday celebration with music, decorations and refreshments. This event is free and open to the public.
Washington Memorial Chapel: Washington Memorial National Carillon in Valley Forge National Historical Park will host “Caroling at the Carillon,” a community Christmas carol sing-along, at 7 p.m. Dec. 18. Sing your favorite Christmas Carols accompanied by Doug Gefvert playing the 58-bell carillon. This outdoor event takes place in front of the carillon tower, so dress for cold weather. This event is free and open to the public. The chapel is off of Route 23, Upper Merion. Visit www.wmchapel.org.
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School: International Ballet Exchange presents The Donetsk Ballet in “The Nutcracker” at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 2 p.m. Dec. 18 at the school, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Township. Tickets are $30, $20 for students and seniors. Call (215) 849-7950 or go to www.ibexchange.ticketleap.com.
Yuletide at Winterthur: Through Jan. 8, see Henry Francis du Pont’s home decorated in holiday style. Also at Winterthur is an 18-room decorated dollhouse mansion. Advance tickets are recommended. Closed Christmas Day. Call (800) 448-3883 or go to www.winterthur.org/yuletide. Winterthur is at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, Del.
Telford Tree Lighting: Starting at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Marketplace at Telford Station, at Main Street and Penn Avenue, Telford, it’s Santa, caroling, hot chocolate, cookies and crafts.
Bucks County Wine Trail: On Dec. 10 and 11 experience the wineries decorated for the holidays while enjoying wine tastings, live music and artisanal cheeses. Get more details on specific times and events at www.buckscountywinetrail.com.
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel: At 4 p.m. Dec. 11, The DePue Brothers Band will present their Magical Grassical Holiday Concert at 8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park. Tickets are $35, free to students through age 23. Call (215) 887-8700.
King of Prussia Town Center: The inaugural Winterfest event features restaurant samples, local school choir performances, ice sculpture, winter-themed activities by Lakeshore Learning Center, cookie decorating, hot chocolate stations, a visit from Santa Claus, interactive experiences by Xfinity and more from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at 155 Village Drive, Upper Merion. Guests are encouraged to donate a winter coat to Cradles for Crayons. For more, see www.kingofprussia-towncenter.com and www.facebook.com/KOPTownCenter.
Daniel Boone Homestead: The historic site near Birdsboro invites you to a celebration of Kristkindlmarket with crafts, food, wine and song 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 9-10 at 400 Daniel Boone Road. Visitors can get a combination ticket to both the Daniel Boone Homestead and Christmas at Joanna by calling (610) 582-4900.
A Very Philly Christmas: The Historic Houses of Fairmount Park offer special public events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 is Neighbor’s Day and Dec. 11’s theme is “Flavors of the Season,” when you can sample holiday delights from local food superstars and taste the latest from Chef Walter Staib of City Tavern. For the full schedule and ticket information, visit www.holidaysinthepark.com.
Morris Arboretum: Friday Night Lights at the Holiday Garden Railway returns 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 16, 23 and 30. This is a separate admission from daytime visitation and advance tickets are required. Cost is $16, $8 for children (discounts for members). Go to http://bit.ly/MAhgr. On Dec. 9 Flourtown’s St. Genevieve School Bell Choir will ring seasonal favorites from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A treat from

Friday Night Lights at the Morris Arboretum's Holiday Garden Railway.

Friday Night Lights at the Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway.

Bredenbeck’s bakery in Chestnut Hill will be given to guests (while supplies last) at the Dec. 16 event. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is at 100 E. Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.morrisarboretum.org.
Women’s Civic Club of Schwenksville Holiday House Tour: From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 visit four historic homes and a church. Begin the tour with a house built in 1715 by two German brothers, an 1860 farmhouse, a house on land that is farmed by 10 generations of the same family, a homestead that was at one time home to the Morgan and Boone families and Bethel Hill Methodist Church. Tickets are $20 in advance from women’s club members or from Anne Rutter at (610) 287-7267. Check www.gfwcpaschwenksville.org. Five sponsoring restaurants — Moccia’s Train Stop, 1004 N. Gravel Pike, Lower Frederick; Smashing Plates, 4027 Skippack Pike, Skippack; Mr. Lee’s Asian Gourmet, 1134 N. Gravel Pike, Zieglerville; the Bay Pony Inn, 508 Old Skippack Road, Lower Salford; and 19 Bella, 3401 Skippack Pike, Worcester, are extending a special welcome to Holiday House Tour participants.
Brandywine River Museum of Art: “A Brandywine Christmas” offers a model train display, “A Holiday Fantasy: The Ann Wyeth McCoy Doll Collection,” trees decorated for the season with Critter ornaments, musical performances, drop-in creative art activities for all ages, holiday tours and other special events. The museum is open till 9 p.m. Thursdays in December, with dinner available for purchase. For more information, call (610) 388.2700 or visit www.brandywinemuseum.org.
Abington Lines Model Railroad Club: The club’s free seasonal open house runs noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 10-11 at 2066 Second Street Pike, Richboro. Go to www.abingtonlines.org or call (215) 598-7720.
Black Diamond Society of Model Engineers: Check out two floors of model railroad layouts 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 10-11 at 900 E. Macada Road. Bethlehem. Admission is $5, free to children 12 and under. Call (610) 867-2591 or see www.bdsme.org.
Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club: The club’s free seasonal open house runs noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 10-11 at 8000 Old York Road, Elkins Park. Call (215) 635-9747 or see www.cheltenhillsmrr.org.
Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers: Check out this free model railroad layout noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 10-11 in the basement of the Coopersburg Borough Building, 5 N. Main St., Coopersburg. Call (215) 538-0501 or visit www.casme.org.
Keystone N-Trak: The Holiday Open House runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11 and 17-18 at the Dublin TEC Center, 123 N. Main St., Dublin. Check out www.keystonentrak.us or call (215) 722-4250.
Pequea Valley Model Railroaders: This layout will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 15 (closed Christmas Day and New Years Day) in the Paradise Township Municipal Building, 2 Township Drive, Rear Entrance, Paradise. Admission is $3, free to children 12 and under. Go to www.pvmr.org.
Mennonite Heritage Center: The “Christmas Feast” Show & Sale and “The Visual Feast” traditional art exhibit runs through Dec. 31, with pottery, bowls, folk art and functional crafts. The Mennonite Heritage Center is at 565 Yoder Road, Franconia. Call (215) 256-3020.
Linvilla Orchards: Throughout December, bundle up and enjoy the scenery of the Christmasland display at 137 Knowlton Road, Media. Every Saturday evening until Christmas, there will be wassailing caroling hayrides. Every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., Santa stops by. Other highlights include a Christmas Shop and Garden Center, cut-your-own Christmas trees, hot mulled cider, children’s crafts and more. For more information, visit www.linvilla.com or call (610) 876-7116.
Pennypacker Mills: Holiday Tours continue through Jan. 8. Take a step back in time to Christmas in the early 1900s, when the Pennypackers lived in the not-yet-electrified house at 5 Haldeman Road, Perkiomen Township. In the kitchen, see a demonstration of clear toy candy making, and browse vintage inspired decorations and gifts in the Museum Shop.
A Victorian Christmas Open House is set for Dec. 10 from 2 to 8 p.m., with bell choir music on the mansion porch and a Victorian Santa Claus.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays (closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day). Admission is free. For more information, call (610) 287-9349 or visit www.montcopa.org/pennypackermills.
Lehigh Valley Zoo: The Winter Light Spectacular runs 5:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Jan. 3. New attractions include musical light shows with “Star Wars,” “Frozen” and “Minions” themes. These shows will take place in the zoo’s Otter Stadium. Winter Light Spectacular will also feature eight themed display areas, holiday movies, fire pits, giant snow globes, a live reindeer, photos with Santa Claus and treat stations with s’mores and hot chocolate. The event will be on break for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas. Tickets are $14, $9 for children 2-11. The zoo is at 5150 Game Preserve Road, Schnecksville. Visit www.lvzoo.org.
Glencairn Museum: Christmas in the Castle guided tours, a “Christmas in Pennsylvania” exhibition and a “World Nativities” exhibition, with 40 different scenes depicting the Christmas story from artists and cultures around the world, continue through Jan. 8. Tour reservations can be made at (267) 502-2990. Suggested donation is $5 per person. Cost for the Christmas in the Castle guided tours is $12, $10 for seniors 65+ and students, free for children 3 and under. Hours will be noon to 4:30 p.m., closed Dec. 12 and 24-25, opening late at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 13 for the 8 p.m. Christmas Sing Concert, featuring current and former members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Les Canards Chantants. Tickets are $10, free for members. Glencairn is at 1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn. Visit www.glencairnmuseum.org.
Mercer Museum: “Under the Tree: A Century of Holiday Trees and Toys,” the museum’s annual holiday exhibit features trees decorated to the tastes of earlier eras, together with displays of some of the toys and games, continues through Jan. 2. Admission is $14, $12 for seniors 65+, $8 for youths 6-17. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The Mercer Museum is at 84 S. Pine St., Doylestown. A free Holiday Open House is held 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13.
Peddler’s Village: The annual Gingerbread Competition and Display is on view in the Village Gazebo, and will be open during shopping hours through Jan. 2. The village is near the intersection of Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska. For more information, visit www.peddlersvillage.com or call (215) 794-4000.
Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem: The holiday marketplace returns to SteelStacks weekends through Dec. 18. Tickets are on sale at www.christmascity.org and (610) 332-3378. Modelled after the old-world open-air markets of Germany and other parts of Europe, Christkindlmarkt showcases an array of artisans and vendors, and features St. Nicholas, glassblowing demonstrations, live music and German fare like wursts, strudel and lebkuchen. For 2016, Christkindlmarkt has expanded from two to four tents, resulting in up to 150 vendors each weekend. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $9 for ages 13 and older, $5 for children ages 6-12.
Pearl S. Buck International: The Festival of Trees continues through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25). Various tour times and tour packages are available. See www.pearlsbuck.org/Festival for details. The annual juried Craft Show is held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 4. The show will be set up like a boutique and admission will be $4. Refreshments will be available at the Luncheon Café. The Pearl S. Buck House is at 520 Dublin Road, Hilltown.
New Hope Ivyland Railroad: North Pole Express train rides run daily through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26-31. The New Hope station is at 32 W. Bridge St. First class and coach tickets are available. Call (215) 862-2332 or see www.newhoperailroad.com.
SALT Performing Arts: See “Christmas Spectacular 2016” through Dec. 11 at 1645 Art School Road, Chester Springs. Christmas cookies will be available by Cookies by Design in the lobby during all performances, and cash bar will be available. Purchase tickets at www.saltpa.com or call (610) 703-1734.
Whiteland Town Center: From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., take a free horse-drawn carriage ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus. On Dec. 10 they will depart from Jack’s Camera. On Dec. 17 they will depart from Big Lots. There will be a free gift and hot chocolate for all riders. Whiteland Town Center is at Routes 30 and 100, Exton.
Old City District: From 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 22, it’s Historic Holiday Nights at more than 20 restaurants and more than 25 retailers, with sips, holiday bites, extended hours, entertainment and more. Visit www.oldcitydistrict.org, tweet @OldCityDistrict or call (215) 592-7929.
The Barnes Foundation: The Barnes offers a free Open House: Art After Hours + Pop-up Holiday Market 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16 at 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. There will be wine tastings, other seasonal spirits and gastro fare by Starr Catering for purchase.
Chestnut Hill: Besides shopping opportunities, Holidays on the Hill seasonal activities include a Holiday Parade and Sugar Plum Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. Dec. 10. At 10 a.m. Sugar Plum Saturday continues with more music, treats and activities through 3 p.m. Stag and Doe Nights on Wednesdays feature extended store hours until 9 p.m., along with seasonal refreshments and live entertainment. Santa appears Dec. 10 and 17 at the Market at the Farweway, 8228 Germantown Ave. and noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18 at Laurel Hill Gardens, 8125 Germantown Ave.
Center for Architecture and Design: “Constructing Play,” a series of free, hands-on family-friendly workshops held Saturdays through Christmas at 1218 Arch St., Philadelphia, is accompanied by an exhibit of children’s building toys from the past 150 years. Also on display is the center’s first annual Gingerbread Architecture Challenge. Vote for your favorite hand-built gingerbread architectural structure designed by one of the more than 20 teams entered. Constructing Play workshops are comprised of 60-minute “Read + Make” for ages 5-8 and 90-minute “Design + Build” for ages 9-12. Workshops provide a hands-on introduction to the worlds of architecture and design and are taught by local architecture and design professionals. Call (215) 569-3186.

MORE EVENTS

Daring dance
Prince Theater: NextMove Dance presents Parsons Dance’s world premiere work “The Machines” at 8 p.m. Dec. 9, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at 1412 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Tickets range from $20-$60. Call (215) 422-4580 or go to www.princetheater.org/next-move.
Hand crafted
Water Tower Recreation Center: The Water Tower Craft Show features 60 fine artists. Check it out 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at Hartwell Lane, east of Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.
Rough stuff
Wells Fargo Center: WWE Presents “Monday Night Raw!” is in Philadelphia WWE with Universal Champion Kevin Owens, United States Champion Roman Reigns, Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Rusev, Chris Jericho and other WWE superstars at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12. The arena is at 3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. Tickets range from $10-$125. Visit www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com or call (800) 298-4200.
Lights on the river
Delaware River Waterfront: The Parade of Lights 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 features both pleasure boats and working vessels. Before the parade, head to the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, where one of the ideal viewing spots is for the parade. Museum admission is $16, $12 for seniors 65+, $12 for children 3-12, students and active and retired military.
The numbers are in
Vox Populi: According to artists Angela Washko and Nathaniel Sullivan, polling and data do not reflect sentiment accurately. The performance art work “Dividing Zero” explores the false narratives that can be drawn from analytics at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets start at $7. Vox Populi is on the third floor of 319 N. 11th St., Philadelphia.
Classic rock
Willow Grove Park Mall: Dec. 16-18 former Wings guitarist Denny Laine appears during the opening weekend of the 102.9 MGK Classic Rock Art Show & Sale, as part of a special “Wings Over America” 40th Anniversary Exhibit. Laine will showcase his new artwork as well as perform brief acoustic sets for the customers. The 102.9 MGK Classic Rock Art Show & Sale — features artwork created by rock stars, famous rock photographs, concert posters and more — runs Dec. 16-24 on the lower level next to J.C. Penney, 2500 W. Moreland Road, Abington Township. Admission is free and all works are available to purchase. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 18.

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