GREENSBORO ‘Tis that time of the year for holiday plays and parades, singing and skating.

This season brings many of the Triad’s traditional arts and entertainment offerings and a few new ones.

Triad Stage will present “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” for the first time.

N.C. A&T will introduce a new holiday musical revue, “The Soul of Christmas.”

And Greensboro Ballet will bring back its popular “Muttcracker,” with a few canines making cameo appearances in one of the traditional “Nutcracker” performances.

Here is a sampling of our favorite holiday treats in theater, concerts, dance, art exhibitions and more.

And be sure to check the accompanying calendar.

Downtown activities

Downtown Greensboro will welcome the holiday season on Dec. 6 with the 31st annual Festival of Lights.

From 6 to 9 p.m., enjoy carolers and acoustic performances along Elm Street. Santa will greet visitors in Hamburger Square.

Gather in Center City Park, Friendly Avenue and North Elm Street for the community sing and tree-lighting.

Warm your hands at the warming stations and get a holiday photo in the social photo booth.

Food vendors and restaurants will sell plenty of treats throughout downtown. For those with holiday shopping to do, many downtown merchants will be open late.

Return to downtown Dec. 7 for kid-friendly Christmas at the Carolina.

Doors of the Carolina Theatre at 310 S. Greene St. will open at 9 a.m. for the free event. Sing holiday carols with the historic pipe organ starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by the movie, “The Muppet Christmas Carol.”

Take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Snack on a free soft drink and popcorn. There’s even a chance to win a new bike.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Go to carolinatheatre.com for more details.

Stick around downtown for the Holiday Parade at noon, happening rain or shine.

It starts at West Lindsay and North Greene streets. Look for the large Macy’s-style balloons, floats, bands, dance and drill teams and, of course, Santa.

Downtown Greensboro Inc. manages both the Festival of Lights and the Holiday Parade. Go to downtownindecember.org for more details.

Piedmont Winterfest

The ice rink and ice slide have returned to downtown LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St. in downtown Greensboro, for more than two months of skating and sliding.

Skating times generally run from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. School holidays offer extended hours.

It is closed on most Tuesdays for curling matches.

Skate for free from 4 to 5 p.m. Mondays, thanks to Greensboro Downtown Parks and Greensboro Ice Show.

Prices include rental of skates and slide saucers. They are $6 for ages 5 and younger, $10 for ages 6 to 12 and $12 for ages 13 and older. There are discounts for groups of 15 or more.

Winterfest runs through Jan. 26. Go to piedmontwinterfest.com for more information.

‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Muttcracker’

Local ballet companies join others around the country as they present the traditional tale of Clara Silberhaus and the nutcracker that comes to life, accompanied by Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s famous score.

Greensboro Ballet, High Point Ballet, Dance Center of Greensboro, The Studio and the UNC School of the Arts are among those performing the holiday classic.

One Greensboro Ballet performance offers a special treat. “Muttcracker” on Dec. 20 will feature a few dogs making cameo appearances.

Interim Artistic Director Jessica Fry McAlister “is creating all new choreography, some new roles, some new costuming and more,” said Jennifer Savage Gentry, interim executive director of Greensboro Ballet. “Plus, she has some fun things she is doing with the dogs in our ‘Muttcracker’ this year.”

UNCSA’s production will showcase acclaimed principals from the New York City Ballet — Sara Mearns and Peter Walker — as guest dancers.

Mearns will become the Sugar Plum Fairy and Walker the Cavalier Prince for two performances only: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19.

  • Greensboro Ballet performances:

3 p.m. Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22, Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. $40, $30 and $20; $5 discount for children, students, seniors and military with ID. $10 for babies (up to 23 months) on laps. Available at the theater box office, 336-333-2605 or

  • . Bring food items to donate to Greensboro Urban Ministry on Dec. 14, Out of the Garden Project on Dec. 15, A Simple Gesture on Dec. 21 and Backpack Beginnings on Dec. 22.
  • ”Muttcracker”:

7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Carolina Theatre. $40, $30 and $20; $5 discount for children, students, seniors and military with ID. $10 for babies (up to 23 months) on laps. Available at the theater box office, 336-333-2605 or

  • . Bring dry pet food to donate to SPCA of the Triad.
  • Greensboro Ballet’s Tea With Clara:

1:45 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15, Renaissance Room, Carolina Theatre. $22 plus tax at the theater box office, 336-333-2605 or

  • .
  • ”Nutcracker ... The Remix!”

presents a fun twist on this holiday classic, with several different dance styles. The one-hour performance appeals to younger audiences. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Van Dyke Performance Space, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St. $6.81, plus handling fees, at

  • . Children ages 3 and under free, but must sit with an adult if seating is near capacity.
  • High Point Ballet performances:

7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 20 and 21; 2 p.m. Dec. 22, High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. $25 to $35, available at the theater box, 336-887-3001 or

  • .
  • High Point Ballet’s Land of the Sweets performances:

11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 21, High Point Theatre. $20 to $25, available at the theater box, 336-887-3001 or

  • .
  • Dance Center of Greensboro performances:

7 p.m. Dec. 7, 2 p.m. Dec. 8, High Point Theatre. $17, available at the theater box, 336-887-3001 or

  • .
  • UNCSA performances: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, 18-20; noon and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14; 2 p.m. Dec. 15, 22; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem.
  • Tickets: From $24, available at
  • or 336-721-1945.

‘Black Nativity,’ ‘The Soul of Christmas’

N.C. A&T’s theater arts program will present “The Soul of Christmas,” a new holiday musical revue created by Gregory J. Horton.

The high-energy production is a finger-snapping, toe-tapping, hand-clapping holiday musical for the entire family.

For years, A&T had presented “Black Nativity.” This year, only the Barn Dinner Theatre will perform Langston Hughes’ high-energy gospel musical that chronicles the birth of Christ.

The Barn Dinner Theatre also will present “A Carolina Christmas,” a family-friendly comedy filled with carols. It will run from Dec. 7 to 13, between runs of “Black Nativity.”

‘The Soul of Christmas’

Presented by N.C. A&T’s theater arts program

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5-6, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8.

Where: Paul Robeson Theatre, N.C. A&T campus, 1601 E. Market St.

Tickets: $17 adults, $11 seniors and non-A&T students, $6 ages 2 and under, free for A&T students with Aggie One card. Available at www.ncataggies.com or 336-334-7749.

‘Black Nativity’

When: Through Dec. 3 and Dec. 14 to 22.

Where: Barn Dinner Theatre, 120 Stage Coach Trail

Tickets: $51 and $56 adults, $25.50 and $28 children under 12, available at 336-292-2211 or barndinner.com.

‘A Carolina Christmas’

When: Dec. 7 to 13

Where: Barn Dinner Theatre, 120 Stage Coach Trail

Tickets: $51 and $56 adults, $25.50 and $28 children under 12, available at 336-292-2211 or barndinner.com.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’

Triad Stage, the region’s largest nonprofit professional theater will produce “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” in Greensboro for the first time, in addition to the seventh annual production of “A Christmas Carol” in Winston-Salem.

In Joe Landry’s adaptation of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a 1940s live radio broadcast re-imagines the classic story of George Bailey, a man ready to throw it all away before a stranger comes to show him how important he is.

The 1946 film version was produced and directed by Frank Capra and starred James Stewart. It is one of the most beloved films in American cinema, and has become traditional viewing during the holiday season.

For the Hanesbrands Theatre in Winston-Salem, Producing Artistic Director Preston Lane has adapted Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

High Point Community Theatre will present the musical version of “A Christmas Carol.”

‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’

When: Dec. 1-22.

Where: Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro.

Tickets: Start at $15 at the Triad Stage box office, 336-272-0160 or triadstage.org.

‘A Christmas Carol’

When: Nov. 29-Dec. 24.

Where: Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem

Tickets: Start at $15 at the Triad Stage box office in Greensboro, 336-272-0160 or triadstage.org.

‘A Christmas Carol

— The Musical’

Presented by High Point Community Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 2 p.m. Dec. 15

Where: High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point

Tickets: $18-$20, available at the theater box, 336-887-3001 or highpointtheatre.com.

Winter Show

See 500 handmade works from more than 100 N.C. artists at the 40th annual Winter Show at GreenHill gallery from Dec. 8 to Jan. 17.

Selected artists will display paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, fabric and fiber works.

Attend the Dec. 7 Collector’s Choice fundraising party to mingle with the artists over food and wine and purchase their work. Or attend the show’s free public opening on Dec. 8.

  • Collector’s Choice fund
    • raising party:
    7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 7, GreenHill gallery, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St. $80 members, $95 non-members, available at www.greenhillnc.org/collectors-choice
    • or 336-333-7460.
    • Winter Show: Dec. 8 through Jan. 17. Public opening from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 8. Free.

    ‘Running of the Balls’

    Runners and walkers in holiday apparel gather each year in Sunset Hills for the “Running of the Balls,” to run or walk the colorful course through the Greensboro neighborhood. It’s named for the balls of light strung up in the trees.

    About 3,500 people typically sign up for the event, which raises money for Second Harvest Food Bank.

    This year, the “Running of the Balls” prompted Reader’s Digest to name Sunset Hills the Nicest Place in North Carolina.

    When: 6 p.m. Dec. 14. Music, vendors and fun begin about 30 minutes before the race.

    Where: Sunset Hills neighborhood, between West Friendly Avenue and West Market Street.

    Registration: $40 at www.therunningoftheballs.com.

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Contact Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane

at 336-373-5204 and follow

@dawndkaneNR on Twitter.

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