Five Can't-Miss Events of the Week: Dec. 1–7

A festival of lights and tree lighting illuminate the week, while other fun events include the tearjerker musical, Once, and a truffle-making class.

A guitar, fiddle, banjo and lively cast is all that the eight-time Tony Award winning musical, Once needs to lift your spirits. You’ll have the chance to see Once this week as it arrives in Providence at the Providence Performing Arts Center for three days only. The tale spun follows a musician in Dublin who charms a woman with his soulful love songs. In a turn of events, their love goes much deeper than just the love for music. Let the soundtrack take you on the journey of their love that the New York Times says, “uses song and dance in a way… never experienced in an American musical.” Visit PPAC for your chance to see this Broadway original that will take your emotions on a wonderful and touching ride. 

The Details: Dec. 2–4. Fri. Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Sat. Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun. Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $36–78. Providence Performing Arts Center, 200 Weybosset St., Providence.


Wickford Festival of Lights

Normally Santa Claus travels by sleigh to different areas of the world. However, his entrance into the Ocean State is a little different — it’s by boat! In addition to Santa’s arrival, the switch will be flipped on all the trees, the first of many fun happenings during the Festival of Lights in Wickford. It all begins on Thursday, Dec. 1, when the town and Santa get together to kick off the festivities at 6 p.m. On Friday, Dec. 2, Santa arrives at the town dock by way of the Sea Princess.  Also at 6 p.m. is a live Nativity at St. Paul’s Church and hay rides with Santa are available at the town dock for $3 per person. At 6:30 p.m., the North Kingstown Community Chorus carols their way through the classics. Enjoy the Lafayette Band as they close the evening from 7:15 to 8:15 at First Baptist Church. Breakfast with Santa kicks off the start of Saturday, Dec. 3 and at noon, the Elf Parade begins — come dressed in your best elf costume.  At 12:30 p.m., the ice sculpture is carved live at Updike Park. From noon to 4 p.m., you can listen to live music and have some cider at Smith’s Castle. Round out the festivities on Sunday, Dec. 4, with hay rides with Santa (in case you didn’t already take a ride on Friday) and another chance to step into Smith’s Castle. The North Kingstown Community Chorus ends the weekend-long event at 3 p.m. For more information, the full schedule and a video from the event in 2011, click here.

The Details: Dec. 1–3. Thurs., 6 p.m.; Fri., 5:30–8:15 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun., 12:30–3 p.m. Wickford Village, Wickford.



Bowen's Wharf Tree Lighting

The charming city of Newport is ready to kick off the holiday season with its forty-sixth annual tree lighting. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. with the one, the only, Frosty the Snowman — we hope for his sake that it snows, but for our sake that it doesn’t. But not to worry, if inclement weather should come Newport’s way, the event goes on rain or snow. At 5 p.m., get your singing voice ready (maybe garble on some whiskey spiked hot chocolate, it's totally legitimate! Loosens up the vocal chords, provides a little liquid encouragement to sing…) because the Christmas Carol sing-a-long will be in full effect.  At 6 p.m., the main event occurs; Mayor Jeanne Napolitano will light the tree as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by — you guessed it, boat. Your night does not have to stop there. Newport’s shops are open until 8 p.m. and there are a number of restaurants taking reservations before and after the event. 

The Details: Dec. 3. 4:30 p.m. Free admission. Bowen’s Wharf, Newport.


Making Spirits Bright: Cocktail and Truffle Making Class 

Bring the gift of a well-crafted cocktail and addictive truffles to the next holiday party you attend. With the Making Spirits Bright event at Newport Vineyards hosted at the beginning of the holiday season, you’ll have enough time to go to the class and practice your skills before you volunteer to double as the mixologist and dessert master at your next holiday gathering. Willa Van Nostrand, from Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, is leading the class in the cocktail department, while Newport Vineyard’s own, chef Andy Teixeira, has you covered on how to make truffles. Get ready to roll up your sleeves, get mixing and get rolling! Brix Restaurant, located at Newport Vineyards, is open that evening if you wish to finish off the class with a relaxing meal. By coming to the event, you will receive $5 off a purchase of $25 or more in the vineyard's market that evening only. 

The Details:Dec. 8. 6–7:30 p.m. $42 per person. Newport Vineyards, 919 East Main Rd., Middletown. Purchase tickets here. newportvineyards.comPhoto by Bryan Maleszyk via Flickr, Creative Commons. 


Festa di Natale on Federal Hill 

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Buon Natale — however you say it, it means the same thing: the season of giving is upon us and with it the chance to admire the people, places and gifts in our lives in any shape or form. On Federal Hill, it happens to be Buon Natale — at least when you attend Festa di Natale, that is. Join Eventi on historic Federal Hill for the second annual Festa di Natale. The Christmastime event will feature a Panettone eating contest (a sweet Milanese bread containing raisins, apricots, cranberries and pineapple), so we hope you’ve digested from Thanksgiving! In addition to eating the holiday bread, visitors can shop around in Elf’s Village, witness the tree lighting, drink hot cocoa and watch the kids get face paintings and play games. In the spirit of giving, there is a food drive to support West Broadway Middle School,  so come with non-perishable items if you wish to donate. Enjoy shopping from vendors selling jewelry, toys, homemade soaps, cigars and more when you visit Elf’s Village, and listen to the music of Dominic Dipasquale and the student choir. What would a Christmas event be without the big man himself? Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) will be in attendance as well. 

The Details: Dec. 4. 2–5 p.m., Free admission. DePasquale Square on Federal Hill, Providence.


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