Toss out those pumpkins and put up those lights – the holiday season is upon us. Parades, parties and entertainment are filling November weekend calendars. Here are a few of our picks:
Love a parade. Downtown Racine kicks things off with the 2011 Holiday Parade and Community Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, Nov. 12. Bring the family to Monument Square at 4 p.m. for storytelling and caroling. “A Storybook Holiday” parade, featuring costumed characters, marching bands, lighted floats and Santa Claus(!) steps off from Main and State streets at 5:30 p.m. Following the parade, everyone is invited to Monument Square for more caroling and the lighting of more than 15,000 sparkling lights in a 30-foot evergreen.
More than just dolls. The American Girl Fashion Show is Saturday and Sunday at the Racine Marriott Hotel, 7111 Washington Ave. The annual event, which benefits the Cops n’ Kids Reading Center, showcases historical and contemporary fashions for girls and the popular American Girl dolls. Shows are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days. Tickets are $25 and include refreshments, party favors, raffle and door prizes. Call 262-260-1733 or visit www.cops-n-kids.org
Dancing for a cause. Racine’s Civic Centre is the site of two charity events on Saturday. At Festival Hall, “Dancing With Our Stars” runs from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. This event features local dancers who have been practicing for weeks. They’ll be judged by local celebrities, including Mayor John Dickert, Tracy Nielsen of United Way, Mike Kobylka of RAMAC and Dan Reisdorf of Mileager’s. Jeff McKeown, last year’s Dancing With Our Stars winner, returns as the evening’s emcee. Tickets are $60. The event benefits Margaret Ann’s Place, a program that assists grieving children. Visit www.margaretannsplace.org
Honoring the vets. At Memorial Hall, starting at 6 p.m., is the Gratitude Gala, a World War II-era variety show and buffet dinner. Proceeds will go to Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, a nonprofit group that organizes one-day flights for World War II veterans to visit their memorial in Washington D.C. Tickets, at $35 for World War II veterans and $75 for other guests, are available at the Civic Centre box office and at the door.
Go swingin’. “Swingin’ With the Penguins” is the theme of the Penguin Players Fall 2011 Show this weekend at the Eagles Club, 319 Hamilton St. This song, dance and comedy revue includes a cast of more than 40 local singers and dancers. You’ll hear a lively mix of pop and show tunes with a big dose of laughs. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $9 and available at the door.