Thanksgiving is here – and Christmas is next! It’s a busy, busy time crammed with shopping, family gatherings and entertainment. Oh, and light displays. Gas up the family car and take a look this week.
Lights at the zoo. A long-time local favorite, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights, returns to the Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St. The bright, colorful animals, toy soldiers, Christmas trees, a train and more are easily viewed from the street. Although the lighted giant waterfall is missing this year, the Kiwanis lights are always well worth the trip. The Kiwanis Holiday Lights Foundation hopes to raise $17,000 to restore the waterfall and keep the rest of the lights burning for years to come. Commemorative ornaments at $10 apiece are available throughout the community and donations can be made at any Johnson Bank location.
Yup, a million lights. The Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights opens Friday, Nov. 25 and promises to be bigger and better than ever. This spectacular Christmas light display, containing more than 1 million lights, is at the Jellystone Park Campground, 8425 Highway 38 in Caledonia. This year's magical adventure includes Santa's workshop, Rudolph leading Santa's huge sleigh and a huge gingerbread house covered with sparkling candy. All light displays are viewed from the comfort of your vehicle. The light show is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Christmas Day. Prices are $15 per carload and $20 for limos, small buses and large vans. Call 262-835-2565 or visit www.wichristmascarnival.com
A fanciful mansion. The Racine Masonic Center, 1012 S. Main St., is once again dressed to the nines for Holidays in the Mansion. Every weekend, Friday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Dec. 11, the former Henry Durand mansion is transformed into holiday fantasy land, with this year’s theme “An Enchanted Christmas.” Visitors can tour eight themed rooms amid decorations galore, including themed Christmas tree. There are also vendors and crafters, holiday treats and a stocking gift raffle. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids age 12 and younger. Kids age 2 and younger are admitted free. The mansion also offers a special breakfast with Santa Nov. 27 and Dec. 11. For details, call 262-672-2332 or visit www.racinemasoniccenter.org
Start Thanksgiving with a run! The Thanksgiving Day 5k starts at 8 a.m. Thursday at North Beach, 100 Kewaunee St. The cost to participate in this timed run is $13 per person or $45 for a family of four or larger. Participants are asked to bring canned food items to be donated to Harvest Outreach Food Bank. To register, visit www.imathlete.com and search for Racine Thanksgiving Day 5k.
Lighting West Racine's Tree. Everyone is invited to the Santa chalet at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Boulevard in West Racine at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The Sweet Adelines Christmas Carolers will be on hand to get you in the spirit.
Safe travels, everybody! Real Racine wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend.