Stuff to do this weekend

ESP tree lighting 2010 Sebastien

Tree lightings, fireworks, holiday strolls and candlelight house tours. It's that time of year.

We're in for a pretty nice looking weekend with perfect weather for Victorian Strolling. There are all sorts of events scheduled -- some holiday themed and others, not so much. After the jump, you'll find a few we thought might be worth checking out.

Got something else in mind? Let us know about it.

And have a fantastic weekend!

First Friday
The December edition of Albany's First Friday is usually pretty festive. There are art and music events and local holiday shopping opportunities all over the city, with lots of shops and galleries open late. A few things that look interesting: Ed Atkeson's Firlefanz Puppets will perform at the Albany Center Gallery, The Spectrum's new window display by A.C. Everson and Patrick Porter and Mark Jones at The Iron Gate Cafe. After parties include the monthly Capital Swing Dance at the Albany Elks Club (25 South Allen), the 60s retro trio Off the Record (complete with beehives) at The University Club and Roxie Tart's burlesque show at Paradiso. 5 pm - free

Victorian Stroll
The Turkey Trot might be Troy's pre-game to the holiday season, but the Victorian Stroll is the official kick-off. For one day, all of the shops in downtown transform into even quainter versions of themselves. There are folks dressed in Victorian costumes and there's entertainment throughout the streets and in venues all over downtown. Sunday at 11 am - free

Model trains
The Great Train Extravaganza at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center will feature more than 240 operating model train layouts. Sunday at 10 am, $5 for adults, children under 12 free

Chocolate expo
The 6th Annual New York State Museum Chocolate Expo & Holiday Gift Market includes more than 40 vendors -- and chocolate dipping fountains. Sunday at 11 am, $3 for adults, children under 12 are free

Empire State Plaza Tree Lighting
The plaza's tree will be lit Sunday evening, and the night will end with a round of fireworks. The festival starts at 1 pm with music, arts and crafts, and visits with Santa. The tree lighting will be at around 5:15, and fireworks are planned for 5:30. free

Saratoga Festival of Trees
The Saratoga Festival of Trees features all kinds of holiday decorations. Friday at 2 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, free

Annual Greens Show
This is the Rensselaer County Historical Society and the Van Rensselaer Garden Club's 55th Annual Greens Show -- a big holiday themed flora display. This year's theme is "My Favorite Things." The Greens Show runs all weekend, through the Victorian Stroll. $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children over 4.

Cohoes Holiday Craft Fair
Cohoes' annual holiday craft fair on Saturday will gather a bunch of local crafters. Bring the kids for breakfast with Santa.10 am - free

Candlelight House Tour
On Friday, Saratoga homes in the Fifth Avenue and Phila Street neighborhood will be open to the public. 5 pm - $40/$50

Downtown Schenectady's Holiday Open House
On Saturday afternoon, downtown Schenectady will be celebrating the season with outdoor performances, kids activities, and open houses at a bunch of downtown businesses. Also: the Holly Jolly Trolley, which be running through downtown. Noon to 5 pm - free

MOPCO: Spontaneous Broadway
Mop and Bucket Co. continues its run at Underground at Proctors tonight with a Spontaneous Broadway show. They'll improvise a complete Broadway musical based on audience suggestions. 8 pm. $14 for adults, $6 for students and seniors


Addams Family
The touring company of the The Addams Family Broadway show continues its six day run at Proctors.Tickets start at $20

Man of La Mancha
The Capital Rep production of the Cervantes tale continues its five-week run this weekend. Tonight at 8. Saturday 3 & 8, Sunday 2 & 7 $40-$70

The Schenectady Light Opera Company is performing Aida, Elton John and Tim Rice's take on the Verdi opera. Friday, Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2. $22-$28

The Royal Family
The Schenectady Civic Playhouse presents The Royal Family, a thinly-veiled look at the Barrymores of Hollywood. Friday and Saturday at 8, Sunday at 2:30, $15

The Nutcracker
It wouldn't be the holiday season without The Nutcracker. This weekend local kids from the Malta Ballet dance the classic with professional principals from the New York City Ballet are on Saturday. 2 pm and 7:30 pm. $9.50-$30.50

Roller derby
The Albany All-Stars will take on Broome County Roller Derby on Saturday night. The Deadbeats will be the musical guest. 7 pm - $10-$12, $4 for children.

A jazzy Peanuts Christmas
Vince Guaraldi is the guy who wrote all those Peanuts Christmas songs that make you feel like dancing like a cartoon character. The Friday, local jazz artists Dave Gleason, Mike Lawrence and Pete Sweeney perform them as The Peanut Gallery Trio at The Massry Center at The College of Saint Rose. The 7 pm show is sold out, but they've added a 9pm performance. $20 for general audience, $10 for students, and free for children under 6.

Albany Symphony
The ASO has its "Magic of Christmas" shows lined up this weekend at the Palace. Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3 pm - $25 and up

Performance art duo Japanther will be unveiling the product of its EMPAC residency with a performance Friday and Saturday night called "The Cake of The 3 Towers." There's an Austrian super villain involved. Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. $18


Friday: MIRK at Washington Ave Armory
It's an album-debut show. Admission includes a copy of the album. With: The City Never Sleeps, Eric Sosa, Wordspit Da Illest, King Dreams. 7 pm - $15

Friday: Justin Townes Earle at Helsinki Hudson
Americana man. 9 pm - $22 ahead / $25 day of

Friday: Jeremy Denk at the Union College Memorial Chapel
Denk will play the music of Beethoven, Brahms and Ligeti. 8 pm - $8-$20

Friday: The Sunny Side of the Street Band with Lucky Jukebox Brigade and Oliva Quillo at Hudson River Coffee House. Celebrating the 1st anniversary of Hudson River Coffee House. 8pm, Free.

Saturday: Sgt Dunbar at the Sanctuary for Independent Media
A benefit for the Sanctuary's Youth Media Sanctuary project. The show will be audio/video recorded and webcast for the "Live From Lock One" concert series. 8 pm - $10 ($5 students)

Saturday: Eilen Jewell at The Linda
"Queen of the Minor Key." 8 pm - $20

Saturday: A Saratoga Christmas with the McKrells at the Spa Little Theater
The McKrells put on their version of a Christmas pageant. 7:30 pm - $15

Sunday: Matthew Carefully at Caffe Lena
He'll be playing music he created for the Brunswick soundtrack. With: Bailiwick. 7 pm, $10 ahead / $12 at the door


Temple of Fancy
A new exhibit at the Albany Institute looks at Pease's Great Variety Store, which was one of the first five-and-dime stores in Albany. Opens Saturday. Museum admission ranges from free to $10.

Katharina Grosse
Katharina Grosse's exhibit, One Floor Up More Highly, has been extended at MASS MoCA through the end of the year, so you can still go see her large scale installations merging painting, sculpture and architecture. All weekend, $5-$15, free for members

Bake some chocolate chip cookies
One of the best things about the holidays? Cookies! Here are two of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes you're likely to find (at least until the year 2040) and some interesting info to go along with them.

Farmers' markets
Farmers' markets are indoors at Troy, Saratoga, Delmar and Schenectady.

Road trips
Get the road tripping out of your system before the real snow starts. Maybe it's time for a holiday shopping trip to Northampton. Or you could spend 12 hours in Ulster County, Bennington, Vermont and Columbia County.

Before the holiday craziness starts in earnest, grab some good friends and hang out over a lazy weekend brunch over brunch or enjoy a great diner breakfast.

Capital Rep advertises on AOA
Proctors is also an AOA advertiser

photo: Sebastien Barre


Hopefully the tree will be lit more promptly this year. They didn't light it until over a half an hour past schedule last year, because there were people on stage droning on and on, thanking people or talking about lord knows what. Unless you were standing right in front of them, you couldn't hear them anyway. It was cold out, and people were getting restless, and started to chant and complain.

In other news, I'm super psyched for the Mirk show tonight. Whee!

Hamagrael Craft Fair, Hamagrael Elementary, 1 McGuffey Lane, Delmar. Free admission. Join us and browse the unique offerings from our 95 crafters. Lunch is available for purchase from Crazy Herbs BBQ and Cajun Catering.

This weekend is also the Christmas at Main Street in Stockbridge MA.

Sinterklass Festival, all day in Rhinebeck on Saturday.

Stop by the Delmar Farmers Market on Saturday morning for great food, great music and wonderful gifts for the season. Every Saturday 9-1 Bethlehem Middle School (inside now). Thanks and see you at the market.

Hudson's Winter Walk is tonight (Saturday) 5-8 pm. Warren Street will be closed and all the stores and galleries will be open. There is usually performance art in the windows, Santa rides in on the top of a fire truck's ladder (!), they bring real reindeer, and there's lots of music everywhere. And I'm doing fire spinning and accordion.

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