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City sidewalks and glorious noises

Holiday events spread the cheer inside and out

Relieve holiday stress by enjoying celebrations planned by many of the great cultural organizations of our region. Take time out to enjoy family, love, and togetherness at any of these upcoming events.

1. Kick off the Sunday shoes

Before hitting the buffet spread at Aunt Edna’s, hit the pavement at one of these upcoming races, most of which benefit local charities and encourage holiday-themed costumes.

East Avenue Grocery Run

Saturday, November 2
Third Presbyterian Church
4 Meigs St., Rochester

5K Run and Walk 8:15 a.m.
One Mile Run and Walk 9:15 a.m.
Children’s Fun Runs 9:30 a.m.
Registration opens at 7:15 a.m.

While so many of us associate the holidays with good eats, this race supports those who are hungry with 100 percent of proceeds donated to local food pantries. Don’t forget to wear your best grocery-themed costume for the contest and bring a nonperishable food item to donate. The East Avenue Grocery Run is sponsored by the Third Presbyterian Church, Wegmans, and Foodlink.

Webster Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 28
Webster Park, Holt Rd., Webster

4.4–mile run starts at 10 a.m.
2.5–mile run starts at 10:10 a.m. 

Forty-two years ago, Webster English teacher Jim May started this event as a practice run for his cross-country team. Today, the Webster Turkey Trot is organized by YellowJacket Racing and draws more than 5,000 participants annually. Holiday-themed costumes are encouraged, as is participation in the food drive to benefit Hope House.

Race with Grace 10K

Thursday November 28
First Bible Baptist Church
990 Manitou Rd., Hilton

Race starts at 9 a.m.

If you call the westside your home, you are probably familiar with this annual Thanksgiving Day event, which awards cash prizes, gift certificates, and/or trophies to the fastest feet by age group and combined family times. Proceeds from this event will benefit CURE Childhood Cancer in Rochester.

Reindeer Run 5K and half-mile kids’ races

Saturday, December 21
The Strong Museum
One Manhattan Sq., Rochester
8:30 a.m.

The fastest feet aren’t the only ones who will win big at this event, where prizes are also awarded to the first male and female to cross the finish line wearing reindeer antlers. Don’t forget to dress as your favorite toy or doll for the costume contest. The race benefits the Strong Museum.

It’s a Wonderful Run 5K

Saturday, December 14
Seneca Falls

Proceeds benefit the Seneca County House of Concern and various local charities

Set in Seneca Falls, the inspiration for the village of Bedford Falls in the holiday classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, this 5K run/walk will take you past historic village homes and quaint shops decorated for the Christmas season.

2. Cranky elves and humbugs on stage

A Christmas Carol

Geva Theatre Center
November 10 through December 28
Tickets start at $25.

Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly companions are back for this annual family friendly holiday tradition at Geva Theatre Center. Charles Dickens’s classic story of a curmudgeon haunted by spirits on Christmas Eve is a tale of redemption relevant to our past, present, and future.

The Santaland Diaries

Blackfriars Theatre
795 E. Main St., Rochester

December 14–22
Tickets range from $28.50 to $36.50

David Jason Kyle is back onstage as Crumpet, a cranky Christmas elf who has a bone to pick with children and parents during a busy holiday season at Macy’s department store.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

The Auditorium Theatre
885 E. Main St., Rochester

December 10–15
Admission: $32.50–$67.50.

Get ready to sing along with all the Whos down in Whoville in this record-setting Broadway holiday sensation based on Dr. Seuss’s celebrated book How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

3. Sounds of the season

Rochester Chamber Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah

Hochstein Performance Hall
50 Plymouth Ave. N., Rochester

Sunday, December 8, 7 p.m.

David Fetler conducts the Rochester Chamber Orchestra’s traditional Handel’s Messiah featuring the Festival singers and the Bach Children’s Chorus of Nazareth College. RCO players are drawn from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and from the Eastman School artist faculty.

Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus presents “Come Wassail Away!”

Hochstein Performance Hall
50 Plymouth Ave. N., Rochester

December 13–14, 8 p.m.

For more than three decades, the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus has enchanted audiences with their blend of harmonies mixed with a dash of humor. The annual holiday concert will feature songs dating from the Renaissance to present day, laugh-out-loud skits and a performance by the Rochettes, Rochester’s only all-male dance troupe.

Gala Holiday Pops with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Friday through Sunday, December 20–22
Performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
60 Gibbs St.,

The sleigh bells will jingle once more at the RPO’s annual holiday pops concert, yet another Rochester holiday tradition. Jeff Tyzik will lead the RPO through a program of contemporary holiday tunes featuring guest appearances by students from area high schools.

4. Come see the sugarplum fairies again

The Nutcracker

Presented by the Rochester City Ballet and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Friday, November 27 through Sunday, November 29
Performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
60 Gibbs St.,

This classic performance of  Tchaikovsky’s ballet features guest artists from America’s top ballet companies and more than 150 community children.

5. Lane Dworkin book festival

Jewish Community Center of Rochester
1200 Edgewood Ave., Rochester
November 3–17,

More than two decades ago, JCC supporter Sheldon A. Lane dreamed of creating an event in Rochester that would celebrate Jewish culture and literature. Now in its twenty-first year, the Lane Dworkin Book Festival is one of the largest Jewish book festivals in the nation. In addition to meet-and-greet opportunities with celebrated authors, this year’s festival will include musical performances, a film screening and the return of Beer ’n’ Books, a men’s comedy night.

6. Seneca Lake Holiday Wine Tastings and Food Festival

November 22–24 or December 6–8, 2013
Friday, 1–5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
$53 per person or $75 per couple.

More than thirty Seneca Lake wineries are set to participate in the Deck the Halls Festival, now in its twenty-second year and featuring the best in holiday wines and food pairings. While enticing your palate at each participating winery, don’t forget to collect a free holiday ornament to decorate the grapevine wreath included with the purchase of your two-day ticket. Also included is a recipe book so you can replicate your favorite pairings at home.

7. Yuletide in the Country at the Genesee Country Village and Museum

December 6–8, 13–15 and 20–22
1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford
$22 per person,

Celebrate the season and learn about the origins of holiday customs on a guided tour of Christmases past, presented by actors in period costume.

8. Chanukah celebrations

Grand Public Menorah Lighting

Pittsford Village, Pittsford
Sunday, December 1, 5 p.m. 

Sponsored by the Chabad of Pittsford, this community-wide celebration celebrates the first night of Chanukah with a public menorah lighting. The evening will include a canned food drive and a “can-orah” built by Canstruction of Rochester. Prior to the lighting, everyone is welcome to gather at the Pittsford library for a family-friendly Chanukah party starting at 2:30 p.m.

Kwanzaa Celebration Family Day

Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, 500 University Avenue
Sunday, December 29, noon–5 p.m.
$5 suggested donation, 


Presented in cooperation with the Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition, the MAG’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration Family Day celebrates diversity and the heritage of African American people with musical and dramatic performances, hands-on activities and more.

10. More holiday cheer for your buck

We couldn’t run a holiday events list without some mention of shopping. Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall, shop local boutiques at a nearby street festival. You’ll get to socialize with your friends and neighbors while you’re at it. There are dozens of destinations too numerous to list here at neighborhoods and small communities throughout the area. Chances are, if there is a vibrant Main Street nearby with a strong collection of small merchants, there will be a Christmas celebration. Take part and do your part to support your hometown businesses.

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