As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it can be easy not to want to leave the house. But a wide array of holiday festivities in the Appleton area provide opportunities to get together with friends and neighbors and enjoy the season.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many events have protocols in place to help mitigate the spread, including by encouraging or requiring guests to wear masks.
Here are some of the biggest vacation events in the Fox Cities:
Fox Cities Festival of Lights: Friday to Sunday, Nov. 26 to Dec. 26, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.,
Darboy Community Park, N9334 Noe Road, Appleton
The Fox Cities Festival of Lights is a friendly, family-friendly light display.
Times depend on weather, so if a cancellation needs to be made, check out the “Fox Cities Festival of Lights” on Facebook.
Most of the exhibits are in the wooded area on the trails, so boots are suggested. Animals are not allowed in the park. Parking is available at Sunrise Primary School with disabled parking in the parking lot near the park shelter.
Small Business Saturday: Saturday November 27, all day, downtown Appleton
Holiday shoppers will have the chance to save and win prizes when they visit Appleton businesses. According to Downtown Appleton, Inc., shoppers who download and print a first Shop Appleton passport can have it stamped at participating businesses in downtown Appleton during Small Business Saturday. After five stamps, buyers will be able to hand in their passport for a chance to win prizes.
Christmas at the pond: Sunday, Nov. 28, 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m., Memorial Park, 218 E. Kimberly Avenue, Kimberly
Kimberly Annual Christmas at the pond returns on November 28 for its 18th year.
The lighting ceremony will begin at 5:45 p.m. with a magical routine from Monty and Danny Dane from Monty’s Secret Theater, followed by Christmas carols from the Kimberly High School Chamber Choir at 6 p.m. Next, Santa will make an appearance on the Fire Department’s Kimberly Christmas Fire Truck, providing photo opportunities and time to visit with the kids. Other community organizations will offer games, music, treats during the event.
On a positive note Chorus holiday concert: Thursday, December 2, 1 p.m., Grand Meridian, 2621 N. Oneida St., Appleton
Sponsored by the Fox Valley Memory Project, this concert includes On a positive note, a choir of people with dementia and their care partners. The show will take place in the banquet hall of the Grand Meridian and is free to the public. Masks are mandatory for all participants.
Gather around the Christmas trees: Thursday December 2, 6-8 p.m., Menasha city center
Menasha’s Gather Round the Christmas Trees community tree lighting and decorating event will take place at Curtis Reed Plaza / Main Street.
The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. with performances by local school orchestras and choirs, with tree lighting at 7:15 p.m. The event will include sleigh rides, live reindeer, hot chocolate free, apple cider and popcorn, and more.
Christmas stars 2021: Thursday, December 2 to Sunday, December 12, Xavier High School, 1600 W. Prospect Ave., Appleton
It’s a vacation-themed Broadway-style extravaganza with singers, dancers, and actors of all ages. The shows take place Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.
Tickets are available on www.christmasstars.org or by calling 920-733-8840.
A very Neenah Christmas: Friday December 3, 6-8 p.m., downtown Neenah
A Very Neenah Christmas features Santa Claus, live reindeer, live mannequin display cases, a bell choir, ice skating, an ice sculpture garden, arts and crafts, marshmallow roasting, a tree lighting, the Rudolph race and more.
Registration for the Rudolph Run costs $ 6 and includes glowing antlers that participants can wear when running or walking on Wisconsin Avenue.
More information on activities and places can be found in line.
Appleton Boychoir Christmas Songs and Carols: Saturday, December 4, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 325 E. Franklin St., Appleton
The Appleton Boychoir, featuring the Copper Street Brass and guest organist Katherine Handford, kicks off the Christmas season with traditional Christmas carols and poignant new backdrops from Christmas history.
More information and tickets are available at www.appletonboychoir.com.
Christmas by the river: Sleigh until the holidays: Saturday, December 4, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., RiverHeath Community, 161 South Riverheath Way # 2000, Appleton
The RiverHeath community, made up of the RiverHeath apartment complex and surrounding businesses, are having a holiday celebration.
During Christmas Down by the River: Sleigh into the Holidays, guests will have the chance to take free horse-drawn carriage rides (with a suggested donation of $ 2, going to a local organization), participate in a cookie ride where they can enjoy free treats at businesses along the river, take photos with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and participate in special sales and offers at participating businesses, according to event details on Facebook.
Makaroff Youth Ballet’s “Nutcracker”: Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, 400 W College Ave, Appleton
Presented by the Makaroff Youth Ballet, along with the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and the Fox Valley Symphony, “The Nutcracker” will be on stage on Saturday December 4 at 7:30 pm and Sunday December 5 at 1 pm.
“The Nutcracker” tells the story of Clara and her nutcracker doll, a gift from her godfather, which comes to life on Christmas Eve. The ballet, with a score by Tchaikovsky, has become famous and is part of the holiday tradition all over the world.
In addition to dancers from the Makaroff Youth Ballet, this production of the famous ballet features live music from the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Lawrence Community Girl Choir.
Tickets can be purchased online at the PAC website. The PAC requires that all guests wear masks.
32nd Annual Electric City Christmas Parade: Tuesday December 7, 6 p.m., Kaukauna
Presented by the City of Kaukauna Recreation Department, this year’s theme is “A Superhero Christmas!” ”
The parade begins at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Depot Street. The parade will take place on Wisconsin Avenue, turn right on State 55, then right on Third Street, ending at Reaume Avenue.
A sensory area will begin at the intersection of State 55 and Third Street until the end of the parade route. Participants sensitive to the loud sounds of the parade at full volume can go to this section of the course.
Santa Claus will board a Kaukauna fire truck during the parade and will then be available in the community hall of the SPaR building, 207 Reaume Avenue. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
For more information visit cityofkaukauna.com/recreation/parade-de-noel.
Victorian Christmas in Hearthstone: Select Dates, Hearthstone Historic House Museum, 625 W. Prospect Ave., Appleton
Hearthstone Historic House Museum invites guests to step back in time and discover a home adorned with ornate Victorian-era Christmas decorations.
The museum offers two tours: Victorian Christmas: Holly and Ivy, which will take place in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays from November 27 to December 18, as well as Thursdays December 23 and 30; and Victorian Christmas Traditions: How the Victorians Created the Holidays as Celebrated Today, which takes place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on certain Fridays and Saturdays in December.
For both events, tickets are $ 15 for each adult and $ 5 for each child accompanied by an adult and can be purchased online at the museum website.
The museum strongly encourages all guests to wear masks on each visit.
Holiday hay ride: Friday December 10, 5-8 p.m., 640 Keyes St., Menasha
The Menasha Parks and Recreation Department organizes a Holiday Cart Ride, offering guests the opportunity to relax on a cart ride while admiring the Menasha decorations.
Tickets are $ 2 per person, with no charge for children 2 and under, and are available until December 9 at the Menasha Parks and Recreation Department, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holiday gifts and craft show: Saturday, December 11, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fox Cities Exhibition Center, 355 W. Lawrence St., Appleton
For those looking to shop for handmade gifts and support small businesses this holiday season, the Fox Cities Exhibition Center will be filled with vendors for the Holiday gifts and craft show.
Tickets are $ 5 and entry for children 12 and under with an adult is free. Tickets are available online on Eventbrite or at the door.
Holiday art market: Saturday, December 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Appleton Beer Factory, 603 W. College Ave., Appleton
Organized by Appleton Beer Factory and Artful Endeavors, the Holiday art market will offer a chance to support local artists and people 21 and over to drink someday.
Contact Kelli Arseneau at (920) 213-3721 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ArseneauKelli.