Holiday magic forest will benefit community food pantry

TAYLOR — Santa’s Magic Forest will be open weekends through Dec. 20 and daily Dec. 21 through 23 at Heritage Park Activity Building, 12111 Pardee Road, in Heritage Park.

Hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays, 1 to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Hours are 1 to 7 p.m. Dec. 21 through 23.

Downriver’s finest holiday display is a magical winter wonderland of animated characters and scenes and beautiful holiday light displays. Bring the entire family to visit Santa Claus and enjoy live entertainment. Admission is $3; $2 for seniors and children 10 and younger.

Rosecrans Picture Perfect Photography will provide a photo opportunity with Santa that will be available for purchase. All proceeds from Santa’s Magic Forest benefit Fish & Loaves Community Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization that is operating the holiday display as a fundraiser to support its continued work of providing food and nourishment to those in need in Taylor and surrounding communities.

For more information contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (734) 374-3906. For more information on Fish & Loaves call (734) 778-1611 or visit the Web site www.downriverfishandloaves.org.

Ballet Americana presents ‘The Nutcracker’
TAYLOR —Ballet Americana – the city’s home dance company – and the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra will combine for the fourth consecutive year to present Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

Showtime is 2 p.m. Sunday at the DSA Ford Theater for the Arts Auditorium,123 Selden, west of the Max M. Fisher Music Center. The morning performance is an abridged version for children.

Producers say the endearing holiday classic ballet is a fairy tale brought to life in a magical kingdom with a prince and princess, toy soldiers and a sugar plum fairy. The award-winning production includes highly skilled performers, including guest artists from the New York Ballet and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Producers also say the show features large, colorful scenery drops and props, as well as beautiful costumes. Performers will be available after the shows for autographs and photos by a giant Nutcracker in the lobby. Call (313) 576-5111 to purchase tickets or go to www.detroitsymphony.com.

Ballet Americana is the ballet company of the Taylor Dance Program, which is celebrating its 44th year. Ballet Americana’s version of “Nutcracker” is a Downriver tradition.

Taylor Dance officials say it is recognized as one of the premier dance training centers in Michigan. The program, under the direction of Joy Squire, provides a wide selection of dance classes for beginners to advanced students at the Taylor Recreation Center, 22805 Goddard Road.

Ballet Americana is one of only three Michigan companies to be recognized by Regional Dance America. In the spring of 2010, Ballet Americana will host the Mid-States Regional Dance Festival with dancers from 13 states attending.

For more information go to www.BalletAmericana.org, e-mail ballet.americana@comcast.net or call (734) 374-3904.

Conservatory to host annual tree lighting ceremony, singalong
TAYLOR — The city’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Sing-Along will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Taylor Conservatory on North Line Road, just east of Pardee Road, next to the Heritage Park Petting Farm.

The family-oriented, old-fashioned Christmas tree lighting will include singing songs inside the Petting Farm Visitors Center and sipping hot chocolate and cider as participants walk over to the lighting of a 20-foot Christmas tree under the conservatory dome.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information on conservatory activities call (888) 383-4108.

Taylor Community Chorus Christmas Concert
TAYLOR — The Taylor Cultural Arts Commission presents the 26th annual Taylor Community Chorus Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. Friday Sheridan Community Center, 12111 Pardee Road.

The concert, “Do You Hear What I Hear,” will feature solo and small-group performances in addition to songs by the entire chorus under the direction of Mark Ennis. Tickets are $5 in advance or at the door. Discounted tickets are available for members of the Taylor Friends of the Arts.

For tickets or more information call (313) 291-7893, go to www.TaylorArts.org or find the Taylor Cultural Arts Commission on Facebook.

Special guests join reindeer in return to petting farm
TAYLOR — Reindeer Days are set for 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday at the Heritage Park Petting Farm,12803 Pardee Road at North Line.

Reindeer Days is a city holiday tradition that returns to the farm as Santa Claus and his real reindeer make their annual visit. This year, a rare white reindeer named Blizzard will be on hand, too.

Visitors are advised to bring a camera to capture a special holiday moment. Santa will listen to all special wishes from boys and girls who visit.

“Making memories is what this weekend is all about,” said Petting Farm Education Coordinator Sharon Vespremi. “The barn and reindeer tent will be decorated for the holidays, so you can visit with the animals under the soft glow of the Christmas lights.”

Free hot chocolate will be served at the visitors center, and free crafts will available in the classroom as holiday music plays in the air. Flutterby Faces will paint faces for an additional fee ($5 to $7). Stocking stuffers also will be available for purchase.

The prize for a special drawing is a free one-year family pass to the farm. Pizza and light refreshments will be available for purchase, along with stocking stuffers. Admission is $3 for Taylor residents; $4 for everyone else. While Reindeer Days has become the Petting Farm’s most popular event, there always is plenty of parking, thanks to the free shuttle from the Sheridan Community Center just north of the farm.

For more information call (734) 374-5946.

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