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Weekend Events: ‘Nutcracker,’ Illuminate, GardenFest and more

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The Richmond Ballet presents "The Nutcracker"

The Richmond Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”

The Metro Richmond Zoo presents the 14th annual Miracle of Christmas – Live at the Zoo

December 21 – 23, a Live Nativity Pageant of the birth of Jesus Christ featuring live animals. The twenty-minute pageant is presented 3 times each evening with live musical performances before and after each pageant provided by local churches and performing arts groups. Krispy Kreme doughnuts and hot chocolate will be sold at a nominal fee to benefit local charities. Again the Zoo will participate in a Food Drive, collecting non-perishable foods for families in need. The gates will open at 6:15 pm, pageant time are at 7 pm, 7:45 pm & 8:30 pm at the Zoo. It’s free to attend and parking Overflow Parking will be at Grange Hall Elementary school with free shuttle service to the zoo, 8300 Beaver Bridge Road in Moseley. For more information visit or call 804-739-5666.

Richmond Ballet The  Nutcracker 

The Richmond Ballet Presents The Holiday Classic “THE NUTCRACKER” Dec. 10-23 at the Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center with the Richmond Symphony. Redesigned New Costumes, The Nutcracker continues through Dec. 23 at The Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center Downtown. Tickets start at $20. For details visit

Dominion GardenFest of Lights

Through January 9, 2017, Nightly 5 – 10 p.m.; closed Dec. 24 & 25; Featuring a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. “Living Color” this year’s theme, explores how the world’s kaleidoscope of colors speaks to us, impacts nature and influences culture. Dominion GardenFest for Fidos, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, 5 – 10 p.m. Regular Garden admission; $2 suggested “pet admission” benefiting the Richmond SPCA. Leashed pets allowed on these nights only. There will be special story-times with a host of fun characters, including the Garden’s own Garden Keeper and Nutzy and Nutasha from the Flying Squirrels. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new or like-new book to donate to the RVA Book Buggy to be distributed to those in under-served communities. For more details visit

Legendary Santa at The Children’s Museum of Richmond

Through Saturday, December 24th at 2pm. Entrance to Legendary Santa is FREE and professional photographs can be purchased. Families can also skip the lines to see Santa with Sunrise or Sunset with Santa, an advance ticket program with the opportunity to experience the magic of Legendary Santa, including watching Santa come down the chimney, without waiting in the public line. Tickets are $60 and photo packages are not included in the ticket price but may be purchased during the visit. While waiting to see Santa families can visit the Genworth Foundation Holiday Village, located across from Santa Land, this exhibit invites guests to explore the cultural symbols, family traditions and customs of six holidays (Diwali, Eid, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Lunar New Year, and Christmas) celebrated around the world. The Genworth Foundation Holiday Village is open through January 1st and is FREE of charge. For more information visit or call Santa’s hotline at 804-474-7009.

Virginia Repertory Theatre  “A Christmas Story,” The Musical

Through January 1, 2017 at the Historic November Theatre downtown, starring Garet Chester, Duke Lafoon, Brandon McKinney, Andrea Rivette, and Susan Sandord and features Moose and Reba as the Bumpus Hounds, Trained by Tony Honoree, Broadway Animal Trainer, William Berloni, directed by Chase Kniffen, for details visit or call 804-282-2620.

The Historic Beacon Theatre in Hopewell 

The Spinners – Thursday December 29; The Del McCoury Band, Saturday January 14; Travis Tritt (Solo-Acoustic) – Tuesday January 31, 2017; , Wynonna & The Big Noise, Thursday March 9, 2017.  Details Box Office:  804-446-3457, 401 N. Main St. Hopewell, VA 23860, Visit or

Illuminate Light Show at Meadow Event Park starts Friday through January 1, 2017

Light Show & Santa’s Village opens nightly from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Central Virginia’s largest drive-through light show with a million LED lights synchronized to music played on guests’ car radios.  It features 50-foot trees, an 80-foot tunnel of lights, dancing snowmen, and singing Santa’s and Christmas trees. A new addition this year is an additional 150-foot light tunnel. The light show also features Santa’s Village, a new Christmas Bounce Fest in the Fun Zone, with several inflatables along with a mechanical bull and a trackless train. The Richmond Freelance and Model Railroaders will have a model train display through January 1. Pictures can be taken with Santa nightly through December 23. For more information visit or the Illuminate Light Show Facebook page. Discounted tickets also will be sold at participating Walgreens locations in Central Virginia. The light show begins off State Route 30. Enter Gate 1, and look for the purple tree.


Celebrity Makeup Artist Derrick Rutledge

Tuesday, Dec. 20 6 9 pm, at North Courthouse Road Library, 325 Courthouse Road, North Chesterfield. Makeup artist for Oprah Winfrey and formerly to First Lady Michelle Obama. Rutledge will talk about his career and provide insights on starting a successful business. The celebrity makeup artist began his career in Washington, DC in 1984 and served as makeup artist at BET, the Black Entertainment Television network. There will be a meet and greet with light refreshments at 6 p.m., followed by a talk and question and answer session. Registration is required,  for more information or to register, call 804-751-CCPL or visit

Horse & Carriage Rides

Dec. 16 – 18 & 23, pick up at 10th and East Cary Streets (James Center), Weekdays 7 pm – 10 pm, Saturdays 5 – 9 pm & 5 – 9 pm,  Sunday $10 person, children 4 & under sitting in your lap is free, for details call 804-350-7752.

Pine Camp Arts & Community Center

“Wee Holiday Village” a showing of miniature houses and dioramas with Holiday themes, open through December 30 in the Spotlight Gallery, hours are 10 am – 7 pm, Monday – Friday and 10 am – 2 pm Saturdays. For more details visit or call 804-646-3677.

Concert Ballet of Virginia’s 41st “Nutcracker” Season

Features 10-year-old Joniya Williams, Richmond’s second young African-American dancer to perform Clara, the ballet’s lead role. The full-length production is at Atlee High School Theater in Hanover Saturday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 and 7:30 pm, and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2:30 pm. For more information call 804-798-0945 or visit