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Nov 22

It’s Festival of Lights time: open MHK's gateway to holiday fun!

Posted on November 22, 2018 at 11:20 AM by Michael Goens

Hop on board with Santa Claus, we’re going for a sleigh ride. A modern-day, computerized sleigh ride. You know by now how virtual reality works. Well, if your idea of holiday cheer is Cousin Eddie’s RV (“that there’s an RV!”) try instead this VR spin to heighten the joy-filled expectancy. Santa’s Sleigh Ride is one aspect of the Dec. 1 Christmas Carnival at Blue Earth Plaza in conjunction with Manhattan’s Festival of Lights.

If you’re not in a festive mood, then the carnival will get your emotions peaked. Pronto!

Santa and child

Festival of Lights: A Manhattan tradition
You sure as heck should be juiced about 2018 Festival of Lights, as this is the sixth annual celebration in Manhattan. Friday’s lighting ceremony starts 40 nights of lighted, community bliss, stretching from Blue Earth Plaza to Bourbon and Baker in downtown clear to Bluestem Bistro in the Aggieville district.

Cheer Santa’s arrival and we’ll throw the switch on glad tidings around Manhappiness. The tallest Christmas tree around all the 34th state rises on the 23rd in Blue Earth Plaza and remains until New Year’s Day. If it’s cold, duck inside Flint Hills Discovery Center’s atrium; space is limited and exhibits closed but you’ll feel the warm holiday glow for fellow revelers.

Ice Sculpting & Christmas Carnival
The annual ice sculpting competition is among Dec. 1 festivities at Blue Earth Plaza. Free popcorn, hot cocoa, cookies and AJ’s NY Pizzeria slices with freshly-grilled hot dogs courtesy of your MHK Hy-Vee. Plus, cookie decoration and games with Santa photos are part of the 11-to-4 activities. Breakfast With Santa events at Flint Hills Discovery Center (Dec. 1 & 8) are sold out but a waiting list just may open a spot for your child.

Holiday Luminary Walk
A new addition to Manhattan’s holiday collage allows visitors to experience the delight of Sunset Zoo. Follow a trail of luminary lights though winding paths that carry you to the zoo’s holiday hearth. Two days (Dec. 1-2), 2½ hours each; don’t miss the 150-minute wonder of the zoo’s luminary walk with hot chocolate, holiday cookies and caroling!

Festival of Lights Tim Sigle

MTC Holiday Music Festival
Manhattan Town Center will feature a 15-event Holiday Music Festival, which starts at 1 p.m. Sunday and The Columbian Theatre musical selections from upcoming Christmas shows. The following weekend there’s Leonetta’s Piano Studio (11 a.m. Dec. 1) and each weekend leading to Christmas.

Check Manhattan Town Center for information on music performances. And don’t forget to visit Santa, each Mon-Sat until 8 (special Sunday/Christmas Eve times)! Mayor's Lighted Christmas Parade takes stage Dec. 7 (Santa's MTC appearance that day: 11-5).

Wrap It Up at MAC
The 20th annual holiday season for Wrap It Up extravaganza at Manhattan Arts Center features artwork from local artists. With very few exceptions, artists have Manhattan connections or live right here. This year’s total, close to 100. Select the artwork that will bring a smile to your loved one’s face, and maybe even melt a friend’s heart! Give the gift of artwork, courtesy of Wrap It Up in Manhattan.

Holiday music performances
“Hey! Merry Christmas!” If you’ve gotten this far without this heart-warming holiday welcome then our blogger deserves a lump-of-coal reprimand. A Nov. 26 trip to McCain Auditorium for Grammy-winning The Mavericks, bringing holiday cheer to theaters across the nation, will resolve to brighten your mood. Next week, Judy Collins’ hits and seasonal carols (Dec. 7) will further lift your holiday cheer.
McCain Performance Series

Columbian Theatre’s Christmas Extravaganza rustles up the reindeer for stirring carol choruses, Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16 in Wamego. At CL Hoover Opera House in Junction City, four performances of “A Christmas Carol” are certain to thrill audiences. The 1st Infantry Band delights listeners with Dec. 14-15 concerts.

Don’t neglect your gift buying
That leaves one minor detail: Shopping! You’ll have 30 shopping days, post-Festival of Lights. That should be plenty of time to stock up at Manhattan Town Center and Downtown Manhattan shops, Aggieville, Village West, Westloop and Seth Child Common. 

Spread holiday cheer all about MHK! The holidays are oh-so-special when you get that "Oh Manhattan" appeal!

Sunset Zoo Holiday Luminary Walk   Spirit of the Holidays Lighted Parade   Visit Manhattan calendar   The Columbian Theatre   CL Hoover Opera House

Photos courtesy Tim Sigle photography

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