It's time for a little holiday cheer
Go ahead, have your chocolate. Wash it down with hot apple cider. Then work it off by shopping local merchants, chasing the Grinch or perfecting your triple lutz at the Janesville Ice Arena.
Those who like to stretch their vocal cords—rather than pull a groin muscle—will have a chance to do that. We've heard Handel's “Messiah” can be quite a workout.
The holidays are here and with them an abundance of food, music, shopping, performances and sights you don't see any other time of year.
You don't have to go far to find some fun.
Here's how we suggest you parcel out your time. Check out this list, and you'll probably find a few new things going on this year. (For more holiday events and spectacles, check out the event listing at travelwisconsin.com.)
Meander on Milwaukee, 4-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, Milwaukee Street, downtown Janesville. Kick off your shopping early and see what local businesses—art galleries, bookstores, consignment shops—have to offer. Bump into local artists and take advantage of prizes, drawings and store specials.
Evansville Olde Fashioned Christmas, 5-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 22-23, downtown Evansville. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage, listen to live music and check out the decorated storefronts Friday. Then bring the kids downtown for crafts and Santa's visit at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Taste of Chocolate, 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville. The gardens' annual fundraiser is a little earlier this year and has a lighter menu. The highlights still are sweet: chocolate cake, torte, custard and a box of designer chocolates.
Tickets: $45. Call 608-752-3885, ext. 16, or visit rotarybotanical
Chase the Grinch/Jingle Jog, 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, downtown Evansville. Let the kids expend some energy on a half-mile Grinch chase at 1 p.m. Adults can don their brightest holiday outfits for a 5K Jingle Jog at 1:30 p.m. Prizes awarded for best costume.
Admission: $8-$20 for Grinch chase; $15-$20 for Jingle Jog. Call 608-882-5131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spice on Ice, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, Janesville Ice Arena, 821 Beloit Ave., Janesville. Sponsored by the Janesville Figure Skating Club, this event showcases local skaters and then lets the public try out the ice. This year's theme: Holidays Around the World.
Admission: Nonperishable food items for ECHO. Open skate costs $2 per person. Visit janesvillefsc.org.
Christmas train, Saturdays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14, and Sundays, Dec. 1, 8 and 15, East Troy Electric Railroad depot, 1215 Division St., East Troy. Ride the rails with St. Nick and Mrs. Claus in restored Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad cars. Departures are at 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m. (To ride on the special Santa train on Saturday, Dec. 7, call 262-642-3770 or 262-363-7758.)
Tickets: $12.50 adults, $10.50 seniors, $8 children ages 3-11. Discount given with a food pantry donation. Go to easttroyrr.org.
“A Dickens of a Christmas,” 4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and Dec. 7-8, Walworth County Performing Arts Center, 15 W. Walworth St., Elkhorn. Lakeland Players presents this children's show based on Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.”
Tickets: $7. Call 262-728-5578 or check out lakeland-players.org.
“A Fireside Christmas,” through Sunday, Dec. 22, Fireside Dinner Theatre, 1131 Janesville Ave., Fort Atkinson. The Fireside's annual Christmas show has become a holiday tradition for many. Music, costumes, set and cast vary every year.
Tickets/fees: $76.97. Call 1-800-477-9505.
“A Christmas Carol,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 5-7, and Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 8 and 15, Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St. Janesville. Stage One gives its take on the Charles Dickens classic about the transformation of curmudgeonly old Scrooge.
Tickets: $15 adults, $8 students. Opening night is pay-what-you-can night. Call 608-758-0297 or visit janesvillepac.org.
Note: If you miss the Stage One shows, there are others. Milwaukee's Pabst Theater offers the musical Nov. 27-Dec. 24; call 414-286-3663. Madison's Overture Center of the Arts features it Dec. 13-23; call 608-258-4141.
“The Nutcracker,” 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, Young Auditorium, 930 W. Main St., Whitewater. Students from Delavan's Dance Factory perform this beloved ballet about a magical nutcracker every year at UW-Whitewater.
Tickets: $15.50-$19.50. Call 262-472-2222 or visit uww.edu/youngauditorium.
Note: Can't catch the Whitewater show? “The Nutcracker” also takes the stage Dec. 7-8 at Rockford's Coronado Performing Arts Center (call 815-968-0595) and Dec. 14-22 at Milwaukee's Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (call 414-273-7206).
"Charlie Brown Meets the Grinch," 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville. The JPAC Radio Players present a live radio retelling of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Tickets: $5. Call 608-758-0297 or visit janesvillepac.org.
Christmas with the Tallmans, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Lincoln-Tallman House, 440 N. Jackson St., Janesville. Experience Christmas in the late 1800s as the Edgerton High School Chamber Singers set the tone. Holiday treats, warm cider and stories told by Father Christmas should make everyone feel young again.
Admission: $5 per person; children younger than 5 get in free. Call 608-756-4509. (Holiday tours will be offered from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Dec. 30 for $4-$8.)
Choral Union concerts, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7-8, Cargill United Methodist Church, 2000 Wesley Ave., Janesville. Now in its 132nd season, this community choir welcomes all singers and performs only once or twice a year. Director Richard Severing is celebrating his 20th year. This year's concert will retell the Christmas story in “Hodie (This Day)” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Tickets: $10. Call 608-741-5074 or visit choralunionjanesville.com.
Holiday Spectacular, 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, Eclipse Center, 3 Eclipse Blvd., Beloit. The Beloit Janesville Symphony performs holiday favorites with choruses from Beloit Memorial, Beloit Turner and Rock County Christian high schools.
Tickets: $19 adults, $5 college students, free for K-12 students and active military with ID. Visit beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
Alley Cats Holiday Show, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, Edgerton Performing Arts Center, 200 Elm High Drive, Edgerton. The four-man doo-wop group Alley Cats mixes comedy and holiday classics sung a cappella style, including “Let It Snow,” “Blue Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Tickets: $25 advance, $30 at the door. Call 608-561-6093.
Walk-in Messiah, 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, Cargill United Methodist Church, 2000 Wesley Ave., Janesville. Community members tackle Handel's “Messiah,” with Richard Severing conducting.
Admission: Donation to ECHO.
Johnny Cash and June Carter Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville. Neil and Jamie Morrow tell the story of Cash and Carter, a partnership that had plenty of rocky moments but endured for 35 years. Expect classic songs and Christmas favorites, too. Learn more at theringoffireshow.com.
Tickets: $29 adults, $14 students, discount for groups. Call 608-758-0297 or go to janesvillepac.org.
A Holiday Tour of Italy, 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, Aglio Ristorante, 12 S. Main St., Janesville. Feast on foods from four regions of Italy while learning about the dishes and holiday traditions of each. The six-course meal will be narrated by manager Joe Navarro. Proceeds benefit the Rock County Historical Society.
Tickets: $75, available at Aglio's or the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center, 426 N. Jackson St., Janesville, or call 608-756-4509.
Holiday Magic on Main, 3-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Main Street, downtown Janesville. Janesville Leisure Services offers an afternoon of live reindeer, crafts, games, cookie decorating and carriage rides. Santa arrives with fireworks at 6:30 p.m. Big mystery: What mode of transportation will Santa choose this year?
Admission: Free. Call 608-755-3030.
Holiday Light Show, 4:30-9 p.m. Dec. 13-15, 19-23 and 26-29, Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville. Rotary Gardens' 330,000-light show this year expands to the Japanese Garden. Local musicians, Santa and live reindeer will drop by, and refreshments will be available.
Admission: $5 for adults $3 for children ages 3-15. Call 608-752-3885 or visit rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Holidazzle, 5-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, downtown Beloit. Annual holiday smorgasbord includes artist displays in 30-plus venues, live music, Santa visits, treats and children's activities.