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Weekend Plans: Nutcracker, Santa at the art museum; music at Marbles, more

Things slow down a bit as we get closer and closer to Christmas! But there's still plenty to do. Your weekend family fun.

Posted Updated

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

Things slow down a bit as we get closer and closer to Christmas! But there's still plenty to do. Your weekend family fun ...

The Carolina Ballet opens the Nutcracker Friday evening. The classic Christmas ballet features a cast of more than 100 featuring a live orchestra, special effects, elaborate costumes and more. Tickets start at $20. Performances run through Dec. 26 with some matinees next week when school is out. I'll be taking my daughter this year for the first time. Very excited about it.
Raleigh Little Theatre's Cinderella continues its run through Sunday. It might not seem like a holiday-related event. But for many in the Triangle, it's a big part of their Christmas celebrations. This is the 27th annual appearance of the production for the Raleigh Little Theatre. Tickets are $25.
Santa will be stopping by the N.C. Museum of Art from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for a free Holiday Family Friday event. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas for this first-time event at the Raleigh museum. It will feature a visit from Santa and his elves; screenings of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Mickey's Christmas Carol," and "Shrek the Halls;" storytelling, including 'Twas the Night Before Christmas; and live holiday music. During the event, kids under 12 will get in to see American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell for free with a paying adult. It's a wonderful exhibit. I took my five-year-old over Thanksgiving and she loved it. We were in the exhibit for at least an hour as she picked out her favorites and just stared, captivated by the different pieces. A note if you do go: Strollers are not allowed inside the Rockwell exhibit. The museum's Rockwell Cafe also will be serving up some family fare, including chili, peanut butter and jelly and milk and cookies.
Marbles Kids Museum and the N.C. Symphony is launching a new program called Music Makers this weekend. The family-friendly exploration of music and performance will be held one Saturday a month at Marbles starting Saturday. The first event, called Jingle Bells, will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Kids can learn about the melodies and music that are popular this time of year and listen to, play and make things that jingle, jangle and ring. The event includes opportunities to meet musicians from the symphony. This is a drop-in program and is free with admission to Marbles (which is $5). Mozart will be the theme of the next Music Makers program on Jan. 8.
The ArtsCenter Stage and Youth Performing Arts Conservatory continue its run of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. The show, which started last weekend, is Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are $15 and $10 for students.
The Chick-fil-A at North Hills will have a special breakfast with Santa Cow from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday. They'll be giving away a stuffed Santa Cow to the first 50 children attending the event.
Beanie + Cecil Baby will host Nutcracker Dreams for parents and kids from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Ms. Chasta, owner of Stage Door Dance Productions, will lead the event, which includes crafts, stories, dancing and a mini performance. Parents can enjoy some yummy treats and beverages while they shop. It's free. Beanie + Cecil Baby is on Seaboard Avenue near downtown Raleigh.
Tracey of Tracey Gurley Bath and Body will be among the vendors selling wares at the American Heritage Food and Craft Show at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. The show is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $3. Kids under 11 are free. Tracey was part of our Made by Mom Gift Guide. (Be sure to tell her you heard all about her on Go Ask Mom if you go!)
There are two opportunities to see author and storyteller Donna Washington. She'll read from her new book "L'il Rabbit's Kwanzaa" from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday during a holiday pajama storytime at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. And at 11 a.m. Saturday, Washington, an award-winning children's book author, will perform and sign books starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex. Both events are free.
The Cary Ballet Conservatory will feature "A Very Cary Christmas" with three performances on Saturday on the campus of Meredith College in Raleigh. The family-friendly performance includes two pieces. The Cary Ballet Company will perform "A Gift for the Little Match Girl." Then The 3D Project jazz dance co. will present "Straight Up Christmas." There's a toy shop tea party for the kids. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for kids. A show/tea party combo ticket is $15. Check the website for details.
The Ronald McDonald House of Durham is inviting the public for milk and cookies with Santa at 9 a.m. Saturday at Northgate Cinemas in Durham. Everbody will receive a theater tray with milk, cookies and an ice cream treat. Santa will read a Christmas story. There will be magic and tricks from Ronald, plus a showing of "Yogi Bear in 3D." Tickets are $10 and they're limited.

Some last chance opportunities for the season ...

Lazy O Farm's An Old-Fashioned Christmas Experience winds up for the season on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Walk through the scenes of Jesus' birth, roast some marshmallows at a campfire, sip on hot chocolate or cider, take a hayride, meet Santa and more. It's $8 per person. The farm is at 3583 Packing Plant Rd. in Smithfield. A portion of the sales will go to the Baptist Children's Home.
Deans Farm Market in Wilson also will offer its final hayride for the season, with a stop at Santa's Workshop, on Saturday. Hayrides run every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 per person and include a goody bag.
And this is the last weekend for Santa at North Hills in Raleigh. Santa is ready to take requests from boys and girls from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. He's sitting inside his workshop in the space next to Learning Express. Bring your own camera. It's free to take pictures. I took my kids to see Santa here two weeks ago. We got there about noon on a Sunday. There were a couple of people ahead of us, but it was a nice, low-key way to see Santa. The one-year-old didn't even cry! Santa sticks around at other area malls through Christmas Eve.
And some wonderful news from KidZNotes, which I wrote about earlier this year. The group based in Durham, which is working to introduce classical music to needy kids, received an additional $37,500 in grants this fall. KidZNotes will give its first public concert at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Holton Center in Durham, 401 N. Driver St. It's free and will feature the group's 60-piece orchestra made up of preschoolers, kindergartners and third graders.

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