Weekend brings bounty of holiday events

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra

Tis the weekend before the weekend of Christmas. Next week this time you'll be thinking of spending time with the family. Or perhaps just looking for a quiet corner somewhere for a few minutes of peace.

But this weekend it's time to celebrate. Here are a few ideas. There's even a thought or two about next week when you are looking for things to do with the extended family.

*How about some comfort and joy? Members of the Smoky Mountain Storytellers are offering "Stories of Comfort and Joy" 7-9 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Riverside Theatre in Rockford. Admission is $5. Riverside is on 3769 Old Knoxville Highway between Knoxville and Maryville.

Celebrate with crafts and art at the Knoxville Museum of Art's Family Fun Day 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 17. The holiday-themed day is free at the 1050 World's Fair Park Drive museum and includes art-making activities, demonstrations by artists and entertainment. Among the crafts will be activities inspired by the museum's ongoing art exhibits. Families can also create miniature holiday wreaths.

So you got this movie on DVD. You still need to see it the way it was made to be seen, on the big screen. The Tennessee Theatre, 604 S. Gay St., shows the 1947 black-and-white classic "Miracle on 34th Street" at 8 p.m. Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Dec. 18. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children or senior citizens and at the theater box office, 865-684-1200 or http://www.tennesseetheatre.com.

Take a pillow to watch the 20th year of "Modern Dance, Primitive Light." The performances are 7 and 9 p.m. Dec. 16 or Dec. 17 at the Laurel Theater. The local modern dance troupe Circle Modern Dance presents the annual holiday program at the 1538 Laurel Ave. theater. The dancers perform across the floor of the small theater. There are some risers set up for the audience but many people prefer to bring a pillow and sit on the floor. Tickets at the door are $15 general admission, $10 for members of the military, students or senior citizens.

Most people don't instantly associate Christmas with caves. But the Historic Cherokee Caverns, 8524 Oak Ridge Highway in Knoxville, is ready for the holidays. The caverns are open 5-8 p.m. Dec. 16-17 and 5-8 p.m. Dec. 20-23. The caves are decorated with lights and holiday decorations. Santa will be around for photos. Admission is $5 per person for ages 7 and older. Proceeds go to the caverns' maintenance and preservation.

Swing the holidays in with some jazz. The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra presents " A Swingin' Christmas" 8 p.m. Dec. 20. The concert at the Tennessee Theatre includes Christmas favorites in the styles of Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and others. Admission is $32.50 for adults, $15 for students. For tickets see www.knoxjazz.org or www.knoxvilletickets.com.

More music. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's popular annual holiday musical celebration is this weekend. The Clayton Holiday Concerts at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, 3 p.m. Dec. 18. The concert is a joyous collection of holiday songs. Adult tickets are $13 to $44, plus service charges. Children's tickets are half the adult prices. Tickets are at 865-656-4444 and www.knoxvilletickets.com.

Too many Christmas cookies? Walk off those calories and enjoy the search for some birds in East Tennessee. Ijams Nature Center hosts a walkabout 2 p.m. Dec. 23. The walk will be along part of the Will Skelton Greenway; participants should meet at Ijams, 2915 Island Home Ave. Naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales will led the stroll in search of hermit thrushes, wrens, sapsuckers and other birds. The walk is free for Ijams members; $5 for nonmembers. Register by calling 865-577-4717, extension 110.

Christmases past are the focus of the annual "Christmas in Old Appalachia" at the Museum of Appalachia near Norris. The museum with its historic cabins and other buildings is decorated in pioneer style through Christmas Eve. That means cedar trees draped in decorations like paper chains or strings of popcorn. The museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily in December except Christmas Day. It's located off Interstate 75's Exit 122. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, $10 for ages 13 to 18, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, free for youngsters younger than 6.

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