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Our top picks of the month’s events

Celebration in the Oaks, through Dec. 30

cheryl gerber photographs

Christmas Caroling

For those who feel like singing for joy, there’s a few caroling events: Candlelight Caroling in Faubourg Marigny on Dec. 13 in Washington Square Park between Frenchmen Street and Elysian Fields will take place following the all-day Art Market, also taking place in the park.

Song sheets, candles, coffee, hot apple cider and cookies are provided. Information, (888) 312-0812, www.faubourgmarigny.org.

Caroling in Jackson Square is a 58-year-old tradition that’s led by the Patio Planters, the Garden Club of the French Quarter. Caroling begins at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19, and it’s free and open to the public. Information, 524-8432, patioplanters.org.

Photo Fanatics

PhotoNOLA, the annual photography festival, is coordinated by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in partnership with a wide variety of galleries, museums and photographers throughout the area.

Starting at the beginning of this month, several events will take place through Dec. 13; festivities include a series of gallery openings in neighborhoods ranging from the Lower Garden District to the French Quarter to the up-and-coming St. Claude Arts District; demonstrations; panel discussions, workshops; book-signings; and, of course, parties (the big fundraiser is PhotoGala, held Dec. 10 at the New Orleans Museum of Art). Another highlight is the Slideluck Potshow, a community-oriented event showcasing amateur as well as professional photos.

Even some local eateries, including Creole Creamery, will be participating. Whether your experience with a camera is limited to a Kodak FunSaver or you’re a pro, you’ll most likely be intrigued by this: most of the PhotoNOLA events are free and open to the public, offering a wide range of artistic ability and thought-provoking pictures.
Exhibitions will feature work by Susan Burnstine, Debbie Fleming Caffery, William Greiner, David Halliday, Louviere + Vanessa, Robert Polidori, Jonathan Traviesa, Alvaro Villela, POYi’s “Visions of Excellence,” Lori Waselchuk, Sarah Wilson and numerous others with unique talent to capture life and all its wonders with a lens.

Information, www.photonola.org.

Holiday on the Boulevard

Dec. 5 and 6, the Ashé Cultural Arts center collaborates with musicians, merchants and the community for a unique holiday festival and marketplace. Holiday on the Boulevard, celebrating its 10th year, will give locals a chance to purchase one-of-a-kind crafts and pieces of artwork, as well as sample cuisine prepared by local vendors. One of the highlights is the meeting of Ashé’s holiday icons, Mama Yeye and Baba Kwanzaa, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will make appearances. The two iconic couples will second-line with the brass band from GoodWork Network, where they will be met by Living History Characters and festival participants. The festival also features a senior citizens’ performance, the NOCCA Vocal Ensemble, Truth Universal, Mardi Gras Indians and many other harbingers of a joyful season.

Information, 569-9070, www.ashecac.org.

Garden District Glory

The elegant Garden District Gallery (on Washington Avenue) is celebrating its inaugural year showcasing local, regional and national artists. A stunning new exhibition “The Language of Flowers” seems to be a great match for the gallery in its picturesque neighborhood. Opening on Dec. 5 with a reception at which the artists will be present, “The Language of Flowers” will display works by Patti Adams, Suzie Allain, Tony Benjamin, William Crowell, Jean Geraci, Martha Guthrie, Peggy Hesse, Susan Hotard, Laura Mitchell, Auseklis Ozols, Carol Peebles, Don Rhodes, Diane St. Germain and Marilyn Woolverton, among others.

Information, 891-3032, www.gardendistrictgallery.com.

Celebration in City Park

Celebration in the Oaks, a longtime tradition for New Orleanians of all ages, will once again be held in City Park. Through Dec. 30, the young and young-at-heart will take delight in the antique carousel, miniature train, roller coaster and other rides; there are also nightly performances featuring school choirs, orchestras and dancers. The oak trees will sparkle with thousands of tiny lights, and Christmas trees with all kinds of decorations abound. One of the highlights is Storyland, the renovated fairy tale theme park with 26 larger-than-life storybook exhibits that allow visitors to hang out with their favorite characters: Mother Goose, Pinocchio’s whale and Captain Hook’s ship are all present, as well as numerous other whimsical figures.

Though Celebration has evolved through the ages, one thing is for certain: it captures the warmth, hope and happiness of holidays in a city of which we’re so fond.

Information, celebrationintheoaks.org.

Festival of Lights

Chanukah at the Riverwalk is celebrating 20 years on Dec. 13. The event will feature traditional Hebrew music, dancing, food and the lighting of the 12-foot menorah. Information, 522-1555, www.riverwalkmarketplace.com.
 

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