Chills and thrills ShiverFest fundraiser draws racers to Lackawanna River

Chills and thrills ShiverFest fundraiser draws racers to Lackawanna River

Hit the water, but don’t forget your wetsuit.
Canoers and kayakers once again can take to the Lackawanna River for a chilly ride through Scranton as part of the annual ShiverFest, which raises money for Lackawanna River Conservation Association. The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 19, with the Extreme Kayak/Canoe Race starting at noon and an after-party following from 2 to 5 p.m. at Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton.

AT LACKAWANNA RIVER CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION’S SHIVERFEST EXTREME KAYAK/CANOE RACE ON THE LACKAWANNA RIVER. EMMA BLACK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER


The race will kick off at the Parker Street Landing (off East Parker Street in Green Ridge) and end at Sweeney’s Beach just off Green Street in the Pine Brook neighborhood.
LRCA Executive Director Bernard McGurl called the race “a lot of fun to watch.”
“We get about 50 participants on the water, so you’re going to see 50 boats getting paddled down the Lackawanna River in the middle of winter,” he added. “And it’s right through the heart of Scranton, so there’s plenty of room to see it on any of the flood control levees. … There’s lots of places to see it.”

Al Nudelman of Dickson City


As for those on the water, they seem to enjoy the opportunity to “get out and meet up with some friends and do some crazy wintertime kayaking,” McGurl said, noting that some participants in the past have dressed in costume. Racers must be 18 or older and provide their own watercraft and gear. Race participants can register the day of ShiverFest, but McGurl encourages them to do so in advance.
“We strongly recommend that they have a wetsuit or a drysuit (on), because the water temperature is down in the 30s, and it will get hypothermic if they get in the water,” McGurl said.
Organizers will have a campfire going at the finish line to kickstart the thawing, and then the fun continues at Backyard Ale House, where guests can warm up and enjoy food, drinks, basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing and camaraderie.
The race costs $30 per racer and includes admission to the thaw party. Spectators can view the race for free, but admission to the party for non-racers will cost $20.
“We’re hoping to raise a few hundred dollars at the thaw party,” McGurl said.
Proceeds from ShiverFest benefit LRCA, which recently moved its offices to a former church and rectory in North Scranton, which McGurl said “need lots of modernization and repairs and upgrades.” That includes electrical work and some recent plumping fixes.
“We just did a Giving Tuesday project for our … program, but (this fundraiser) is going into the general fund, and we really need it because we don’t have a lot of grants at the present time,” McGurl said.
The organization also is working on some bigger cleanup projects along the river, is encouraging local municipalities to unite to create a municipal stormwater authority and is “actively engaged in acquiring some new parcels of land, and that will help further development of the (Lackawanna River) Heritage Trail and our partners,” McGurl said — all projects that could benefit from ShiverFest.

Drink up – Winter in the City cocktail parties to benefit Scranton projects

Drink up – Winter in the City cocktail parties to benefit Scranton projects


By Grace Perechinsky

It’s that time of year for the “new year, new me” resolutions, and the 15th annual Winter in the City cocktail fundraiser can help everyone start off right by giving back to their community.
“The evening is a feel-good event that provides the opportunity for people to get out of the house after the holidays and shake off their cabin fever,” said Joshua Mast, co-owner of POSH at the Scranton Club and event chairman.
POSH, 404 N. Washington Ave., will host the charitable events Fridays, Jan. 18 and Feb. 8, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Admission costs $20, and all proceeds will go to Scranton Tomorrow’s small-business promotional initiatives, such as a new maintenance program to be established downtown in the spring, new banners and replacement planters.
Complementary beer and wine is provided, and a cash bar also will be available. Attendees can get a taste of 20-plus Scranton restaurants with menus ranging from pizza, pasta and salads to wings, desserts and much more.


“We have such a variety of vendors in hopes that our guests will feel inclined to visit them on their own free time,” Mast said.
Paul LaBelle and the Exact Change, a nine-piece ensemble, will provide the entertainment for January’s party. In a silent auction, guests can win gift cards from local businesses, baskets, artwork and more.
February’s Winter in the City, meanwhile, will tie into a Valentine’s Day theme. Group du Jour will get the evening going with an upbeat musical performance.
“The entire setting will be centered around Valentine’s decor,” Mast said.
Scranton Tomorrow has other projects in its sights that could benefit from the fundraisers, including a pocket park at Wyoming Avenue and Linden Street set to be completed by 2020 and a new event, Electric City Cycling, that will be held Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25. The latter event will include a community-friendly ride for all forms of bicycling on the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and a twilight ride.


With POSH’s location in the city, just a block from Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, Mast noted, people who attend the party also can wander around the downtown and see what Scranton is all about.
“We have regulars and new attendees that trickle in every year to support,” he said. “It’s important to engage the community and bring everyone together to grow as one.”



Fab 5 – January 17, 2019

Fab 5 – January 17, 2019

1. ‘Knox Mine Disaster’
On the 60th anniversary of the Knox Mine Disaster, Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for Creative Arts, 260 N. Sprague Avenue, Kingston, will host the premiere screening of a documentary about the deadly 1959 incident.
The program will take place Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30. The event will include a live performance by Lex Romane and a discussion with the filmmakers. Twelve men died in the disaster after the Susquehanna River broke through the surface of a mine in Port Griffith, flooding the caverns below. The cave-in resulted in a whirlpool, which rescuers tried to plug with more than 50 train cars. Tickets for the screening of “Knox Mine Disaster” cost $15, and seating is limited, so tickets must be purchased in advance. For tickets, visit knoxminedisaster.com or call 570-270-2190.

2. ‘Balancing Act’
Listen to the music of Baljinder Sekhon and hear from the man himself Saturday, Jan. 19, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, 35 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Chamber Music Society program “Balancing Act” will begin with a pre-concert lecture by Sekhon at 7 p.m. with the music following at 8.
The program will feature Sekhon’s pieces “Balancing Act” for saxophone and guitar, “Sonata of Puzzles” for saxophone and piano and “Three Little Lights” for violin and piano as well as Aaron Copland’s “Sonata for violin and piano.” The performers will include Duo Montagnard, a pair that has performed across the world and consists of Joseph Murphy on saxophone and Matthew Slotkin on guitar. John Michael Vaida also will perform on violin with Eun-Joo Kwak on piano.
Tickets cost $20 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. For tickets or more information, visit nepacms.org or call 570-763-9323.

3. John Mulaney and Pete Davidson
Comedians John Mulaney and Pete Davidson will perform twice this weekend at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre.
Shows will take place Sunday, Jan. 20, at 7 and 10 p.m. Tickets cost $48, plus fees, and are available at the box office, 570-826-1100 and kirbycenter.org.
Mulaney has written for “Saturday Night Live,” has released several comedy albums and has won three Emmy awards. He most recently voiced Peter Porker/Spider-Ham in the film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
Davidson currently s tars on “Saturday Night Live,” which he joined in 2014, and also has appeared on numerous television shows.
The use of cellphones, smart watches, cameras and recording devices is not allowed during the show, and guests must secure all devices in Yondr pouches upon arriving. The pouches then will be unlocked when the show ends.

4. Disney’s ‘Newsies’
Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple’s Youth Theatre Program will stage Disney’s “Newsies” this weekend.
The production, featuring performers from grades four through 12, will take place Friday, Jan. 18, and Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 20, at 2 p.m. in the cultural center’s Shopland Hall, 420 N. Washington Ave. The show is directed by Camille Reinecke with music direction by Joey James and choreography by Jackilyn Yamialkowski.
Based on the 1992 film of the same name, the show takes place in New York City at the turn of the 20th century and tells the tale of newsboys rallying against unfair conditions.
Tickets cost $5, and general admission seating is first-come, first-served. For tickets, visit the box office or ticketmaster.com or call 570-344-1111.

5. ‘An Evening with Micah Holt’
Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic presents its second chamber concert of the season, “An Evening with Micah Holt,” on Thursday, Jan. 17.
The 7 p.m. concert will take place at First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, 300 School St., and features principal trumpet player Holt performing several masterworks.
Tickets cost $35 and are available at nepaphil.org. For more information,
call 570-270-4444.

‘Napoleon Dynamite’ cast to reunite at screening at Kirby Center

‘Napoleon Dynamite’ cast to reunite at screening at Kirby Center

If you find yourself at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Jan. 12, all of your wildest dreams will come true.
At 7 p.m. that night, the downtown Wilkes-Barre venue will welcome the leads from cult classic film “Napoleon Dynamite” for a special screening and question-and-answer session.
Jon Heder, who played the title character in the 2004 indie hit, will be joined live in conversation with supporting cast members Jon Gries, who played his Uncle Rico in the film, and Efren Ramirez, who was unforgettable as new student Pedro Sánchez, who becomes Napoleon’s best friend and (spoiler alert) successfully runs for class president thanks to some sweet dance moves.
Before the trio of actors hits the stage, Weekend Times spoke with Ramirez by phone from his hometown of Los Angeles (where we caught him in the middle of “eating Frosted Mini-Wheats,” he admitted) and got answers to a few questions about how being part of “Napoleon” changed the course of his career.
Q: Tell me about how this role changed your life.
A:
You study and you train and you do the work as an actor. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In high school, I would do a lot of plays, and in college, I studied theater. For a number of years, I did TV shows and commercials. When I did “Napoleon Dynamite,” everything changed. You play such a unique character. When you do a movie, you have no idea the results. You read a script and you go, “This is really cool,” and you do it. It just so happened to fit. You go out and see all these “Vote for Pedro” T-shirts, and then you see bobbleheads and action figures. You would never think that would actually happen. Some of the perks are sometimes I go into places for free, but the other thing is I do get mobbed.

Q: What do you wish fans knew about the movie and what your character meant to you?
A:
Two things, the first: sometimes people forget that the movie was made by students at (Brigham Young University). They were film students, and it was their very first film. It was shot at the very moment when movies went from film to digital, and it was hard for them. When they marketed it, nobody wanted to produce it. When I read it, I said, “What is it? Who is this Pedro guy?” But they took a chance and raised half a million dollars altogether. I remember them telling me their struggles just to make that happen. When I came onboard, I wasn’t so sure myself. I was working on a Fox show called “Boston Public” and a Disney show, “Even Stevens,” where I played a bully. When I got “Napoleon Dynamite,” I was making choices as Pedro, because you start to create a character and you hope it works. We hoped to have a great time telling the story. First time I met Jon Heder was in wardrobe, and he was dressed up as Napoleon and he said, “Are you Pedro?” (in the character’s voice). We just knew that we loved what we were doing. We enjoyed it, no matter how low the budget was. It was difficult, but we made it happen. Once you put it together and it got in several film festivals and from there was bought up (by major studios), and we had no idea (that would happen), but what I can say is, we all took a risk in something we love to do and trusted that what we were creating, that something was going to occur out of that.

Q: Do you have any regrets about how “Vote for Pedro” T-shirts or some of your most quotable lines have become huge pieces of pop culture?
A:
No, there are no regrets. I met actors who have played (iconic) roles, and all I could tell you is, I’m grateful. Because of “Napoleon Dynamite,” I bought my parents a house, I got my own house, I get to live a life where I can choose different projects to work on, I get to play different characters. I was able to travel around the world. It’s an interesting life, living as an actor. I used to DJ at raves to pay for studying acting and writing. I did it to survive, because it was a way I could use my voice. I was very shy, very quiet, when I was younger. I was the nerd. I’m still a nerd. But now because of involvement in “Napoleon Dynamite,” I’m able to use my voice and really select how I can go and change with different characters. One thing that I know is that you never want to play the villain in a movie, because then when people see you, they kind of hate you. (Laughs) But Pedro is somebody that a lot of people loved because he’s somebody you would never think would want to become (class) president. Every character in “Napoleon Dynamite” is so relatable because they come from a small town where nothing much happens, and they’re really trying to figure life out.

Q: You’ll be appearing with Jon Gries and Jon Heder. Have you all maintained relationships since the movie?
A:
Working as an actor, when you start working on production, you immediately become family. “Napoleon Dynamite” was very unique because it was extremely low-budget, and you get to know who everyone really is. I still talk to everyone. Jon Gries is a director, and his father was a director, and because of him I learned a lot about working as an actor and writer and how directors really tell a story with movies. I would do Comic-Cons with Jon (Heder) as well, and people went bananas to see us as Napoleon and Pedro together. We’re all living different lives, but reach out to each other. We’re constantly surprised and constantly grateful.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

If you go
What:
“Napoleon Dynamite”: A Conversation with Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries
When: Saturday, Jan. 12, 7 p.m.; doors open at 5:30
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Details: Tickets cost $25, $35 and $55 for general admission and $99 for VIP meet-and-greet, plus fees, available through the box office, online at kirbycenter.org and by calling 570-826-1100.

Pennsylvania Farm Show  celebrates 103rd year

Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates 103rd year

A winter tradition that brings together Pennsylvanians for a week of food, entertainment, contests and more returns this week.
The annual Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates its 103rd year as it showcases the best the state has to offer in agriculture, livestock and other categories. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you want to join the fun.

Andy Matsko / Staff Photographer An alpaca listens to the opening ceremony of the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg, Pa., on Saturday, January 6, 2018.

Where to go
The show takes place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg. The complex includes three arenas and 11 buildings.

When to go
The farm show food court will be open Friday, Jan. 4, from noon to 9 p.m., and parking will be free that day. The full show then will be open Saturday, Jan. 5, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 7, through Friday, Jan. 11, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Organizers advise that the best time to go is between 8 a.m. and noon and that the show is busiest from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

What it costs
Admission is free, but those parking on the two nearby lots can expect to pay $15. Visitors can park at the lot at Elmerton Avenue and Sycamore Drive or at Harrisburg Arena Community College on Wildwood Park Drive. A free shuttle runs between the lots and the complex entrances. Another free shuttle service will run between the complex and downtown Harrisburg weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What to see
Visitors can get up close to some of the nearly 6,000 animals who will make the trek to the farm show, where their owners and handlers will show of their features and abilities as part of the numerous contests going on throughout the week. Guests also can check out the 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits.

JACQUELINE DORMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Matthew Suchodolski, 2, of Coatesville, enjoys a milkshake as his father Myron Suchodolski lends a hand in the Exposition Hall at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show at the state Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg on Tuesday morning, January 9, 2018.

What to eat
Find a wide range of Pennsylvania-made and -grown products and dishes at the food court in the Expo and Main halls. Groups serving items include the Pennsylvania Bee Keepers Association (honey ice cream, bottles of honey, beehive products and more), the Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers Inc. (baked potatoes, French fries, potato donuts and more) and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association (milkshakes, milk, ice cream sundaes, toasted cheese sandwiches and more).

What to experience
Judges will spend the week honoring the Pennsylvania’s best in categories such as wine, baked goods, poultry, cheese and more. Visitors also can view various demonstrations, from Agricultural Education to sheep-herding to honey extraction; learn more at educational programs; and check out the wares of numerous vendors.
Other events include magic shows, story time, rodeos, celebrity chef programs, horse pulling and much more. Check farmshow.pa.gov for the full schedule of events and programs.
And as always, the annual farm show butter sculpture will be sure to draw a crowd.


For more information
Visit farmshow.pa.gov or call 717-787-2905 for details, and head to the farm show’s Flickr album to view photos from past editions.

Fab 5 – January 3, 2019

Fab 5 – January 3, 2019

1. ‘The Moment She Snapped’
A photography exhibit by Maureen Holmes Arduino will hold its opening reception Saturday, Jan. 5, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wonderstone Gallery LLC, 100 N. Blakely St., Dunmore.
The exhibit, “The Moment She Snapped,” opens Thursday, Jan. 3, and will remain on display through January. The free reception will include light refreshments.
Arduino earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Marywood College and photographs a range of subjects. She believes the arts and mental health are connected and hopes to end the stigma about mental health.
For more information, visit themomentshesnapped.com or the Facebook event page or call 570-344-2360.

2. Cross-country skiing lessons
Learn to cross-country ski with the Rail-Trail Council of NEPA, 948 N. Main St., Union Dale.
The group will hold two skiing clinics this winter, starting with an introduction to cross-country skiing on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 1 p.m., in which participants will learn the basics of Nordic skiing with a PSIA certified cross-country ski Instructor and get comfortable on skis. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m., they will head onto the trail to practice what they learned.
The lessons will take place on the D&H Rail-Trail in Union Dale and are dependent on the weather.
Registration is free but required. Equipment rental costs $15 and can be arranged by calling 570-679-9300 or emailing trails@nep.net.

3. Underground Microphone
Settle in for a night of live performances at Underground Microphone on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Set in the Raymond Hood Room in the lower level of Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., the event can include performances of music, comedy, improv, poetry and more.
Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7. Admission is free, and guests 21 and older can enjoy a cash bar.
Artists interested in participating can email marias@sccmt.org or call 570-346-7369, ext. 102.
For more information, visit scrantonculturalcenter.org or the Facebook event page or call 570-344-1111.

People look at the display during opening day of the Hudson Model Railroad Club open house season at the club headquarters in Hudson. KRISTEN MULLEN / THE CITIZENS’ VOICE

4. Railroad club open house
The Hudson Model Railroad Club will hold its annual Winter Open Houses several times this season, including a steam engine day on Sunday, Jan. 6, from noon to 5 p.m.
Located on the second floor of 97 Martin St., Plains Twp., the club will hold raffles and have railroad-related items for sale. Admission and parking are free
A nonprofit organization, the more than 30-member club was founded in 1980 and runs a 2,000-square-foot freelanced HO layout.
For details, visit hudsonmodelrailroadclub.org or the Facebook event page.

Dave Brown of the Dishonest Fiddlers, performs during the inaugural NEPA Green Fair & 5K for Clean Air on Saturday, May 5th at the Blakely Recreation Complex in Peckville. Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer

5. The Dishonest Fiddlers
The Dishonest Fiddlers will perform Friday, Jan. 4, at 10 p.m. at River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 S. River St., Plains Twp. Doors open at 8.
The Northeast Pennsylvania-based Americana and roots band features Dave Brown on guitar, vocals and harmonica; David Hampton on lead guitar; Jami Novak on percussion; and Dennis Walrath on upright bass.
Admission to the 21-and-older show costs $10, and tickets will be available at the door.
Visit riverstreetjazzcafe.com or call 570-822-2992 for more information.

Fab 5 – December 27, 2018

Fab 5 – December 27, 2018

1. First Day Hike
Enjoy an easy two-and-a-half mile First Day Hike at Nescopeck State Park, 1137 Honey Hole Road, Drums, on Tuesday, Jan. 1.
The group will meet in the park’s front parking lot by the bulletin board. The hike will start at 1 p.m.
Guests should dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear, as the trail could be icy or covered with snow in some parts. The trail also is not stroller-friendly. Pets are not permitted on this hike. The hike is free, but registration is required and can be done online at events.dcnr.pa.gov. For more information, call 570-403-2006.

Neoexpressionist artist Hunt Slonem led guests on a guided tour of his exhibition Thursday at Everhart Museum in Scranton, during an artist reception. The exhibit will be on display through Monday, Dec. 31 in the museum’s Maslow Galleries during regular hours. Slonem will be at the museum Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m to sign copies of his book, “Gatekeeper: World of Folly,” a 300-page walk-through of his colorful transformation of the interior of the former Col. Louis Watres Armory in Scranton. Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer

2. Everhart exhibits
Catch two exhibits at the Everhart Museum, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton, while you still can.
“American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times” and works by neo-expressionist artist Hunt Slonem will be on display through Monday, Dec. 31.
On the first floor, guests will find a collection of 77 images from several sources that span the entire period of Kennedy’s life in politics, from his congressional bid in 1946 to the day of his death in 1963.
The second floor features works by Slonem, who is best known for his paintings of animal subjects.
Also on the second floor, visitors can view the Everhart’s permanent collection, which includes pieces that span several time periods and cultures.
The museum is open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will close in January for maintenance.
Admission costs $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $3 for children 6 to 12. Active service members with ID and children 5 and younger get in free.
For more details, visit everhart-museum.org or call 570-346-7186.

3. A Proud Monkey
Dave Matthews Band tribute act A Proud Monkey will perform Friday, Dec. 28, at 10 p.m. at River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 N. River St., Plains Twp. Doors for the 21-and-older show open at 8 p.m.
The group features Dustin Switzer on vocals and guitar; Jon Ventre on bass; Chad Szeliga and Matt Kester on drums; Carl Krupa on woodwinds; Mark Woodyatt and Michaelina Trapane on violins; and Neil Nicastro, Aaron Fink and Jon Nova on guitar.
Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online at riverstreetjazzcafe.com. For more information, call 570-822-2992.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Comedian Carlos Mencia will perform at Cove Haven Resort, Lakeville, Jan. 24. Tickets are $55. For more details, call 877-800-5380 or visit covepoconoresorts.com.

4. Carlos Mencia
Comedian Carlos Mencia will take the stage at Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub at Mount Airy Casino Resort, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, on Saturday, Dec. 29, at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7.
Fans will recognize Mencia from his stint hosting the show “Mind of Mencia” on Comedy Central. At his live show, he will deliver the commentary on current events and culture that he is known for.
Tickets for the 21-and-older event cost $45 and $60 and can be bought online at mountairycasino.com.
For more information, call 877-682-4791.

5. Harlem Globetrotters
The Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their Fan Powered World Tour to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp. Catch the show Saturday, Dec. 29, at 2 and 7 p.m.
There will be over 20 opportunities for fans to directly interact with members of the team. Guests also can look forward to the exclusive features of the event’s new mobile app, which includes an augmented reality basketball toss game and image filters that can be shared on social media.
During the show’s breaks, the Flying Globies, a trampoline dunk team, will entertain fans with its acrobatic stunts.
Tickets start at $18 and can be bought at the box office, ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.

10 Things: Free winter boredom busters

10 Things: Free winter boredom busters

The holidays bring plenty of time to reconnect and celebrate with family, but after a couple of days of lazing about, you may find yourself faced with a new question: What to do now?
Our occasional feature, “10 Things,” highlights some of the region’s best offerings and provides helpful tidbits. Today, we feature 10 local activities that are both fun and free to enjoy while you wait to ring in the new year.

Holiday lights
Nay Aug Park, 1900 Mulberry St., Scranton, lights up every year with displays of lighted characters and holiday scenes. Cruise through the display from the warmth of your car and explore this annual tradition, lit from 5 to 9 p.m.
Another popular spot to see holiday lights is at the Peckville Christmas House at 1130 Marion St., where visitors will find an elaborately decorated property full of lights that celebrate the holiday spirit. One new activity this year is a scavenger hunt in which guests can try to find 11 unique decorations.
The house lights up Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m.

Festival of Trees 
Another holiday exhibit open into the new year is the Festival of Trees, located on the second floor of the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
For the annual event, local businesses, schools, churches and nonprofits donate and decorate a holiday tree, with proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots.
The Festival of Trees will be on display through Sunday, Jan. 13. For more information, call 570-963-6590.

Be Daring Open Mic
Step out of your comfort zone and show off your talents at the Be Daring Open Mic at Adezzo, 515 Center St., Scranton.
Even if guests don’t want to perform, they can enjoy a change of scenery, sip their favorite cafe beverages and support local talent.
Open mics take place on the last Wednesday of every month, with the next one set for Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 7 p.m. There are 10 available spots to perform that are first come, first serve. Sign-up begins at 6:30 p.m.

‘The Nutcracker’
Ballet Theatre of Scranton presents “The Nutcracker” in partnership with Marywood University as a free gift to the community every year.
The ballet will take place Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 28, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. in Marywood’s Sette LaVerghetta Center for the Performing Arts, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton.
Tickets will be available at the box office two hours prior to each performance.
For more information, call 570-347-2867 or visit balletscranton.org.

Indoor Farmer’s Market
Find locally sourced fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, wine, baked goods and more at the South Side Farmers’ Market, 509 Cedar Ave., Scranton.
Created by the United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the market is open throughout the year on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, call 570-346-6203 or visit the market’s Facebook page.

Local history
There’s lots of local history and heritage in Northeast Pennsylvania to pique your curiosity.
Waverly Community House, 1115 North Abington Road, designed “Destination Freedom,” a self-guided walking tour, to allow guests to visit and learn about local sites that were a part of the Underground Railroad.
You can walk the tour from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Maps are available in the Abington Visitor’s Center at the Comm’s main offices Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guests also can arrange to pick up maps outside those hours by calling 570-586-8191, ext. 7.

Locomotive Shop Tour
Learn all about what goes into repairing and maintaining steam locomotives at Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St., Scranton.
A 45-minute walking tour of the Locomotive Shop of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad will depart from the site’s visitor center every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day. You can join a park ranger or volunteer at either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. to learn all about this integral part of local history.
Registration and reservations aren’t required; however, schedules are subject to change for safety inside the shop. Guests are advised of potential heat and noise they may encounter during the tour.
For more information, visit nps.gov/stea or call 570-340-5200.

Seven Tubs Nature Area
At Seven Tubs Nature Area, visitors can trek on the 1.8-mile loop trail that takes them past the numerous natural wonders on display — a series of waterfalls along Wheelbarrow Run that formed as water flowed over potholes (aka tubs) in the bedrock. Situated on 500 acres accessible at 900 Bear Creek Blvd., Plains Twp., the moderate trail also is open to dogs, so grab your furry friend for and fill your lungs with the fresh, cold winter air.
Visit delawareandlehigh.org for more information.

Second High School Art Show and Celebration of the Arts
View some of the region’s top student artwork at Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s latest exhibit the second High School Art Show and Celebration of the Arts.
Open through Jan. 21 in Friedman Art Gallery, the exhibit features the work of students from Lake Lehman, Tunkhannock Area and Wyoming Valley West high schools; the Creative and Performing Arts Academy from Wilkes-Barre Area School District; Sue Hand’s Imagery and Social Fabric Collective. Art teachers picked more than 50 of their best student pieces for the show.
The gallery is located in Nesbitt Academic Commons, Conyngham Lane, Dallas, and is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 570-675-9159 or email FriedmanArtGallery@psu.edu.

Lego Winter Reading Program
Children can grow in their reading skills while also winning prizes in West Pittston Library’s Lego Winter Reading Program.
Once registered, children will receive a Lego mini figure reading log and Lego bookmark. They can color one mini figure for every 20 minutes they read through Feb. 24 and then turn in their completed logs for a chance to win a Lego building book. The top reader will win a copy of “The Lego Ninjago Movie.”
The Lego Club meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 200 Exeter Ave. Children who cannot attend can post a picture of their Lego creation and the book they are reading in the library’s Lego Winter Reading Facebook group so their entries are recorded.
For more information, call 570-654-9847 or visit wplibrary.org.

Fab 5 – December 20, 2018

Fab 5 – December 20, 2018

1.A Magical Cirque Christmas’
Get ready to see magic tricks, circus acts and live musical talent singing your favorite Christmas carols at a special holiday-themed show.
“A Magical Cirque Christmas” will take the stage at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6. Performers will present several Christmas classics. This show will be full of comedy, stunts and tricks to entertain audiences of all ages.
General admission tickets cost $38, $48 and $58, or guests can opt for VIP tickets for $125 that will give them a seat on stage as well as a meet-and-greet with a cast member after the show. For tickets, visit the box office or ticketmaster.com or call 570-826-1100.

2. ‘Newsies’
The Marywood Players and the Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA will co-present the music “Newsies” at the Ritz Theatre, 222 Wyoming Ave., Scranton. The show is based on the New York City newsboys strike of 1899 and follows protagonist Jack Kelly and his friends, Davey and Les, as they plan a protest against a greedy publisher. Showtimes are Thursday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 22, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 23, at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $14.50 to $28.50 and can be purchased at showtix4u.com or at the box office, which will open one hour before curtain. Doors will open 30 minutes before the show starts.
For more information, email Sheri Melcher at sheri@capaa.org or call 570-252-4156.

3. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
Catch a holiday classic back on the big screen Friday, Dec. 21, at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre.
Audiences can catch the beloved 1946 holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” about a man, George Bailey, who learns what his town would have looked like had he never existed.
The at 1 p.m. matinee screening costs $3, and doors will open at 11:30 a.m. The 7:30 p.m. show costs $5, with doors opening at 6.
For tickets, visit the box office or ticketmaster.com or call 570-826-1100.

4. Book signing
Lorri Ann DeCandia will sign copies of her first book, “Doves in the Snow,” on Friday, Dec. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Library Express in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
The time is subject to change, so those interested in coming are encouraged to call ahead. “Doves in the Snow” is a 24-page children’s book written for readers on a third- to fourth-grade level.
For more information, call 570-558-1670.

5. Cookie decorating
Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to Scranton Public Market at the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, to decorate cookies with kids. Catch the couple Sunday, Dec. 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for their last stop before Christmas. Every child who attends will receive a cookie from Osborne Specialties to decorate.
This event is free, but guests are asked to register ahead of time by emailing event@themarketplaceatsteamtown.com.
For more information, call 570-343-3400.

Winter Wonderland – Festival of Trees celebrates season with Electric City theme

Winter Wonderland – Festival of Trees celebrates season with Electric City theme

It’s electrifying.
The annual Festival of Trees exhibit kicks off this weekend with an Electric City holiday theme, which can mean an homage to Scranton’s electric roots — home to the first electric trolley — or a celebration of the city, said Maureen McGuigan, Lackawanna County deputy director of arts and culture. People and groups from across the region decorated or created from-scratch Christmas trees for the event, and she expects participants’ imaginations to run wild. 

Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer

“We try to keep the theme specific but broad enough that there’s room for interpretation. That’s one of my favorite parts of this event is seeing everyone’s creativity and how they interpret the theme,” she said. “You can really see the organization or business or group’s personality cone through (in their tree).” 
This year’s exhibit runs from Friday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
Headed by Lackawanna County’s Office of Arts and Culture — which partnered with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce — and the office’s event-planning committee, lots of local organizations, volunteers and more all get together to brainstorm ideas and pull off this annual event, McGuigan said.

Butch Comegys / Staff Photographer


For the second year in a row, the trees will be on display inside the Marketplace at Steamtown. Guests can find them on the second floor near Luzerne County Community College’s entrance. While McGuigan said she loves the festival’s past home, Electric City Trolley Museum, being inside the Marketplace allows for more eyes on participants’ hard work.
“It’s more visible since so many people are coming through the (marketplace) during any day of the week,” she said. “It also just makes it look so nice for holidays and gets you into the spirit.” 
Exhibit admission is free except during the Dec. 14 opening reception, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $20. Scranton DJ duo Saturbae will provide pop music and more hits, mainly from the late ’90s and early 2000s.
“We like the entertainment to fit the theme, and (Saturbae) is fun and really brings the energy,” McGuigan said. “It’s definitely electric.”
Local businesses Peculiar Culinary Co. and Electric City Bakehouse will serve food at the preview. Proceeds from the show and reception benefit the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, which has been its longtime beneficiary.
McGuigan said the Festival of Trees continues to be a favorite downtown holiday event, joined by other seasonal attractions such as Lackawanna Winter Market. It’s a tradition that celebrates residents’ creativity and, especially thanks to this year’s theme, highlights the pride they have in their home.
“We have a great, rich history and a great present, too,” McGuigan said. “There’s so much going on in downtown and all over the region. This is a good time of the year to reflect on that.”

Fab 5 – December 13, 2018

Fab 5 – December 13, 2018

1. Lindsey Stirling
Join violinist and Youtube sensation Lindsey Stirling at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, when she brings her Wanderland Tour there Monday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m.
Stirling’s music has earned her several awards since her debut in 2012. Last year, she released her first holiday album, “Warmer in the Winter,” which featured both classic and original songs. The album became the top new Christmas album of 2017 and was the best-performing holiday album on Pandora. This year, Stirling is re-releasing that Christmas album with some new songs.
Doors for the concert will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $49.50 and are available at the box office, kirbycenter.org and 570-826-1100.

LOIS A. GRIMM/For the Citizens’ Voice

2 Toys for Tots open skate
If you’ve ever dreamed of skating on the same ice as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, you’ll have your shot this weekend.
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp., will be opening its doors for a public open skate Thursday, Dec. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. This is the only day of the year that the public is allowed to skate in the arena, and the event will benefit the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. For admission, guests need to bring a new, unwrapped toy or donate $5 to Toys for Tots.
All guests must bring their own skates, as there will be none on-site to rent. Toyota SportsPlex, 38 Coal St., Wilkes-Barre, will rent out a limited number of pairs for $3 on Wednesday, Dec. 12, starting at 4 p.m. . A photo ID and credit card must be presented to rent skates.
For more information, visit mohegansunarenapa.com.

3. Santa on the Trolley
Join Santa for a trolley ride this weekend at Electric City Trolley Museum, 300 Cliff St., Scranton.
Santa will ride the trolley Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, departing at 10 and 11 a.m. and 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.
If you can’t make it this weekend, you can join Santa again on the trolley Saturday, Dec. 22, and Sunday, Dec. 23.
Rides cost $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for children 4 to 17. Children 3 and under ride for free.
Reservations are required, and guests are asked to call ahead to confirm holiday trolley excursion schedules.
For more information or to make a reservation, call 570-963-6590.

4. ‘Home Alone’ 
Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple’s Youth Theatre Program will hold a free showing of “Home Alone” on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m.
The screening will take place in the cultural center, 420 N. Washington Ave. and will have open floor seating as well as some benches and chairs. Guests are welcome to bring blankets to sit on the floor.
Although the event is free, all patrons will require tickets, which are available at the box office, ticketmaster.com and 570-344-1111. Convenience fees may apply.

5. Santa Con
Dress up as your favorite holiday character and unpack your ugly Christmas sweaters for Santa Con on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton.
From 3 p.m. to midnight, the venue will provide live music, and its full-service kitchen will be open.
Always Undecided will take the stage from 3 to 6 p.m. followed by Dance Hall Devils from 6-9 Dave Matthews Band and Tim Reynolds tribute band A Proud Monkey from 9 to midnight.
Entry for the 21-and-older event costs $10. For more information, call 570-343-7100.

Music to his ears – South Abington Twp. boy  starring in Broadway classic

Music to his ears – South Abington Twp. boy starring in Broadway classic

Not everyone can make the leap from a school production to national tour in just a few months, but Ethan Cutillo did just that.
The 11-year-old South Abington Twp. boy made his stage debut in the musical “Rags: An American Musical” at Scranton Preparatory School earlier this year and now finds himself on the road with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.” Presented by Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the show will bring Ethan back home when it stops at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple for four shows from Friday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 9.
Ethan’s work on stage grew from his love of music. He has played piano for six years and loves to sing — including with the children’s choir at the Church of St. Gregory in Clarks Green — but had no formal vocal training. He nabbed his first stage role after learning through his church choir director that Prep was in need of a child actor and singer for its spring musical. 
“I just felt it was so much fun to have the audience clapping and cheering me on, and the music just makes it really good,” Ethan said. “The cast was nice at Scranton Prep, so that was really cool. I … made a lot of friends.”
“He loved it,” recalled Ethan’s mother, Bobbie Cutillo. “And then we had an opportunity to audition in New York City, and we hesitated (at first), but we thought why not? … If nothing else, we’ll go to the city for the day.”
Following what she described as a “two-minute audition,” Ethan earned a callback for the following day. A few days after that second round, Ethan learned he’d been cast as Kurt, one of the von Trapp children, in “The Sound of Music.” Bobbie Cutillo said they were shocked that “a little kid from (the) Scranton, Clarks Summit area” could nab the role, but Ethan is really enjoying it.
The experience started with two weeks of rehearsals in New York City plus a week of technical rehearsals in Oklahoma City.
“It was pretty long, the rehearsals,” Ethan said. “And there (were) long hours, but it was a lot of fun because I got to make friends.”
Bobbie Cutillo said she broke down into tears when the music started to play for Ethan’s first show. There’s something about live theater that makes it great, she said, especially when your own kid is part of it.
“(I am) very proud of him, because he doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he’s certainly gaining it,” she said.
Ethan described his first time on stage with the show as “almost magical.” 
“I really felt good, and it was just great having the audience cheering,” Ethan said. “It was the same feeling as Scranton Prep … but it was even more great. That was really fun, just having a lot of people cheering.”
The show will tour for about seven and a half months, and Ethan’s mom and dad, Dr. Doug Cutillo, will take turns accompanying him on the road.
“It’s very interesting,” Bobbie Cutillo said. “I think it’s very challenging, but he’s really experiencing things that most 10- or 11-year-olds (are not), and he’s keeping up with his school work. “
A fifth-grader at Our Lady of Peace School in Clarks Green, Ethan continues to follow his school’s curriculum on the road and has a tutor, too. Ethan expects some of his school friends as well as family to be in the audience this weekend, when they’ll get to see him sing, among others, his favorite song, “The Lonely Goatherd.”
“There’s a lot of surprises in that that I think the audience is going to have a great time, because Maria’s starting to teach the kids how to sing,” he said, adding that the actress who plays Maria “makes it so laughable.”
He expects audiences to find humor in the song “Do-Re-Mi” and the first scene with the Von Trapp children, when they march onto the stage.
“There’s a lot of surprises in the show I think make it great,” Ethan said.
All that combine with beautiful costumes, a talented cast and an outstanding orchestra to round out the show, he added.
“People can come and see the show because it’s not just for adults,” Ethan said. “It’s like a family show, so if you’re having a bad day, I think they should go to the show because it just makes them feel better. It turns their frown upside down.”

Christkindlmarkts inspire downtown market in eighth year

Christkindlmarkts inspire downtown market in eighth year

By Katelyn Moore

For the eighth year, a holiday market will take place in downtown Scranton where the community can gather, enjoy food and live entertainment, and support local crafters.
The Lackawanna County Commissioners, the county arts and culture department and the Lackawanna County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau have taken the reins for the winter market this year, keeping up the tradition so the market’s usual planner, ScrantonMade, can take the year off. The market will kick off during the First Friday Art Walk on Dec. 7, opening from 5 to 9 p.m. after the Globe store’s holiday lighting. The market also will be open Saturday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year’s event is inspired by medieval European winter markets called Christkindlmarkts, which began as a way for townspeople to stock up on supplies for the winter. Eventually, they became more holiday-themed. Here, more than 60 vendors will sell products ranging from soap and jewelry to food, wine and other treats. Backyard Ale House also will serve food and drinks in a lounge area.
And this year, the market will take place outdoors on Wyoming Avenue rather than inside the former Globe store as it had the past two years, as the county is renovating the building for its offices.
Maureen McGuigan, the county’s deputy director of arts and culture, said that taking the inspiration from medieval markets fit the planners’ vision to create a cozy atmosphere for the community to gather in.
“This is not going to be like a backyard picnic tent,” she said, referring to the heated tent that the majority of the event’s vendors will be in. “It’s going to be like a small building.”
The building next door to the Globe Store, meanwhile, will serve as “Santa’s workshop” and hold a few additional vendors, too. Activities for the entire family will include making Christmas postcards, playing with traditional wooden toys and listening to classic holiday tunes on a record player while lounging in the area’s comfortable seating. Guests also can view a display about the history of the Globe Store and visit a selfie station to take pictures beside the original Globe tree or Santa himself.
Weather permitting, there will be place for guests to make s’mores. Guests also can create their own orange-clove pomanders, originally used during medieval times because of the belief that a pomander’s pleasant aroma could ward off disease.
Free horse-and-carriage rides will be available Friday night, too. Laura Duda from Brookvalley Farm will drive April and Molly — a mother-daughter team of Belgian draft horses who also pull Santa in the Santa Parade — for a 10 minute-long ride. Duda said the carriage rides are very popular and that the horses are “very impressive animals.”
The Arcadia Chorale, Dani-elle Kleha and J.P. Biondo and Friends will provide music Friday. On Saturday, the NativityMiguel School Choir, Jacob Cole and Mark Woodyatt, LittleStarRun, Mariah Hawley and the Justin Padro Jazz Trio will perform. Sunday’s entertainment will come from Jim Cullen and Jack Bordo, the Malloy/Waltich/Smith Christmas Jazz Trio and Patrick McGlynn. Students from the NEPA Philharmonic Mentoring Program will perform both Saturday and Sunday.
Some additional vendors will be located a short walk away at the Creative and Performing Arts Academy of NEPA, 222 Wyoming Ave. In addition to those vendors, there will also be other kids’ activities, movies and a drop-off baby-sitting service for parents.
McGuigan also hopes guests will make a day out of exploring not only what the market has to offer but also the rest of the community.
“We’re seeing the winter market as a part of a larger downtown experience,” she said.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
First Friday events
Scranton Times Pop-up Shop, with designer ornament sale and “Scenes of the Season” exhibit, 149 Penn Ave.
AFA Members’ Exhibition, works by various artists, AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
“Art,” works by Cheryl Korb, with music by Dave Brown,
Adezzo, 515 Center St.
Artwork, with music by Jeff Lewis, Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, 100 Adams Ave.
Dress for Success “Rent the Runway” Pop-Up Shop, with music by DJ Honeyman Lighnin’, Terra Preta Prime, 301 N. Washington Ave.
“Happy Holidays,” with artists, photographers, yogis and more, Yoga West, 311 Adams Ave.
“Just Beachy,” photography by Ali Pica, with live music, the Velvet Elvis, 523 Bogart Court
“A Lavish Holiday,” works by Michael Lloyd, Lavish Body & Home, 600 Linden St.
“Miscellaneous,” works by Brooke Lamberti, with music by Mike Stec, the Giving Tree Wellness Center, 311 Penn Ave.
“Nature’s Poetic Images: A Retrospective Exhibit,” works by Tobi Balin Grossman, Marquis Art & Frame, 515 Center St.
NEPA Candles Holiday Collection, with live music, Opulence on Spruce, 310 Spruce St.
NEPA Design Collective Holiday Pop-Up Shop, printmaking, letterpress, paintings, photography, T-shirts and crafts by NEPA Design Collective members and Marywood University students, the Workshop, 334 Adams Ave.
“Paintings, Collages and Prints,” works by Maria Grzyboski, with DJ Matt Michaylo, POSH at the Scranton Club, 404 N. Washington Ave.
“Positively Negative Photography,” works by Tony Traglia, Peculiar Slurp Shop, 307 Penn Ave.
“Radiant Collusion: A Collaborative Student Showcase,” ArtWorks Gallery & Studio, 503 Lackawanna Ave.

Fab 5 – December 6, 2018

Fab 5 – December 6, 2018

1. ‘City of Unrest’
Learn about the Scranton riot that occurred during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 in an original play presented by Diva Production Company.
“City of Unrest” is the second installment of Diva’s Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance-nominated show, “The Bristol.” The play is based on true historical events that took place in the area. Margo L. and Marnie Azzarelli wrote the piece, which is directed by Paige Balitski.
The show will take place Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Olde Brick Theatre, 126 W. Market St., Scranton. Tickets cost $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors.
For more information, call 570-209-7766.

2. Live Nativity of the Abingtons
The Live Nativity of the Abingtons will be presented again this year, continuing an annual tradition in Clarks Green for more than two decades.
The reenactments will occur Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. at Clarks Green Assembly of God Church, 204 South Abington Road.
This year’s production will include an upgraded sound system, modified special effects, music and its largest cast to date.
Guests can warm up with hot chocolate and a crackling fire after the show at the post-nativity celebration. Live music and snacks will be provided as well.
At the celebration, guests also will have the chance to register for the free Abingtons Christmas Giveaway.
For more information, call 570-586-8286.

3. Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Concert 
Enjoy a night of favorite holiday tunes while helping to support a cause.
University of Scranton’s annual Empty Stocking Fund Benefit concert will take place Sunday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue. It will feature the Scranton Brass Orchestra, the U of S Singers and the Scranton Prep Cavalyrics. The event will include a Christmas carol sing-along, too.
Guests are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy, new toiletry items or a cash donation as admission to the show. All proceeds and donations will benefit local children in need this holiday season.
For more information, call 570-941-7624 or visit scranton.edu.

4. The Whiffenpoofs
The Yale University Whiffenpoofs will perform a holiday concert at the Kirby Center for Creative Arts at Wyoming Seminary, 260 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
Every year, 14 senior students at Yale are selected to participate in the group, one of the world’s best-known a capella ensembles. The group was founded in 1909 when the original senior quartet performed weekly concerts at a Yale tavern. More than a century later, the tradition still continues, with the Whiffenpoofs giving more than 200 performances each year.
Call 570-270-2190 or visit wyomingseminary.org/arts/sempresents for details.

5. Ninth annual Stuff the Bus for Toys for Tots
The ninth annual Stuff the Bus will take place Thursday, Dec. 6, at Lackawanna Transit Center, Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton.
Presented by County of Lackawanna Transit System, ATU Local 168, and Rock 107 (a Times-Shamrock Communication radio station), the program will collect new, unwrapped toys and books as well as cash donations for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. Holly the Trolley will be in front of the transit center from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
They also will collect donations that day from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, Scranton. Rock 107’s Prospector, meanwhile, will ride in the trolley to pick up donations at NET Credit Union, 119 Mulberry St., from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m.; Gerrity’s at Keyser Oak Shopping Center, Keyser Avenue, Scranton, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.; Sylvester Chevrolet, 1609 Main St., Peckville, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; North American Warhorse, 1000 Dunham St., Dunmore, 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.; Matt Burne Honda, 1110 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, 1:30 to 2:15 p.m., before returning to the transit center.

Wonderful Christmastime Ballet classic ‘The Nutcracker’ dances onto region’s stages

Wonderful Christmastime Ballet classic ‘The Nutcracker’ dances onto region’s stages

Cue the Tchaikovsky.
The familiar strains of the Russian composer’s beloved Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker,” will fill auditoriums across Northeast Pennsylvania in the coming weeks thanks to local and international dance companies.
The story follows a girl, Clara, as she receives a nutcracker on Christmas Eve and begins a journey to otherworldly realms where she encounters magical creatures.
So grab your tickets and settle in for an extraordinary trip full of holiday spirit. Weekend Times has rounded up all the ways you can experience the classic production this season.

Linn McDonald School of Dance
Seventy students ranging in age from 3 to 60 will dance in the performance, which stars Sadie Hughes as Clara and Mark Dolph as Drosselmeyer.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m.
Where: Scranton High School, 63 Mike Munchak Way
Tickets: $15, available at the door
Details: Visit the school’s Facebook page.

Moscow Ballet
The “Great Russian Nutcracker’s” Dove of Peace Tour comes to Wilkes-Barre and features hand-painted sets and such elements as nesting dolls, snow maidens and more.
When: Friday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; doors open, 5:30
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square
Tickets: $28, $38, $48 and $68, plus fees; visit the box office or kirbycenter.org or call 570-826-1100
Details: nutcracker.com

Degnan Ballet Center at the Conservatory of Wilkes University
About 60 people star in the production, which consists of Wilkes University students as well as local students enrolled at Wilkes Conservatory’s Degnan Ballet Center. The cast includes Rachel Whitenight as Klara and guest artists Julie Degnan, Ruben Suarez, T.J. Firneno and Connor Cohen.
When: Friday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m.
Where: Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts main stage, Wilkes University, 239 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: Adults, $22; seniors, students and children, $15; call 570-408-4426
Details: wilkes.edu

Scranton Civic Ballet Company
This marks the company’s 32nd annual edition of the classic production. Eighty students and adults ages 8 to 75 will present the ballet, which will feature company dancer Robert Zaloga as Cavalier. Civic also will present its annual free “Eye on Dance” educational performance of the ballet Friday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m.
When: Friday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Tickets: Individual, $18.50; family four pack, $55.50, plus fees, available at the box office or by calling 570-344-1111
Details: 570-346-7369 or scrantoncivicballet.com

Ballet Theatre of Scranton
In partnership with Marywood University, the dance troupe once again will offer several free performances of “The Nutcracker” as a gift to the community. This marks Ballet Theatre’s 43rd year presenting the ballet, which stars Lucy Doherty as Clara. The cast also includes Abby Leoncini, a guest professional alumna.
When: Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 28, 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton
Tickets: Free; available at the box office the day of the show on a first-come, first-served basis two hours before curtain.
Details: 570-347-2867 or balletscranton.org