by Sherry Lucas

A lot of heart and a ton of skilled, hard hand work go into the finely crafted treasures at Chimneyville each year. Now known as the Chimneyville Arts Festival, the event has expanded its vision to welcome a limited number of painters and other fine artists to the annual holiday show of more than 100 craft artisans who are members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi.

It’s a favorite show of mine every year, and the list of great things I’ve found there can (and do) fill a house: wall hangings, Christmas ornaments, scarves, purses, jewelry, quilts, furniture, wine racks, pottery, carved stones, knives, key rings, coat racks, side tables, blanket chests, cards, feathers, mosaics and toys.

There’s always room for more, right?

It’s just one of the several holiday sparkles to get your season started. Midtown’s Holiday Studio Tours is another must-do for me, and I’m sure you’ll find an annual favorite or a new enticement (a new spin on Scrooge at New Stage Theatre, perhaps), awaiting on the local landscape over the next few days.

Enjoy Belhaven University’s Doxa Dance company in concert, in an event highlighting student choreography and performance, 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center. Admission is $10, $5 students.

The DOXA Dance Concert is Wednesday night. Image: Belhaven University

Dinner and detective work fit on the same plate with a Murder Mystery Dinner, 6 p.m. Wednesday at Char, with a holiday-themed interactive evening presented by the Detectives Comedy Dinner Theatre. The three-course prix fixe menu and mystery are $49 a person, plus tax and gratuity. Seating and cocktails are at 6 p.m., and dinner and the show start at 7 p.m. in the private dining banquet space. Reserve seats via email to Brittany Moses at brittany.moses@amerigo.net.

Chimneyville Arts Festival starts with a fun Preview Party, 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Preview Party tickets are $45/$35 advance ($60/$50 advance for festival admission through the weekend) at mscrafts.org, the retail gallery at the Bill Waller Craft Center in Ridgeland or Visitor Services at the Outlets of Mississippi in Pearl. Brian Ledford and the Accumulators will perform at the preview party, which includes hors d’oeuvres by Fresh Cut Catering and beverages provided by Silver Leaf Wine & Spirits, Cathead Vodka and Lucky Town Brewing Company. The Chimneyville Arts Festival, with a stunning array of fine crafts in glass, metal, pottery, fiber, leather, jewelry and more, continues with general shopping for two more days, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday ($10 admission).

The 33rd annual Festival of Lights featuring the Mississippi College Singers gives voice to the season, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Provine Chapel at MC in Clinton. Find tickets, $15 adults, $10 seniors and $5 students, at mc.edu/marketplace or at the door.

Country music singer/songwriter stars Cole Swindell and Dustin Lynch headline the Reason to Drink Another Tour, which pours into the Mississippi Coliseum with a 7:15 p.m. Friday show. Find tickets, $30-$56 and up, at ticketmaster.com. Singer/songwriter Lauren Alaina is along for support.

Cole Swindell and Dustin Lynch perform Friday night at the Mississippi Coliseum. Image: ardenland

The city of Jackson’s Christmas Lights, Winter Nights, includes the Christmas Tree Lighting at City Hall at 6 p.m. Friday and the annual Christmas Parade at 5 p.m. Saturday (starting at the State Fairgrounds and proceeding through downtown). WJTV anchor/reporter Terrance Friday and WJMI 99 Jams’ Christiana will emcee the parade.

The Jackson Christmas Parade is Saturday. Image: City of Jackson Facebook

The Jackson Bike Advocates (JBA) Community Ride, 6-9 pm. Friday, starts wheels rolling from the Capri Theatre at 6 p.m.

The 86th annual Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Belhaven Bowl Stadium weds the tradition of the continent’s oldest continuous outdoor singing Christmas tree with the magic of live performance, with lights, carols and more. Christopher Phillips conducts the Belhaven Choral Arts singers, along with additional students, faculty and staff. Admission is complimentary.

The Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree is Friday and Saturday. Image: Belhaven University

The Central Mississippi Record Convention, at 9 a.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, hosts sellers from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, selling collectible vinyl LPs, 45s, 78s, music memorabilia, vintage stereo equipment and more. It goes on till 4:30 p.m.

Don’t miss Saturday’s opening of “Keep Building Jackson” at the Arts Center of Mississippi, where for the ninth year, retired psychologist/artist Scott Crawford’s recreation of the capital city in LEGO bricks presents a hopeful vision for its future — complete with alien visitors, supehero visitors and eco-friendly advances. Catch it at 10 a.m. Saturday for an insider’s tour with Crarwford, who can point out some of this year’s fun touches and updates. The exhibit runs through Jan. 12; it’s free.

The Beacon Holiday Market on Saturday Sunday puts the smell of Christmas into the air with fresh-cut Fraser Fir trees, garland and wreaths from Lowery Family Farm in Flora, starting at 1 p.m. in the Fondren Building parking lot. Local artists and makers will be featured for a real community-centric way to share in the holiday spirit.

The Midtown Holiday Studio Tours, 3-8 p.m. Saturday in Jackson’s Midtown district, hops on the holiday bandwagon with art, cheer, beer and more at the studios of talented artisans, music and those cool products Made in Midtown. Come down, park, visit, wander, browse and meet the makers, with products, food, coffee and craft beer for sale. Find the food vendors on Wilson Street. The tours are free; bring money for art, crafts and tasty consumables. Be sure to check out the Jax-Zen Float Holiday Gratitude Party & Open House and “Homework: An Exhibition of the Artists of PRGS” at Pearl River Glass Studio.

“A Christmas Carol, A Ghost Story of Christmas,” opens Saturday at New Stage Theatre and runs through Dec. 21. In the new adaptation, the wealthy (but poor in spirit) Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Turner Crumbley, has locked his heart in a cashbox but lost the key. A dancing chorus of ghosts weaves through, in the uplifting story of redemption and hope. For times and tickets, visit newstagetheatre.com or the box office, or call 601-948-3533.

Turner Crumbley plays Ebenezer Scrooge in a new adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” at New Stage Theatre. Image: New Stage Theatre

Cookies with Santa at the Jackson Zoo happens 1-4 p.m Saturday, with Santa’s arrival timed for 2:45 p.m. The event’s included with zoo admission or membership, but parents must RSVP here to reserve a spot for cookie decorating, crafts and more.

Rapper SilaS’ “The Last Cherry Blossom” Album Release Party & Concert, 9 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, is his first Jackson show in a year, and promises a stellar showcase for the rising artist, whose single “Gullah Gullah Island,” inspired by the Nickelodeon kids’ show and tackling issues of police brutality and racism, became a global phenom. Also performing are Aha Gazell, DevMaccc, Vitamin Cea and Judson Wright. It’s $15 advance (ardenland.net) and $20 day of show.

SilaS performs Saturday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Big Freedia Queen of Bounce, with 5th Child, sizzles up a Saturday night at Martin’s with a live show, starting at 10 p.m. Find tickets, $17, on ticketfly.com.

Mississippi Opera’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” 3 p.m. Sunday at Bellwether Church, 4624 Old Canton Road. The popular opera, composed by Gian Carlo Menotti, shares the story of the three magi and it’s a Mississippi Opera tradition. It’s sung entirely in English. Admission is $25, $5 for students and active military with ID.

Join Millsaps College for the annual Advent Lessons and Carols service Sunday at 6 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex Recital Hall. The evening event ushers in the Advent season and is free and open to the public.

Hear the season’s story, from a different perspective, as actor John Maxwell performs the monologue, “Joseph, Father of the Stepson,” at 6 p.m. Sunday at Meadowbrook Church of Christ. Dessert and coffee will be served after the performance, and childcare will be provided.

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s Holiday Open House, 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Museum Store, is another chance to shop locally and uniquely, along with champagne, homemade edibles and artful selections. Is there any better way to browse? Plus, these bonuses: Let It Be Yours Jewelry designer Jamie Faulker; A’Marie’s Bath Flower Shop’s Amber Earles; Feast Specialty Foods’ Camille and Rob Peeples; and Little Bluestem Farm’s Beth Foose. At 4 p.m., hyperrealist Glennray Tutor will talk about his new book “Portals,” with a signing to follow.

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s Holiday Open House is Tuesday. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

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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