Arts & Culture

A cornucopia of things to do this weekend in Eastern Iowa

Music, art, plays, tours abound in Eastern Iowa

Shelby Dietzen, 5, of Cedar Rapids, writes a thank-you note for U.S. troops at a station in the 2018 Tannenbaum Forest i
Shelby Dietzen, 5, of Cedar Rapids, writes a thank-you note for U.S. troops at a station in the 2018 Tannenbaum Forest in Festhalle Barn in Amana. The winter wonderland opens this weekend and continues Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 22. (The Gazette)

Whether you need to trot off the turkey and trimmings, spike the football or revive after binge shopping, here are some ways to get you and/or your guests out of the house this weekend. For more options, go to


Tannenbaum Forest, Amana: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; Festhalle Barn, 4707 220th Trail. Walk through a winter wonderland with 40 decorated trees, a 17-foot German Christmas pyramid, a Nativity, Santa visits and letter drop, with carols swirling through the air. Admission: $3 suggested donation to benefit the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Brucemore tours, Cedar Rapids: Historic Brucemore mansion, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, is decked in festive finery, with glowing trees, a Christmas dinner setting and lush garland winding its way up the grand staircase. Saturday: Holiday Mansion Tours, 10 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., $5 to $12, free ages 5 and under. Sunday: Music in the Mansion Tours, with music playing on the 1929 Skinner pipe organ, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., $10 to $15, free ages 5 and under.

North Pole Express, Mount Pleasant: Hop the historic rails at the North Depot in McMillan Park, 403 E. Thresher Rd. Hear “The Polar Express” as you wind your way to the North Pole, visit Railroad Santa in the Christmas Caboose, make an ornament to take home, dine on cookies and cocoa, run model trains and pose for photos. Times: 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5 p.m. Sunday; $25.

Santa at NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids: Whisper your Christmas wish list to the Jolly Old Elf, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1100 Third St. SE. More times and dates on website.

Clay Holiday Trees, Cedar Rapids: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Iowa Ceramics Center, Cherry Building, 329 10th Ave. SE. Family workshop, $18.

• Longbranch Christmas with Santa, Cedar Rapids: Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in the grand ballroom, 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: free, RSVP at (319) 377-6386 or on thew website.


Anamosa Festival of Lights Parade: 6 p.m. Saturday. See Santa arrive in a horse-drawn wagon, with rides offered afterward, until 9 p.m.

• Paws & Claus, Cedar Rapids: 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Lindale Mall, 4444 First Ave. NE. Bring your pet to the mall for a photo with Santa and treats. Use the doors by CR Spirits, behind Cheddars.


• Celtic Yuletide, Cedar Rapids: 8 p.m. Saturday, Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Music, stories and dance, featuring Michael Londran, the voice of Riverdance on Broadway. Tickets: $29-$45, Paramount Ticket Office, (319) 366-8203 or website.

AVP’s Birthday Bash, Cedar Rapids: 9 p.m. Saturday, Chrome Horse Saloon, 1201 Third St. SE. Sing “Happy Birthday” to Alisabeth Von Presley as she rocks another trip around the sun with a show featuring her vocals, her pop/rock band, dancers and special guests.

• The Limestoners, Waubeek: 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, F.B. & Company, 4185 Whittier Rd. Party with Bob Dorr on drums, vocals and harmonica; Jeff Petersen on guitar and vocals; and Doug Norton on bass and vocals.


• Trolls LIVE, Cedar Rapids: 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday; U.S. Cellular Center, 370 First Ave. NE. It’s a hair-raising adventure when Poppy, Branch and their friends hit the stage in their first live tour, packed with music, glitter, humor and happiness. Tickets: $22 to $75, VIP $129 and up, venue box office, 1-(800) 745-3000 or website.

Literary Tattoos, Cedar Rapids: Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Mystic Tat2, 419 Third Ave. SW. Fundraiser for the Cedar Rapids Public Library’s Dolly Parton Foundation — Imagination Library program. Walk-ins or appointments to get a %50 poker chip size, book themed tattoo.

• Comedian John Roy, Cedar Rapids: 8 p.m. Saturday, Penguins Comedy Club, 208 Second Ave. SE. After honing his act in clubs around the Midwest, John Roy was crowned the first champion of CBS’ “Star Search” in 2003. Tickets: $15 door.


• Museum Store Sunday, Cedar Rapids: Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, free. Nearly 800 museums stores on three continents are offering one-of-a-kind shopping experiences; first 50 customers receive a custom-made ornament. Galleries offer exhibits ranging from Grant Wood, Marvin Cone and Mauricio Lasansky collections to “Up All the Night: The Art of the Dark” and “Art in Roman Life”; $3 to $7, free ages 5 and under.


RoughRiders Hockey, Cedar Rapids: 7:05 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, 1100 Rockford Rd. SW. See the RoughRiders take on their rivals, the Waterloo Black Hawks. Tickets: $10.99-$25.

Kayak Safety Practice, Cedar Rapids: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Bender Pool, 940 14th Ave. SE; $10. Refine paddling skills under a controlled environment. For ages 10 and older; swimwear and lifejacket required, with helmet for practicing rolls; bring own boat and gear.


• “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” Marion: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; Giving Tree Theater, 752 10th St. The Herdman siblings — “the worst kids in the history of the world” — take over the annual Christmas pageant in a tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds and six rowdy kids. Tickets: $23.

“Junior Claus,” Amana: Theatre for Young Audiences show, 1 p.m. Saturday, Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave. Santa’s son, Junior Claus, loves making new high-tech gadgets at the North Pole Workshop, but between a grumpy elf who might be trying to ruin Christmas and a failing Santa Belief-O-Meter, he is really starting to feel the pressure. Can he find his self-confidence and learn the true meaning of Christmas in time to save the day? Tickets: $10.50; Old Creamery Box Office, (319) 622-6262 or

• “Matilda the Musical,” Cedar Rapids: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Theatre Cedar Rapids, 102 Third St. SE. Based on the Roald Dahl novel, it’s the story of an extraordinary little girl with an unbounded imagination — and a bit of magic — who proves you can overcome anything. Tickets: $22 to $55; TCR Box Office, (319) 366-8591 or

• “Not Another Christmas Letter!” Amana: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Old Creamery Theatre, 39 38th Ave. From competitive Black Friday shopping to dinner with the in-laws, this original musical comedy celebrates everything that drives us crazy about Christmas, and why we love it anyway. Tickets: $29.25 to $32.50; Old Creamery Box Office, (319) 622-6262 or website.

• “Straight White Men,” Iowa City: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert St. When Ed and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks and takeout Chinese food. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can’t solve: When identity matters and privilege is problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man? Tickets: $10 to $30; Riverside Box Office, (319) 338-7672.

Comments: (319) 368-8508;

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