It’s the holiday season! Chilly winter wind – and in some cases, snow – is nipping at our noses and holiday cheer is waiting to be had. Some of you early adopters may already have decorations up. Others may take a more minimal approach. Whatever your style for the holidays may be, this last weekend in November offers a wonderful opportunity to gather with friends, family and community. There are holiday events galore and of course, lots of the usual Lawrence spirit. This is one of the last final weekends of 2019, so whether you’re visiting your favorite gallery or buying a new, hand-crafted trinket, take the time to savor every moment.
Now I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but in Lawrence, turning on the holiday lights downtown is a pretty big deal. In fact, it’s such a special event that even Santa Claus himself takes a break from preparing for his big night and comes to Massachusetts Street to watch. He’s a little over-eager, though, and ends up needing a little help getting down from the roof of Weaver’s department store. But don’t worry, the Lawrence Fire Department is to the rescue! Joining the community on Massachusetts Street for live music, entertainment and the Santa Rescue and Downtown Holiday Lighting is truly a special evening that you don’t want to miss. This is a particularly fun event for families with little ones – they are sure to remember this night for years to come. Fun begins at 5:30 p.m. and Santa arrives around 6:30 p.m.
If you are in the market for some holiday gifts (or maybe just want to treat yourself), then you do not want to miss the Bizarre Bazaar at the Lawrence Arts Center. The Bazaar has free admission and offers food, live entertainment, and a list of hand-crafted goods that is seriously lengthy: it includes soaps, ceramics, candles, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography and more.
Of course, Friday holds all the usual fun and games of First Fridays. The Percolatoris hosting the “We Are All We Have Tonight” portfolio collection for the first time as a solo exhibition. Phoenix Gallery has lots of goods for sale, and Brian Horsch will be debuting his collection of wood-fired ceramics, Ceramics: Art from Ashes. The Lawrence Community Photo Studiois hosting a grand opening at their new downtown location with snacks, music and art.
If you didn’t have time to stop by the Bizarre Bazaar at theLawrence Arts Center on Friday night, you can peruse from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. While you’re there, catch a few of the exhibitions that are closing in December. Stephen Johnson’s exhibit 9th Street Rhythms is part of the East Ninth Street Project. Johnson was inspired by former East Lawrence resident-turned-famous poet, Langston Hughes. 100% of the proceeds of sales go to the Lawrence Arts Center Financial Aid fund, which allows East Lawrence residents in need to take creative classes for free. There is also the Bitforms Gallery showcase, as well as the Not In Kansas Anymore exhibition, which showcases artists who lived in Lawrence at one time.
If you’re a festive Jayhawk fan, then you will definitely want to plan on being at Allen Fieldhouse sometime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. You will be able to get a holiday photo taken with James Naismith court as the backdrop. This is a great way to experience Allen Fieldhouse when it’s a little bit quieter than on game days, and you get a fun, memorable photo as well! The experience costs $15 per person and you will receive a digital copy of the photo. Little ones under the age of two are free.
One more thing that you won’t want to miss: Adornment, Van Go’s annual art show and sale. The organization hires 30 youth to learn techniques and create works of art that will then be for sale at this annual event. It starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. If you’ve got concert tickets at one of the many unique venues downtown, or dinner reservations at a local spot, never fear! Adornment will be open again at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. This event is free to the public, and prices for hand-crafted pieces start at just $3.
This Final Weekend is all about getting into the spirit of things and celebrating, whether that’s a holiday, a gathering of friends, or finding a great piece of art.
Kate is a recent KU graduate and perpetual lover of words, details, and Jayhawk basketball. She is using her English degree to write both creatively and strategically. You can find more of her work on her blog, A Story By Me.