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Article updated: 12/6/2012 10:22 AM

Weekend picks: Experience 'Holiday Magic' at Brookfield Zoo


It's 'Magic'
See thousands of twinkling lights and holiday scenes during Brookfield Zoo's annual "Holiday Magic" light show. Don't miss the laser shows, musical and dance performances, ice-carving demonstrations, a special 6:30 p.m. dolphin show and more. Activities are included (with the exception of the dolphin show, rides and photo opportunities) with paid $10.50-$15 zoo admission. Parking is $10 per car. Brookfield Zoo is at First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield. (708) 688-8000 or czs.org/events. 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9

Holiday Market
Shop for artisan crafts with everything from tableware, books and jewelry to gourmet oils and vinegars at the Holiday Market at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. Free admission. (630) 206-9566 or dupageforest.com. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Cookies, candy and crafts
Bring your sweet tooth and shop for a variety of cookies including gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkles and more at the Annual Christmas Cookie, Candy & Craft Walk at Community Protestant Church, United Church of Christ, 418 N. Prairie Ave., Mundelein. Guests can also browse though the Jingle Bell Room to purchase gently used jewelry, holiday decorations and home decor items. Free general admission. Visit communityprotestant.org. (847) 566-4000. 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Light up your life
Enjoy Chicago's holiday lights and sights by trolley. Hop on a trolley and you'll be able to visit the Magnificent Mile, State Street and Macy's holiday windows, lights at Lincoln Park Zoo, Daley Plaza's 40-foot tree and the Christkindlmarket. The Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour also visits the John Hancock Plaza tree, Navy Pier's Winter Wonderfest and Buckingham Fountain during the narrated two-hour tour. Passengers have time to hop off at Lincoln Park Zoo and Christkindlmarket. Tour departs from the John Hancock Building at Michigan Avenue and Delaware Street. Tickets cost $26 for adults and $19 for children (3-11) and must be purchased in advance online at chicagotrolley.com. 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Dec. 23 and daily Dec. 26-31

Take the cake
If you're seeking celebrity cake-baking advice for the season, then don't miss the Buddy Valastro Live: The Cake Boss -- Homemade for the Holidays Tour at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $35.75 or $45.75. (847) 782-2366 or geneseetheatre.com. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7

Hunger games
There is no gingerbread house in director Richard Jones' acclaimed and much-traveled take on Humperdinck's classic 1893 opera "Hansel & Gretel." Instead there's lots of surreal hunger-inspired imagery in theLyric Opera of Chicago revival, which plays a nine-performance run through January at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. $34-$239. (312) 332-2244 or lyricopera.org. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7

Elgin's Vex Theatre presents the third, all new installment of its annual "Twist-a-Carol" holiday show at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St., Elgin. Titled "All About Eve" and inspired by the classic Joseph L. Mankiewicz film starring Bette Davis as an aging Broadway diva and Anne Baxter as the upstart who schemes to supplant her, the show centers on Christmas Eve who is in danger of being usurped by New Year's Eve. $10. (847) 991-8081 or vextheatre.org. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Counter programming
Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company counters the holiday fare dominating city and suburban stages this month with a revival of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie," about a family unable to face reality, who take comfort instead in dreams and illusions. Ensemble member Hans Fleischmann directs the production, which features an original score by Daniel Knox, at Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago.$25. (773) 871-0442 or maryarrchie.com. Previews continue at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8; the show opens at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Almost paradise
Air Supply's Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock bring their classic '80s hits to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Tickets cost $39-$79. (630) 962-7000 or oshows.com. 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7

Singing the blues
The Kingsnakes headline an evening of blues at the Harlem Avenue Lounge, 3701 S. Harlem Ave., Berwyn. (708) 484-3610 or harlemavenuelounge.com. $6. 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7

Doggie December
Which breed of dog fits best with your lifestyle? Find out at the Skokie Valley Kennel Club Dog Show, Events and Expo this weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont. $5; $2 kids 12 and younger (no strollers allowed). (847) 692-2222 or skokievalleykc.org. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Lots of Legos
The Northern Illinois Lego Train Club displays a wide variety of Lego creations at the annual Lego Holiday Show at Cantigny Park and First Division Museum, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Free admission with paid $5 parking fee. (630) 668-5161 or cantigny.org. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9

'Arthur Christmas'
See a free screening of the 2011 animated holiday film "Arthur Christmas" (rated PG) at the Cinema 12 Theatre, 100 Besinger Drive, Carpentersville. The film features the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton and others. Visit classiccinemas.com. 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Cold play
Northerly Island is the perfectly named place for a day of outdoor winter activities courtesy of the Chicago Park District's eighth annual Polar Adventure Days. Meet and learn about live animals like wolves and birds of prey; see Siberian huskies from Free Spirit Siberian Rescue and hear dog sled racers talk about their Iditarod race experiences; enjoy live entertainment from the Old Town School of Folk Music; and create nature-inspired crafts. Events take place both outdoors and inside the visitor center at Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago. Free admission. Limited parking available for $3. (312) 742-7529. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Nutcracker of the week
The late choreographer Ruth Page's 1965 take on "The Nutcracker" is back again under the newly renamed Ruth Page Civic Ballet. See it this weekend at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. $32; $20 kids. See ruthpagecivicballet.com or call (847) 622-0300. 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9

A holiday spectacle
The Trans Siberian Orchestra performs its holiday rock opera "The Lost Christmas Eve" this weekend at the Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont. Tickets cost $31-$70. Parking is $20 (cash only). (800) 745-3000. 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Mathis mania
Johnny Mathis fans won't want to miss his holiday concert at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont. Tickets cost $65-$95. (800) 745-3000 or rosemonttheatre.com. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Celtic Woman celebrates the season
Celtic Woman joins with the Frank Caruso Orchestra for "A Christmas Celebration: The Symphony Tour" at Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets cost $80-$95. (630) 637-7469. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

In harmony
While the College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center undergoes a major million-dollar renovation, it presents music acts like The Good Lovelies at other area locales. Catch this Canadian folk and country trio on Saturday at Ramsey Auditorium in Wilson Hall at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Kirk Road and Pine Street, Batavia. $23; $13 students. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

On his own
For years, singer-songwriter Sammy Llanas was a key member of the BoDeans, a roots-rock group that emerged from Waukesha, Wis., in the 1980s. Llanas lent his distinctive, high-pitched twang to the BoDeans' songs, either as background or as the lead singer. Today, Llanas is pursuing a solo career, and he will perform songs from his new album "4 a.m." and from throughout his career during an intimate show at the Montrose Room, located inside the InterContinental Chicago O'Hare hotel, 5300 N. River Road, Rosemont. Tickets start at $12. montroseroom.com. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Brunch of lights
Celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights during the day with the Hanukkah Klezmer Brunch Buffet featuring the band Balkano at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $30 general admission with buffet; $10 music only. (312) 733-9463 or citywinery.com. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Santa at Pinstripes
See Santa and fill your belly all in one stop Sunday at Pinstripes, which has locations in South Barrington, Oak Brook and Northbrook. The buffet includes gourmet waffles, made-to-order omelets, carved prime rib, smoked salmon, bagels, fresh shrimp, flatbreads, a salad bar and a kids corner. Plus, don't miss the full dessert bar with a chocolate fountain, homemade marshmallows, cheesecake, brownies and fresh fruit. $20 per person for adults; $12 for kids 6 to 12. Children 5 and younger eat for free. Reservations recommended. Visit pinstripes.com. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Wines and spice
It's the spiciest wine and food pairing yet -- wine with Indian cuisine. The special Sunday buffet lunch at Urban Tandoor Indian Grill, 3972 Route 22, Long Grove, includes two appetizers, five entrees and two desserts paired with wine. Sommelier Mary Ross, the Daily Herald's Good Wine columnist, will provide commentary on wine and world cuisine. $40 per person. Reservations required. Call (847) 438-6700 or visit urbantandoor.com. Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Aliano's game day
When the Bears take the field, fans can take to Aliano's Ristorante, 90 N. Island Ave., Batavia, for game-day specials that include $2 domestic bottles and $4 select import bottles. Buy a pizza and get a second one for half off. Raffles every quarter include payouts of Bears gear and Aliano's gift certificates. (630) 406-9400 or alianosbatavia.com. Sunday, Dec. 9

Candlelight Open House
Step back in time to the holidays of the 1800s at the Candlelight Open House at the Durant House Museum, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W370 Dean St., St. Charles. Fragrant evergreens, a roaring fire on the hearth and an old-fashioned Christmas tree help re-create the spirit of holidays of long ago. Guests can tour the museum and have some sweet treats. Admission is $3 adults; $1 for children. No reservations required. (630) 377-6424 or ppfv.org. 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

The Fox Valley Philharmonic Orchestra invited the public to join in with its "Do-It-Yourself Messiah" program, featuring Handel's classic 1742 oratorio about the life of Jesus Christ. The program takes place at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 420 W. Downer Place, Aurora. Free, but donations appreciated. Note: Participants can bring their own music or purchase a copy of "Messiah" at the door for $10. (630) 879-5936. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Illinois Brass Band
The Illinois Brass Band presents holiday selections during its "A Christmas Fantasy" concert at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, 2007 Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach. $5-$10. (847) 201-9032 or llinoisbrassband.org. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

The Lira Ensemble
The Lira Ensemble presents a program of Polish carols, songs and dances at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. $35-$55. (847) 673-6300 or northshorecenter.org. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Sing 'Hallelujah'
A truly audience-interactive holiday event is the "Sing-Along Messiah," which also features the forces of operatic soloists with the choirs Voices in Harmony and McHenry County College Choir under the direction of conductor Steven Szalaj. Sing along at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. $15-$18. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Wine pairing
A seasonal wine dinner Sunday at Il Poggiolo, 8 E. First St., Hinsdale, pairs Italian wines from Minu Imports with a five-course meal. Paired wines include Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore, Le Marne Monferrato Rosso, Chianti Classico, Trabuch Langhe Rosso and Valdiserre Moscato D'Asti. Dinner includes a smoked salmon starter, Italian meats and artisan cheeses, braised wild boar ragu, grilled filet mignon and citreous ricotta mousse. $80 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations required. (630) 734-9400 or ilpoggiolohinsdale.com. 6:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Arena rocker
Former "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry will bring his band (simply called "Daughtry") and his angsty brand of arena-ready rock to the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, 5400 N. River Road. Also on the bill are 3 Doors Down and P.O.D. Tickets start at $38. See ticketmaster.com. 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

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