This post contains information from a previous year and does not reflect current events or schedules. Stay tuned for the 2012 OAAM Holiday Events Guide!
I hope our readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you stuffed yourself silly with turkey and the fixins (my Southern roots are showing) and enjoyed time with family and friends.
Now, as your Thanksgiving leftovers have disappeared and the calendar is about to flip to December, it’s time to start talking about Christmas, Chanukah, and all the other wonderful holiday traditions happening next month.
Shawna and I keep hearing about so many wonderful holiday events in our area and decided to just write them down. So, below is our list of some fun holiday events that are happening in Hartford County over the next few weeks.
(Photo from www.bluebacksquare.com)
- The Holiday Stroll at West Hartford Center & Blue Back Square in West Hartford will be held this Thursday, December 1st. This is a great event if you have little ones and just want to bundle them up and take them on a spin. The event will include caroling, crafts for the kids, performances by local groups, special discounts at area businesses, FREE horse drawn carriage rides and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. For more information, check out this video from last year’s event.
Location: Blue Back Square and West Hartford Center, West Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: FREE
Date(s) & Time(s): Thursday, December 1st from 5:30pm – 8:30pm
- Would your child enjoy building a gingerbread house? If so, you should check out Gingerbread Day at the Noah Webster House in West Hartford. A local baker, Christine Brooks, will provide the gingerbread house kit and help you make your own. After finishing their gingerbread house, children can visit Noah’s Discovery Learning Space which will be open throughout the day. Sessions are available on Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th. Registration is required, so sign up online here or by calling 860-521-5362 x21. (photo from www.sweetdomestics.com)
Location: Noah Webster House, 227 South Main Street, West Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: $18 per house (maximum of 2 people can work on one house)
Discounts: Cost for members is $15
Date(s) & Time(s): 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, and 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 4
- The Emanuel synagogue in West Hartford will be hosting the Connecticut Latke Throwdown this coming Sunday, December 4th. Celebrity chefs will be preparing this traditional Chanukah food and attendees will be able to sample their creations. Meet local area chefs, visit the vendor bazaar, participate in the tea-cup raffle, and root for your favorite dish to win! (photo from www.thebuddingcook.blogspot.com)
Location: The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: General Admission $10.00/person in advance. $18.00 at the door. Children under 12 free. $25.00 family cap with advance reservation. Reservations can be made by sending a check to The Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive, West Hartford, 06117. Please include your email address and/or phone number so that they can confirm your reservation. For information, call 860-236-1275.
Date(s) & Time(s): Sunday, December 4, 2011, 2:00pm
- The Mandell JCC will be hosting a FREE Chanukah Family Fest event at Macy’s at Westfarms Mall on Sunday, December 11th. The event includes entertainment with Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett of Temple Sinai and Jen “Kindermusic” Ludgin, PJ Library stories, face painting, balloon art, cookies, and more. Did I mention the event is FREE!
Location: Macy’s, Westfarms Mall (1500 New Britain Ave, West Hartford), 3rd Floor Children’s Department
Ticket Prices: FREE
Date(s) & Time(s): Sunday, December 11 from 12 noon to 2 pm
- Flamig Farm is hosting a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 17th and Sunday, December 18th. You can enjoy breakfast with Santa and also meet Mrs. Claus, Elves, Frosty and the Grinch. Bring your camera to take your own picture with Santa. After breakfast, take a Christmas trolley ride out to reindeer land. The ride lasts around 15 minutes and is in an open trolley, so make sure you bundle up! Seating times are at 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, and 11:30 am both days. Kids under 2 are free but must sit in a high chair or on an adult’s lap. To order tickets, call 860.658.5070. For details on Flamig Farm, see our recent post here. (photo from www.flamigfarm.com)
Location: Flamig Farm, 7 Shingle Mill Road, West Simsbury, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: $25, kids under 2 are free
Date(s) & Time(s): December 17th and 18th with seating times at 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, and 11:30 am
- The Mandell JCC is also hosting a Chanukah family concert on Saturday, December 17th. The Mama Doni band will be performing. Holiday treats will be served starting at 5:45 pm and then the concert begins at 6:30 pm. Reservations are required, so contact 860.231.6313 for more information.
Location: Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: $5 per person (JCC Members are free)
Date(s) & Time(s): Saturday, December 17; holiday treats served at 5:45 pm and the concert will begin at 6:30 pm.
Discounts: JCC members can attend the concert for FREE
- The Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford will be holding a Chanukah concert on December 24th. The What’s Up Band will be performing along with special guests the The Shlomones. Doors open at 6:45 pm and the concert starts at 7:30 pm. Children who want to participate in the show finale can come at 6:00 pm for rehearsal. Tickets are $10 per person and details can be obtained by contacting the synagogue at 860.236.1241.
Location: Beth David Synagogue, 20 Dover Road, West Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: $10 per person
Date(s) & Time(s): December 24th; doors open at 6:45 pm, concert begins at 7:30 pm, children’s rehearsal at 6:00 pm
Ongoing Holiday Events
- Head on over to Winterfest at Bushnell Park for a variety of family friendly (and FREE) activities. The event is already up and running and a big part of the event, the ice skating rink, will remain open until February 20th. There is a plethora of activities to participate in including FREE ice skating (with a rink twice as large as last year and FREE skate rentals), carousel rides, visits with Santa Claus, and FREE ice shows. This event sounds amazing and we can’t wait to try it out! (photo from www.http://hartford.com)
Below are a few more details:
- FREE ice skating and FREE skate rentals 7 days a week from 11am – 9pm (now through February 20th)
- Carousel rides Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 7pm (now through December 31st)
- FREE pictures with Santa at the Carousel from 12pm – 3pm every Saturday and Sunday until 12/18 (you get a FREE 5×7 photo)
- FREE Ice Shows from 6pm – 7pm Fridays & Saturdays
- Food vendors will be on site every Wednesday – Sunday
Location: Bushnell Park, Downtown Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: Carousel rides are $1 for children and adults (kids under 1 are free); all other activities are FREE!
Date(s) & Time(s): Ice skating is 7 days a week from 11am – 9pm; carousel is open Saturdays and Sundays til December 31st from 11am – 7pm; Santa will be at the carousel from noon – 3pm every Saturday and Sunday til 12/18; Ice Shows every Friday & Saturday evening from 6pm – 7pm
- The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor is also having a Winterfest event but this one is very different from the event in Bushnell Park. This event will include a visit to the museum to see model trains and displays, a visit with Santa Claus (bring your camera), and even a trolley ride. The ride runs about 15-20 minutes and goes a mile and a half through the “Tunnel of Lights”. You will have a choice of riding in a closed car or braving the cold and riding in the open “electric sleigh” can ride as many times as you would like. Bundle those kiddos up for a fun trolley ride full of lights and Christmas carols and then return to the visitor center to warm up, see Santa (and get a gift), enjoy the entertainment, admire the model trains, and grab a cup of hot cocoa. (photo from www.http://ceraonline.org)
Location: Connecticut Trolley Museum, 58 North Road, East Windsor, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: Adults $10, Youth (2-12) $6, Under age 2 $3, Seniors (age 62+) $8
Date(s) & Time(s): Nov 25 – Dec 18 open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5pm – 9pm; Dec 22-23 from 5pm – 9pm; Dec 26 – 30 from 6pm – 9pm (Santa won’t be there after the 23rd)
Discounts: Some local papers have coupons that offer a discount for entry.
Some libraries also have passes that would allow for half off admission.
- Get the kids in their pjs, load up in the car, pack some hot chocolate and head out for a 2 mile drive of holiday light viewing at Holiday Light Fantasia at Goodwin Park in downtown Hartford. Apparently this event is back up in operation this year after a few years of inactivity. According to the Hartford Courant there are over a million lights illuminating the park which includes 35 holiday themed scenes and 200 individual displays. The lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Chanukah, Kwanza, New Years and Three Kings Day. This sounds like a wonderful way for many families to enjoy the holiday season. After we check it out in person (which I am hoping is soon), either Shawna or I will be reporting back with more details. (photo from http://www.thisisct.net)
Location: Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: $10 per car (up to 10 passengers), $40 per mini bus (up to 30 passengers), and $90 per full size tour bus (31 passengers or more)
Date(s) & Time(s): Sunday – Thursday 6:00pm to 9:00pm; Friday – Saturday 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Discounts: $2 off coupons available at some local businesses (e.g. Crazy Bruce’s in West Hartford)
- Wickham Park in Manchester is hosting their 30th Annual Santa’s Workshop December 10th and 11th and then December 15th through the 23rd. This FREE event gives children and opportunity to meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves. It is advertised as an “opportunity for children to experience and uncommercialized Christmas experience.” Sounds great to me! They do invite guests to bring non-perishable food items with them to the event to be donated to local food pantries. (photo from http://www.wickhampark.org/)
Location: 1329 West Middle Turnpike, Manchester, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: FREE
Date(s) & Time(s): December 10, 11, and 15-23; 3:00 pm to 6:00pm on weekdays and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on weekends
- As many of our readers know, when we have days where we just need to get out of the house, one place we like to go with the kids is Stew Leonard’s in Newington, Connecticut (see Shawna’s post on it here). Well this place is always doing fun holiday events and this season will be no different. Check out the list of how Stew Leonard’s celebrates the holidays with their Twelve Days of Stew’s. From family movie nights, to carolers, to gingerbread house decorating, to latkes and dreidel cookies, this list has it all. Registration is required for some classes, so if you are interested, then call Stew Leonard’s customer service desk at 914.375.4700.
Location: Stew Leonard’s, 3475 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, Connecticut
Ticket Prices: Varies by program. Prices range from $0 – $25.
Date(s) & Time(s): This also varies by activity. Events run from now through December 22nd.
Wow. So many fun things to do in our area!
Shawna and I will be checking out several of these events and reporting back with more details in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, get your reservations made, your tickets purchased, your trips planned and let the holiday festivities begin!
Check back on Thursday as Shawna checks out a great local library with more fun holiday activities.