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Holiday Roundup

Eugene Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker. Courtesy Eugene Ballet Company.

The holidays always manage to be the busiest time of year, just when our circadian rhythms are trying to get us to slow down a bit. Yet Eugene’s version of “busy” will likely still allow for the enjoyment of a few cultural and seasonal events this year. There are myriad options to fill the seven weeks from now until the New Year — more than we can write about here, so consider this a sampler and nibble away. 

Those looking to mix goodwill with good health for time or money’s sake (or both) can find themselves at two of the season’s major run/walks — EWEB’s annual Run to Stay Warm on Sunday, Nov. 18, will feature 5k, 10k and half marathon options as well as a 400-meter dash for the young’uns with proceeds benefiting EWEB’s customer care program that helps struggling households pay their utility bills. 

No plans for Thanksgiving yet? Make them for the Whiteaker Thanksgiving Dinner — it’s back this year at the Community Head Start Center at 21 N. Grand Ave., with some community sharing and support of side dishes to go along with the free feast. That’s the holiday spirit.

If you’re instead craving some well-rehearsed performance art, thou shalt not go hungry in this town! Many may already know that November is the month of Grrlz Rock, a month-long festival with numerous events featuring female musicians that rock. One premier event of the 7th-annual Grrlz Rock will be held 6 pm Saturday, Nov. 17, at WOW Hall. This would be a good one if you’ve been meaning to make it out, considering it will feature talents of a wide range of styles with the likes of Rose Bent and Izzi & Margo, from folk and heavy metal to hip hop and soul played by women of all ages, pre-teen and on. 

The Hult Center will again play host to its expected but always impressive lineup of holiday spectaculars, from  Cirque de Noel Dec. 16, with holiday songs played by a live orchestra accompanied by acrobats and aerialists, to the time-honored classic  The Nutcracker as performed by the Eugene Ballet Company on Dec. 21 & 22 — or, if you’re in a funkier holiday mood, The Nutcracker Remixed will update and re-tell the traditional story with modern music and 200 youth dancers at shows on Dec. 14 & 15. 

The Shedd will also provide exceptional options for seasonal cheer with its Dec. 6-13 run of Let it Snow! with vocal performances of old favorites by musicians of the Emerald City Jazz Kings or the Nov. 30- Dec. 16 run of the ’20s-era Hollywood comedy Singin’ in the Rain, either of which should be good enough to cheer up any surly humbuggers left by mid-December. 

For some fun with the whole family, consider Creation Day! in lieu of the Black Friday consumption-fest where people will be able to make and wrap crafty gifts with re-used and sustainable materials at the local non-profit MECCA downtown on Friday, Nov. 23 — and no, they will not be open at midnight; the event starts, reasonably, at noon. Not very crafty? Saturday Market’s Holiday Market will run every weekend up until Christmas, starting Nov. 17, at the Lane County Fairgrounds featuring what surely must be one of the finest selections of unique crafts by local talents in the country. While we’re on it, Veneta will have its Holiday Bazaar the weekend of Nov. 17 at various locations near Fern Ridge with lots of goodies to choose from, including tasty local eats and drinks (look for Wineries without Walls tastings).  

But wait, there’s more all ages family fun to be had. Dec. 28 at 6pm the Eugene Community Orchestra will perform selections from The Nutcracker ballet for everyone to dance along to (preferably in costume, tutus highly encouraged) at Cozmic for the Nutcracker Dance-Along. And all through December the Science Factory will host weekend showings of Seasonal Stargazing: Winter that introduces audiences to the winter night sky, including constellations and their related myths. For the “oldest and coldest Christmas Parade in Oregon” hop the EmX over to downtown Springfield on Dec. 3 for the Springfield Christmas Parade, directly followed by a free concert at the Wildish Theater by a local tuba troupe. 

If you’ve attended even half of these events by mid-December, you’ll likely be either maxed out on holiday cheer or well into a second or third wind; in either case, you’ll thank yourself for making it out to boogey down on New Year’s Eve —  and what better way to spend it than singing along with friends to old Pink Floyd songs for New Years Eve with the Floydian Slips at the McDonald Theatre? 

During breathers between events, perhaps even above all, make the season as meaningful as you want it to be by taking time to reflect on what’s most important to you — then of course return to the madness and post the events we couldn’t fit here on our Facebook page so that everyone who’s inclined can join in on the hustlin’ and bustlin’ fun. — Shelley Deadmond