Mistletoe Marketplace has events and shopping through Saturday at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Image: Junior League of Jackson

by Sherry Lucas

Mistletoe Marketplace is one of those great Jackson events that ought to come with a survival guide: Aim for a time the rest of the state won’t. Unless you’re gala-bound (and even then, consider it), dress for comfort — because, you know, crowds and concrete at the Trade Mart. Don’t carry a big purse — space is tight, and it’ll hurt your wedge potential for fitting into that cute little booth to reach that darling thing that’s just perfect for your mother-in-law, or your favorite aunt or you. Not here to judge.

This annual shopping extravaganza kicks off another holiday season, and my own experience there is a hodgepodge of gathering shopper stories, stocking up on adorable merch and gazing and grazing my way past a Southern smorgasbord that swang from elegant to irresistible.

You’ve just put away the pumpkins, folks. It’s time now to talk turkey and holly. Fit in some art and music, too, while you’re at it.

Take the Christmas plunge at Mistletoe Marketplace, where all the most ardent shoppers get ‘er done in one fell swoop of a festive weekend. This is the Junior League of Jackson’s 38th annual premier holiday shopping affair at the Mississippi Trade Mart, with shopping, dining, special events and more packed into a tight collection of cool vendors, festive booths, delicious treats (plus the Marketplace Food Pavilion!) and irresistible gifts. General shopping hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; general admission is $10 online, $15 at the door for adults, and $5 for kids ages 6-12 and seniors 60-plus. The Preview Gala, 7-11 p.m. Wednesday, is black-tie optional and $100 a person. For all the details you’ll ever need about these and other special events at the market this weekend, visit mistletoemarketplace.com.

Harvest Fest continues at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily through Saturday with live demonstrations on the operation of the cotton gin, sawmill, cane mill and more. Admission is $6 adults (19 and up) and $5 children 3-18. Wagon and carousel rides each day are $1 per ride. Reservations are recommended at msagmuseum@mdac.ms.gov.

An antique tractor display is a Harvest Fest highlight at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Image: Ag Museum

Guest lecturer Kheli R. Willetts speaks on “Reflections on Creative Activism: Living a ‘Civil’ Life During the Quest for Civil Rights,” 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at Tougaloo College in the Bennie G. Thompson Academic and Civil Rights Research Center Auditorium. The talk is part of a Tougaloo/Mississippi Museum of Art arts and civil rights initiative. It’s free.

Kheli Willets is the guest lecturer at Tougaloo College Thursday on the art of engagement. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

Autumn is knocking on your front door, but a colorful breath of spring blooms is as close as Brown’s Fine Art & Framing, where a 5-7 p.m. Thursday reception opens an exhibit of new paintings by Ginny Futvoye, with many florals among them.

A show of Ginny Futvoye paintings opens Thursday at Brown’s. Image: Brown’s Fine Art and Framing

The opening reception for “A Body, An Archive,” 6-8 p.m. Thursday at And Gallery, 133 Millsaps Ave., showcases visual artworks that explore the roles our bodies play as intersections and origins of cultural narratives. Kira Cummings, Adam Farcus, Alexis McGrigg and more are among the nine regional artists featured in this exhibition curated by Significant Developments.

A Christmas Open House, 5 p.m. Thursday at EK Home, welcomes the season with libations, discounts and the celebration of two years of EK Home and 40 years of Erik Kegler performing in “The Nutcracker” (including Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet’s upcoming production Dec. 8-9).

Pop by Collage Studio, 622 Duling Ave., at 5 p.m. Thursday for another open house, this one featuring guest artist Robin Evans Smith’s glasswork, art on canvas and more.

“We’re Miles Ahead: The Artwork of Miles Davis,” 6-8 p.m. Thursday at JSU’s Downtown Gallery at 101 W. Capitol St. is a chance to see art created by the jazz legend himself, as well as meet Miles Davis’ family members and the producer of “Miles Ahead,” the 2015 movie exploring his life and music.

Derek Perkins is exhibiting “Rabbit Road: A Celebration of Rural Mississippi Arts and Culture” at the Municipal Art Gallery (839 North State Street) through the month of December. Presented by VSA Mississippi and The Greater Jackson Art Council, Perkins’ paintings depict the peace, joy, and creativity of simpler times. The show opens Thursday from 4:30 – 8 p.m.

Textile artist Coulter Fussell leads a gallery talk 11:30 a.m. to noon Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Art, discussing works in the special exhibition, “Material Pulses.” On Saturday, the Influences Film Series, noon in the Yates Community Room, delves into artist Randy Hayes’ pick, “Baby Doll,” directed by Elia Kazan and filmed in Mississippi. The events are free and open to the public.

Coulter Fussell leads the gallery talk Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

The new Kundi Compound, 3220 N. State St., welcomes the public to the creative, collective computer co-op and business incubator, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Friday. Hear from anchor tenants, members and clients, take a tour, book an event, enjoy light refreshments and consider becoming a member.

Thurber Prize for American Humor winner Harrison Scott Key signs and reads from his funny and wise new memoir “Congratulations, Who Are You Again?” at 5 p.m. Friday at Lemuria Books.

 “Expansion: Art, Fashion, Music Under an Open Sky,” 6-10 p.m. Saturday at The Ecoshed (just across Mill Street from Fondren) reaches a creative apex with a showcase of more than a dozen visual artists, a runway show hosted by Lucid Modeling Agency (clothing and styling by Vintage Rec) and music by Empty Atlas, Via Novus, Metaphive, Ming Donky, Daniel Masterpiece Jones and Jason Daniels Band. Tickets are $20 at the door or online.

The touring production of “Jersey Boys” brings the story and music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons back to the Thalia Mara Hall stage, 7 p.m. Friday. Find tickets, $40-$115-plus, at ticketmaster.com.

Texas country singer-songwriter Cody Johnson rocks the scene at Hal & Mal’s Friday, with a 10 p.m. start and opening artist Josh Ward. Tickets are $25 advance (ardenland.net), $30 day of show.

The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival, 5 p.m. Saturday at the Jackson Medical Mall, features performances by Eddie Cotton, King Edward, Miss Ora and the SOS Band, Keith Johnson and Ben Payton, plus vendors, art exhibits and more. Find tickets, $26, on ticketmaster.com.

Mississippi Opera’s “The Hilarious World of Gilbert & Sullivan,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, delivers the best of that fun theatrical partnership with an evening of beloved songs, duets and choruses from some of history’s most popular operettas, including “The Mikado,” “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Gondoliers” and more. Tickets are $25 at msopera.org.

Mississippi Opera’s “The Hilarious World of Gilbert & Sullivan” is Saturday at Duling Hall. Image: Mississippi Opera

The Highland Village Snow Queen Experience, presented by Mississippi’s only professional ballet company, Ballet Magnificat, kicks off the holiday season Sunday at 1 p.m. with a shopping event that will include live performances, ballet lessons, food, face painting and activities for all ages in the Courtyard.

Latitudes at Canton Mart Square will host their holiday open house Sunday at 1 p.m. Refreshments from Southern Sisters Gourmet will be served and shoppers get to take home the coveted annual Rick Griffin ornament, free!

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 35 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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