The Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the winter holiday season, and in addition to gatherings with friends and family, that also means holiday-themed concerts, plays, festivals and markets abound throughout the South Bend region.
THREE OAKS — The Acorn presents Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 and at 8 p.m. Nov. 24. Tickets are $65-$35. Purchase tickets at acornlive.org. The Acorn is located at 107 Generations Drive.
SOUTH BEND — Straight No Chaser, a male a cappella group, will present their “Sleighin’ It Tour” at 8 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Morris Performing Arts Center, 211 N. Michigan St. Tickets: $59.50-$39.50. Formed at Indiana University Bloomington, Straight No Chaser released a new holiday EP, “Stocking Stuffer,” on Nov. 3. Purchase tickets at morriscenter.org; by phone at 574-235-9190 or at the box office.
SOUTH BEND —The spotlight exhibit “Path to Sainthood: Brother Columba O’Neill” will be on display at the Hesburgh Library, Rare Books & Special Collections, 102 Hesburgh Library on the University of Notre Dame campus, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 24. The collection dates from 1895 to 1997 and includes thousands of letters written to Brother Columba, who was known as the Miracle Man of Notre Dame and the Divine Healer. Items on display are on loan from the Archives of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
SOUTH BEND — Celebrate the official opening of the ice-skating season with a full day of free activities at Howard Park, 219 S. St. Louis Blvd., Nov. 24. Start the day off at 8 a.m. with Yoga on Ice and end the day by watching fireworks at 8 p.m. Shop the Howard Holiday Market, located inside the event center, from 4 to 8 p.m. and again from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25. For a full list of activities, go to visithowardpark.com/winteropen.
NORTH LIBERTY — The Potato Creek State Park Nature Center will offer a Cardinal Felt Craft from 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 24. Create Indiana’s bird as a Christmas decoration. Because this craft requires sewing, it is recommended for ages 6 and older. Later in the day, join a Park Naturalist on a 2-mile hike that goes by Porter Rea Cemetery, Shrader’s Spring House, duck ponds and winding creeks. Meet at Porter Rea Cemetery to begin the trail 4 hike. The hike is from 2 to 4 p.m. The State Park is located at 25601 Indiana 4. Entrance fees required.
PORTAGE — Instead of shopping, opt outside for an expert-led, family-friendly hike and beach cleanup at Indiana Dunes National Park from 1 to 4 p.m. CST Nov. 24 at West Beach. The hike can be up to 3.5 miles in length with easy cut-offs back to the parking lot for shorter hikes of 1- or 2-miles. The hike is moderate in difficulty with 270 stairs and some sections of loose sand. Meet at the West Beach parking lot, 376 N. County Line Road.
NILES — Lights will magically illuminate evenings at Fernwood from Nov. 24 through Jan. 6, 2024. This professionally designed show will feature light tunnels, three warm fire pits, craft station, nature-inspired light sculptures, festive music and sounds, and more. Hot chocolate, other seasonal drinks, snacks, and festive light-up merchandise for all ages also will be available. Tickets $15-$0, may be purchased at fernwoodbotanical.org/lights. Fernwood Botanical Garden is located at 13988 Range Line Road.
SOUTH BEND — The State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine presents “Cinderella” at the Morris Performing Arts, 211 N. Michigan St. at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25. This children’s classic will be presented in two acts. Be captivated by the music of Sergei Prokofiev and choreography by Vladimir Vasiliev. Tickets: $88.50-$44, purchase at the Morris or online at morriscenter.org.
NORTH LIBERTY — Relax around a warm campfire and begin enjoying the holiday season at Potato Creek State Park’s Campfire Sing Along from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25. Join Naturalist Luke at the Peppermint Shelter for a fun family evening of singing and enjoying a hot beverage. Potato Creek State Park is located at 25601 Indiana 4. Entrance fees apply.
SYRACUSE — Chautauqua Wawasee’s annual Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 25 at Oakwood Resort, 702 E. Lake View Road. Come and see your favorite holiday characters, such as Santa, the Grinch, Frosty and more. Hear the Christmas story in the chapel, meet some live reindeer, listen to caroling, musical groups, take a family photo and more. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place at 6:15 p.m. This family-friendly event is free.
NORTH JUDSON — Santa Trains will provide Christmas fun every Saturday beginning Nov. 25 and ending Dec. 23. Ride in a vintage commuter coach through the countryside from North Judson to English Lake. During the trip, passengers will visit with Santa and each child will receive a gift bag from Santa. Diesel-powered trains depart at 9 and 11 a.m. and at 1 and 3 p.m. (Central Time). The total length of each excursion is approximately 1 hour. Tickets are $25-$20; free for ages 2 and younger. Purchase tickets online at hoosiervalley.org or call the depot at 574-896-3950 on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST. Seating is restricted. Before or after the train ride, visit the free museum and grounds to see one of the largest collections of working railroad signals, memorabilia and engines of by-gone eras. Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is located at 507 Mulberry St.
BATTLE GROUND — Attend the Annual Turkey Toss at Wolf Park from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 25. Take a walk on the park’s trail and watch the animal ambassadors enjoy Thanksgiving treats. Cost: $18-free. Purchase tickets online at wolfpark.org/programs/turkey-toss. Wolf Park is located at 4004 East 800 North.
BUCHANAN — Take a 1-hour hike from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 25 through the pasture and woods of Verdant Hollow Farms with a herd of goats and release some holiday stress. This is a fun way to interact with goats in their favorite environment. Participants must wear close-toed, durable footwear and dress for the weather. Goats don’t like the rain. If the hike is cancelled due to inclement weather, a credit will be given for a future goat hike. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at verdanthollowfarms.com. Verdant Farms is located at 11907 Garr Road.
BUCHANAN — Artisan Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25, Roti Roti Art Center, 117 W. Front St. Handmade items from local artists and artisans. Peruse original creations; baked goods, jewelry, wood-turned bowls, pottery and more. Paint an ornament in The Pottery Study. Additional parking is available at the First Presbyterian Church.
THREE OAKS — PureSoul Presents: A Merry Motown Christmas at 8 p.m. Nov. 25 at The Acorn, 107 Generations Drive. Singer Cameron Webb kicks off the holiday season with classic songs from the Motown era and funky holiday classics. Tickets are $60-$35 and are available at acornlive.org.
SOUTH BEND — The South Bend Symphony Orchestra presents “Peter and the Wolf,” featuring the Shades of Orange Theater troupe and guest conductor Shira Samuels-Shragg. Prokofiev’s timeless classic is brought to life with enchanting music and vivid storytelling. Perfect for audiences of all ages. The concert will be performed in the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Nov. 26. Tickets: $24-$12; purchase online at southbendsymphony.org/events/peter-the-wolf.
PLYMOUTH — Take a break during the holiday hustle and bustle to enjoy the fairy tale adventure movie “The Princess Bride” from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Rees Theatre, 100 N. Michigan St. The movie is rated PG and the cost is $5.
BERRIEN SPRINGS — Forest Meadow Ranch, 6870 Long Lake Road, will help you recover from Thanksgiving and shopping through forest bathing with horses from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 26. Expert guides will lead you through a relaxing forest bathing session where you can connect with nature and recharge your mind, body, and soul. Wear comfortable clothing. No prior experience with horses or forest bathing is necessary. This is a donation-based program to support Forest Meadow Ranch and Nature Therapy of Michiana. Reserve a spot now at naturetherapymi.com/book-now and click on their Eventbrite link.
SOUTH BEND — “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Morris Performing Arts Center, 211 N. Michigan St. This holiday contemporary dance spectacle is a re-mixed and re-imagined version of the classic, smashing hip hop dance and the timeless music of Tchaikovsky. Innovative digital graffiti and visuals transform the story from traditional 19th century Germany to the sounds of contemporary New York City as the show celebrates love, community and the magic of the holiday season. Purchase tickets, $65-$38, at MorrisCenter.org.
SOUTH BEND — A presentation of South Bend Civic Theatre’s production of “Better Homes: The Play” will be offered at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at The History Museum. The play is set in 1950 when a group of African American workers at the Studebaker factory met in secret. Their mission was to build homes away from the factories and slums where they were forced to live. Witness this triumphant true story come to life on stage as these courageous families rise against the entrenched racism of the time. Ticket price includes tours of the 1950s African American Worker’s Home, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For tickets, call South Bend Civic Theatre at 574-234-1112.
SOUTH BEND — Downtown South Bend’s First Fridays will celebrate with “Downtown for the Holidays” from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1. The Gridiron will be active with live holiday music, dance performances and more. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. to light the tree and then he will retire to Santa’s House to meet with children from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Santa’s House is located just north of The South Bend Chocolate Factory and will be open every Friday through Sunday until Dec. 24.
SOUTH BEND — American Theatre Guild presents “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” a whimsical holiday spectacular where holiday storybook characters come to life as performed by aerial circus acts, sleight-of-hand jugglers, breath-catching acrobatics and much more. This magical fantasy will take place at Morris Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3. Tickets can be purchased at BroadwayInSouthBend.com, MorrisCenter.org or by calling 574-235-9190. The Morris is located at 211 N. Michigan St.
GOSHEN — Join Goshen Theater for First Fridays: Hometown Holiday from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1. View works by local artists, sing-a-long with the Drama Club students for “Caroling for Cans” as they raise funds and collect supplies to benefit The Window Inc., find gifts at the Holiday Market and grab a drink and snack at the bar and concession stand.
DOWAGIAC — Sister Lakes Brewing Company presents “An Evening with Dickens — A Christmas Carol” from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1. Participants will hear the dramatic reading of this timeless Dickens classic, performed by storyteller Greg Weiss. Tickets: adults, $15; children (ages 12 and under), $8. Beer, wine, and food will be available for purchase.
ST. JOSEPH — Twin City Players announces the holiday production of the heartwarming comedy “Parfumerie” adapted by E.P. Dowdall. This gentle comedy follows the tangled tale of Parfumerie employee George Horvath, who is fired from his job just days before Christmas. Then his love life goes awry when he discovers that the pen pal he has fallen in love with is a co-worker with whom he constantly feuds. Tickets are $17-$12 (plus $1 fee) and can be purchased online at twincityplayers.org or by calling the box office at 269-429-0400. Performance dates are Dec. 1 to 17. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the TCP Playhouse, 600 W. Glenlord Road.
ST. JOSEPH — Light up the Bluff, a winter wonderland of over 1 million lights will be Dec. 1 through Feb. 15, 2024. At 6 p.m. the St. Joseph High School choir will sing Christmas carols followed by the lighting of the tree at 6:30 p.m.
VANDALIA — Visit the Victorian Bonine House, all decorated for Christmas, and learn the history of the house and the Underground Railroad in Cass County. Rooms are decorated differently each year. The house is open Dec. 1 to 14 from 1 to 6 p.m. daily. The house is located at the corner of Penn Road and M-60. Admission is free.
BERRIEN SPRINGS — “Christmas through the Ages” will be performed by Andrews University’s Wind Symphony at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Howard Performing Arts Center on the campus of Andrews University, 4160 E. Campus Circle Drive. The music will welcome the holiday season with heartwarming arrangements. The Village Adventist Elementary School Children’s Choir will join the finale piece of “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Tickets are $7-$5 and can be purchased at howard.andrews.edu.
ST. JOSEPH — Enjoy the annual Reindog Parade at 3 p.m. Dec. 2. The parade begins at the corner of State and Elm Streets. This event features holiday-dressed pets and owners. Participants for the parade must register in advance at stjoetoday.com/reindog or day of at the Welcome Center from noon to 2:45 p.m. Cost is $5, additional pets $3 each. If you want to take part in the costume judging contest, meet at the Welcome Center at 1 p.m.
After the parade, Santa’s House, located on the corner of State and Pleasant Streets, will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. and will be open Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 23. Hours: 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays; 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 21; noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 22-23. Admission is free, and bring a camera for a photo with Santa.
SOUTH BEND — The History Museum presents “Christmas at Copshaholm” tours from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10. Over 15 Christmas trees and other holiday décor are on view throughout the 38-room historic house. Tours are self-guided allowing visitors to stay as long as they wish in each room. Docents on each of the three floors will be available to answer questions about the home. Families can also have fun with an “Elf-on-the-Copsha-Shelf” scavenger hunt. Tickets are $15-$5; and free for ages 5 and younger and can be purchased online at historymuseumSB.org. The History Museum is located at 897 Thomas St.
SOUTH BEND — Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 36 presents Cookies with Santa from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the South Bend Police Department, 701 W. Sample St. Enjoy cookies and a free photo with Santa.
SOUTH BEND — Curator of Copshaholm, Skylar Whited, will describe Christmas traditions of yesteryear at Insights in History taking place at The History Museum, 897 Thomas St., at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 6. A first-floor tour of the Oliver Mansion, decorated for the holiday season, will also be offered. Admission is $3-$1. Call 574-235-9664 for reservations by Dec. 4
BENTON HARBOR — Lake Michigan College’s visual and performing arts department will present its annual Holiday Collage Concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Mendel Center, 2755 E. Napier Ave. The evening features performances by the LMC Concert Choir and Vocal Chamber, the LMC Jazz Band, LMC Instrumental Ensemble, and dramatic readings from theater students. In lieu of paid admission, a donation to the Red Hawk Refuel Pantry is suggested.
DOWAGIAC — Downtown Dowagiac holds its third annual Extended Hours Holiday Shopping Event from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7. Highlights include an appearance by Santa Claus, strolling musicians and members of the Dowagiac Union High School choir and holiday wreath making. The wreath making class costs $70, which includes refreshments, fresh evergreens and adornments, with advance registration is required by calling Michelle Milnamow at 269-262-1444 or by visiting flowerfieldfarmstead.com.
SOUTH BEND — Jane Lynch’s A Swingin’ Little Christmas will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Enjoy a nostalgic nod to the sounds of big band holiday albums from the 1950s and 1960s. Featuring Jane Lynch, Kate Flannery, Tim Davis and The Tony Guerrero Quintet. Tickets: $89-$25, call 574-631-2800 or purchase online at performingarts.nd.edu.
SOUTH BEND — Southold Dance Theater presents “The Nutcracker” in collaboration with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra at Morris Performing Arts Center, 211 N. Michigan St. This timeless family classic ballet with beautiful dances, glittering costumes and more will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets: $72.50-$33.50. Call 574-235-9190 or visit morriscenter.org.
SOUTH BEND — South Bend Civic Theatre presents Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” based on the 1942 award-winning iconic film. “Holiday Inn” opens at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and will be presented again at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 14, 15 and 16. Matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17. South Bend Civic Theatre is located at 403 N. Main St. Tickets are $35-$25 and can purchased through the box office at 574-234-1112 or online at sbct.org.
GOSHEN — Join the 3:16 Community Theater at 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 9-10 at the Goshen Theater as they present “Welcome to Virginia.” Travelers are forced to seek shelter from a major snowstorm in a highway rest area on Christmas Eve. All just want to get going, but the night has much in store for all of them. Tickets: $15. For more information contact 574-312-3701 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Goshen Theater is located at 216 S. Main St.
BENTON HARBOR — Experience Christmas the Irish way when “Christmas in Killarney: An Irish Christmas Celebration” comes to Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The Irish village of Killarney comes alive in the 1920s with world-class Irish dancing, classic Christmas songs, and a heartwarming story about love, family and tradition during this spirited stage production. Tickets are $80-$35 and may be purchased at TheMendelCenter.com/events and through the Mendel Center box office at 269-927-8700 option 1 or in person weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. The Mendel Center is located at 2755 E. Napier Ave.
BENTON HARBOR — TORP Improv Comedy presents “HA! HA! Holidays Show” at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at The Citadel, 91 Hinkley St. This band of quick-witted merrymakers will have the audience laughing with their spur-of-the-moment improv antics based on audience suggestions, making each show unpredictable. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with $5 wine and beer available. Advance tickets are $15 and can be purchased at torp.ludus.com. Tickets at the door are $20.
SOUTH BEND — A staged reading of “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at South Bend Civic Theatre, 403 S. Main St. This humorous story revolves around best friends Big Ethel and Georgia Dean who are determined to win the local nativity scene decorating contest. Tickets are $10. Purchase online at sbct.org or call 574-234-1112.
GOSHEN — DES Dance Winter Spectacular will be held at 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Goshen Theater, 216 S. Main St. Dancers of all levels and ages will perform ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and pom dances to holiday classics, as well as pop hits. Featuring local artist Carrie Lee Bland Kendall as host and a special guest performer. Tickets go on sale Dec. 1: $15-$14.
MICHIGAN CITY — The Michigan City Messiah presents “The Messiah” at 7 p.m. CST Dec. 16 and at 3 p.m. CST Dec. 17, at the Holdcraft Performing Arts Center, 1200 Spring St. The presentation will feature a full Baroque orchestra conducted by Philip J. Bauman. Soloists include Kimberly Jones, soprano; Kristen Gornstein, mezzo-soprano; Matthew Daniel, tenor; and Bill McMurray, bass-baritone. The concert is free and requires no reservations.
NEW BUFFALO — The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casinos presents “Holiday Dreams, A spectacular Holiday Cirque!” at 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 6 p.m. Dec. 17 at Four Winds New Buffalo’s Silver Creek Event Center, 11111 Wilson Road. The show incorporates world-class cirque performers, specialty acts, comedy and state-of-the-art technology. Tickets are $45-$25 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster or fourwindscasino.com/newbuffalo/entertainment/event-center/.