by Sherry Lucas
The weekend after Thanksgiving is always cram-packed with Christmas-related holiday hoopla, but I always carve out a spot for the events that make my season sing.
Chief among those is the Chimneyville Crafts Festival, where fine form and function, wit and whimsy, creativity and craft hook up and produce some of the coolest things around. You can enter with a Christmas list, or you can approach this show like I usually do — with an open mind, open eyes, open arms and (often enough) open wallet. Jewelry catches my eye, smooth wooden bowls capture a caress, nuts-and-bolts creatures nudge a laugh and pottery warrants a long look at the many ways glazes can go in the capable hands of these fine craftsmen.
Now that you’ve got out your holiday to-do list out, here’s the weekend rundown: Ballet Mississippi’s “The Nutcracker;” Christmas by Candlelight; the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree; Midtown Holiday Studio Tours; Santa Rampage; Cookies with Santa.
So, go make some merry. There’s more to come next weekend!
One-of-a-kind finely crafted wares pack into the Mississippi Trade Mart for your holiday buying and browsing pleasure as the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi hosts the Chimneyville Crafts Festival, one of the oldest and largest shows featuring exclusively craft in the state and the region. The Chimneyville Preview Party, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, includes entertainment, cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres and first pick of these stellar fine crafts ($50 advance/$60 at the door, includes admission through the weekend plus a coupon that can be used at the Mississippi Craft Center or Outlets of Mississippi’s Visitor Services’ store). Festival shopping continues at the Mississippi Trade Mart at 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with $10 regular admission. Find out more at mscrafts.org.
New Orleans rapper Curren$y brings his Pilot Talk Trilogy Tour to Duling Hall with a big 9 p.m. Thursday hip-hop show featuring the national star and Jackson’s Silas. Tickets are $25 advance (ardenland.net) and $30 day of show for the 18-and-older evening.
The fact that Keep Building Jackson creator Dr. Scott Crawford is wheelchair bound by MS doesn’t keep this Lego enthusiast from building a Jackson we all dream of – one little block at a time. His annual creative featuring the Lamar Life Building this year is constructed with tens of thousands of the plastic blocks and is on display at The Mississippi Arts Center from Saturday, December 2 to Saturday, January 13, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are greatly appreciated to help the exhibit grow year after year. WATCH Crawford’s train video.
The music and the movement stir up the magic in Ballet Mississippi’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker,” with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Thalia Mara Hall. From a holiday party to the gorgeous Land of Snow and the colorful Land of Sweets, this Christmas staple should anchor an annual spot on your calendar. This year, enjoy guest artists Joseph Phillips (2002 USA International Ballet Competition gold medalist) and Ballet Manila principal Katherine Barkman, his frequent partner, as well as the talented Ballet Mississippi students. Friday is Ballet, Blue Jeans & Beer night, with pre-show drinks and live music at 6 p.m. Performance tickets are $13-$36 on balletms.com. For Saturday or Sunday matinees, get into the spirit with a Sugarplum Fairy Tea Party at the Arts Center of Mississippi (separately ticketed, $35 at balletms.com) beforehand.
The 85th annual Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Belhaven University’s Athletics Bowl Stadium, continues the tradition of North America’s oldest outdoor singing Christmas tree. Come hear and see the magic as choral arts singers, additional students, faculty and staff join in lovely seasonal song to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.
Jazz up your Friday night with stellar music and some laughs, too. The Mississippi Jazz Foundation 14th annual Night of Musical Artistry, 7 p.m. Friday at Duling Hall, features Avery Sunshine Duo, saxophonist Mike Burton and comedian Rita Brent. Tickets are $40 on ticketmaster.com.
The exhibit “Working Space: New Work by Timothy Harding,” 6-10 p.m. Friday at And Gallery, 133 Millsaps Ave., brings the language of abstract painting into conversation with architectural space with a site-specific installation and painted works.
The Christmas spirit is always warmer by candlelight. Tuck into an old-fashioned capital city celebration Friday night with the 22nd annual Christmas by Candlelight Tour, with live music, holiday decorations and traditional treats at the State Capitol, Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Manship House Museum, Eudora Welty House and Garden and the William F. Winter Building. All will be decked out in holiday splendor for the tour, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Drive your own vehicle or take advantage of the free buses running between the sites.
Moving up a week for this month, The Market returns to Highland Village Saturday from 1-5 p.m. Sound Wagon and Harmonica provide tunes while artists Susannah Morse, Prickly Hippie, Phelan Harris, Bailey Armstrong, Sam Clark, Kristen Murphy, Caroline Warner, Ann Skelton, Sabrina Hagerman and Laura Ashley Butler are featured.
The 5th annual Santa Rampage, hosted by Lucky Town Brewing Company 3-9 p.m. Saturday, takes a whole new run at fun with a move to Midtown. Come dressed in festive holiday fashion (Santa, elf, bells and jingles) for a jolly good time in the neighborhood that includes fall studio tours, and then the Jason Daniels band at 7 p.m. at the brewery.
The Midtown Holiday Studio Tours 2017, 3-8 p.m. Saturday, opens up one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods with studios packed with talented artisans, music and products made in Midtown, plus food trucks and more. Join a guided tour of Midtown via the Midtown Mobile, 3-5 p.m. with pickup at the Hatch, check out Holiday at the Hatch with Sweet & Sauer, MS Cold Drip Coffee and Feast Specialty, Millsaps Market with the creative spaces in the Midtown Arts Center, a small works group exhibition at Pearl River Glass Studio and much more. Admission is free, but bring plenty to spend on handmade products, food, coffee and craft beer.
The Central Mississippi Record Convention, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, offers plenty of LPs, 45s, 78s and CDs for the browsing as well as vintage audio equipment and music-related collectibles.
Country music artist Riley Green brings six-string strumming and his singing and songwriting skills to the stage at Duling Hall with a Saturday night show, starting at 9 p.m. Ryan Nelson opens. Tickets are $10.
A sweet treat plus Santa, too! Cookies with Santa, 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Campbell’s Bakery, is a chance for kids to get photos taken with Santa, plus cookies and milk and an electronic copy of the photo to use for Christmas cards, Facebook greetings and more. It’s $15; proceeds help support the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi.
No instruments, no problem. Nashville-based Streetcorner Symphony, an acapella group who gained prominence on NBC’s The Voice, brings holiday classics to the stage with their Christmas show at Duling Hall Tuesday. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show.
Fondrenite Sherry Lucas, a feature writer in Jackson for the last 34 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a sampling of creativity and culture from Fondren and beyond. For additional Fondren-centric events, see our Fondren events calendar. Reach Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.