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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

2016 guide to Christmas and holiday events in Utah

By Liesl Nielsen  |  Posted Dec 1st, 2016 @ 9:01pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Start the holiday season off right with a myriad of different holiday events located around Utah. Here's your 2016 guide to Christmas lights, Santa sightings, concerts, holiday festivities and more.

Feel free to comment with any holiday events in Utah that we may have missed.

Now-Dec. 31: Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point: This enchanting mile walk will transport you into a magical holiday world as you make your way through the captivating Ashton Gardens. The walk includes thousands of lights, a nativity scene, glowing lanterns, music and games for the children. Adult tickets are $20 and children (ages 3-12) are $17.

Now-Jan. 1: Spanish Fork's Festival of Lights: The festival is a drive-through holiday light show, open nightly from 6-10 p.m. through Jan. 1 at Canyon View Park, 3300 E. Powerhouse Road. Tickets are $7 for cars and more for larger vehicles.

Now-Jan. 2: Salem's Pond Town Christmas: The display in Salem includes lights floating on a pond in Knoll Park. Pond Town runs nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Knoll Parks is located at 200 W. 300 South. The event is free for the public.

Now-Dec. 31: Christmas in Color: Utah's biggest drive-through holiday light show is offered in Kearns and Provo. Tickets are $21.95 per vehicle.

Now-Jan 1: Ogden City Christmas Village: Stroll through the lighted village, visit Santa in his castle, take a ride on the Polar Express Train and enjoy live entertainment. The village will be lit every night from 5 p.m. until midnight. The event is free for the public.

Now-Dec. 24: Heber Valley Railroad North Pole Express: The 90-minute ride features hot chocolate and cookies from Mrs. Claus. Coach class is $35 for adults, $25 for children and $5 for toddlers.

Now-Dec. 24: Downtown Jingle Bus in Salt Lake City: Take this bus to see all the sights downtown. This holiday-themed ride will circulate between the Gateway, Temple Square, City Creek Center Gallivan Plaza and Capitol Theatre. The bus runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, free of charge, courtesy of the SLC Downtown Alliance, City Creek Center and The Gateway.

Now-Dec. 31: Lights on Temple Square: Christmas season begins when millions of lights are turned on the day after Thanksgiving. All events on Temple Square are free and the lights will stay on until Dec. 31. No tickets necessary.

Now-Dec. 31: Savior of the World on Temple Square: This musical production is based on scriptural events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. Tickets are required. Evening and matinee performances are $10 each.

Now-Dec. 31: Draper City Park Tree of Lights : The tree lighting ceremony has already happened but stop by and enjoy thousands of lights and see the famous willow "Tree of Lights" take center stage.

Now-Dec. 31: Utah's Tallest Christmas Tree: The Outlets at Traverse Mountain in Lehi have this year’s tallest live tree in the state of Utah. The tree is over 75 feet tall and holds more than 900 ornaments and 500 lights. The tree is lit every night.

Now-Dec. 31: Utah State Capitol Christmas trees: The Utah State Capitol has decked its halls. Enjoy a Utah-themed Christmas tree all season, found inside the building. No tickets are necessary.

Now-Dec. 23: Christmas Cruise at CLAS Ropes Course in Provo: See thousands of lights reflecting off the water as you enjoy a boat ride about 25 minutes long with lighted holiday scenes along the shore. Santa will also make an appearance in his canoe. Blankets and warm clothes are encouraged since the boats are uncovered. Tickets are $8 per person and kids 2 and under are free.

Now- Dec. 31: Deck The Hall at Sandy City Hall: Visit City Hall during the month of December to see the thousands of lights outside, an old-time village and a huge Christmas tree that can be found inside.

Now-Dec. 3: Dickens' Christmas Festival- St. George: Not just a craft show, this festival also has unique live performances. Enjoy period costumes, old shops, fortune tellers, royalty and the real Father Christmas. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for kids ages 4-12 and children 3 and under are free.

Now-Dec. 3: Festival of Trees in Sandy: Come see over 700 beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, centerpieces, gingerbread houses, quilts and playhouses in the festival's 45th year. Every penny raised helps the Primary Children's Hospital; $6 per adult, $3 for kids ages 2-11. Tickets for adults 65 and older cost $5. Family tickets for up to six people allowed on Wednesday, Dec. 3, for $15. Discount tickets can be purchased at most Zions banks.

Now-Dec. 23: "A Christmas Carol," a musical by Hale Center Theater Orem: See the original musical retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Tickets start at $18.

Now-Dec. 23: A Fairly Potter Christmas Carol: This is an unauthorized parody following the success of Fairly Potter in 2013, at the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden. Tickets are $19 online and $20 at the door.

Now-Dec. 31: Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo: The Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo return for its ninth year with more than 250 animated light displays. Wear hologram glasses to walk in the 135-foot lighted tunnel. Every night features a fun family activity. Santa will also be at Macy's Santa Station until Dec. 24. Lights went on at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 1. Admission prices are $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-12 and $7 for seniors.

Dec. 1-3, 5: Alpine Living Nativity: This live Nativity scene is offered at 317 Heritage Hills Drive in Alpine. Tickets are sold out for this year, but those wishing to see the nativity can find tickets starting in October 2017.

Dec. 1-3: Christkindlmarkt at This Is the Place Heritage Park: This unique holiday shopping experience is inspired by world famous German Christmas markets and offers food and festive entertainment as you stroll through the park. Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Dec. 1- 20: The Forgotten Carols Christmas tour: See the timeless Christmas classic during its 25th anniversary tour in Utah. Performances will be held in Ogden, Orem, Logan, Cedar City, St. George and Salt Lake City. Visit the website for exact dates and times. Tickets start at $17.50.

Dec. 2: Christmas at the BYU Museum of Art: Kick off the holiday season at the BYU MOA from 7 to 10 p.m. Enjoy performances from Noteworthy, gallery activities, and a special appearance from artist Brian Kershisnik.

Dec. 2: Holiday Stroll by the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll: Find the perfect art gift for any budget. Galleries across Salt Lake will be stocked with modestly priced pieces and craft items from 6 to 9 p.m. Visit gallerystroll.org for more information.

Dec. 2: Light the Night in South Jordan: It's the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony for South Jordan. Enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies, free ice skating rentals and free wagon rides. Come and see Santa, who will arrive in a fire truck. Starts at 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the South Jordan City Plaza.

Dec. 2-3: BYU's Christmas Around the World: This holiday tradition showcases the rich ethnic diversity of the world through music and dance and features more than 200 dancers, singers and musicians. Tickets start at $15 for the public. Visit BYUtickets.com to buy.

Dec. 2-3: Willow Park Zoo Reindeer Trek: Enjoy games for kids, holiday displays and decorations and animals of the zoo. Kids can visit with Santa and pet two of his reindeer. Price is $3 for adults and $2.50 for kids ages 2 and up.

Dec 2-4: Second Annual Nativity Walk in Moab: The Nativity walk will display unique and beautiful Nativity scenes from around the world. Refreshments will be served and live music will be performed. Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 12 p.m. to an hour after the Electric Light Parade; Sunday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Held at The Broken Oar Restaurant (53 West 400 North).

Dec. 2-3, 5 , 9-10: Riverton City Holly Days: Santa will be on hand every night to see the kids. Wander through all the light displays and see the giant-sized pages of "The Night Before Christmas."

Dec. 2-6: Weber County Holiday Festival: View holiday memorabilia from all over the world at the Weber County Fairgrounds. There will also be a live Nativity scene. Held from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., and admission is free. Donations of new unwrapped toys and food pantry items will benefit the Children's Justice Center, The Christmas Box House and the Ogden Food Bank.

Dec. 2-26: "The Nutcracker" by Ballet West: Come see the longest-running full production in America. Evening matinee performances run throughout the month at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City. Tickets start at $19.

Dec. 2-31: Candy Windows in South Jordan: View 10 different holiday scenes created entirely from candy pieces in shop windows along Towne Center Drive. No tickets necessary.

Dec. 4-5, 11-12: Sandy Arts Guild Christmas in Concert: Enjoy an intimate Christmas concert at the Sandy City Chamber Theater, featuring Sam Payne ($10), Joslyn ($15), Josh & Lindsey Wright ($10) and Mercy River ($15). Ticket prices vary per show.

Dec. 3: Provo's World of Christmas Market and Lights On Ceremony: Center Street in Provo will be packed with vendors and displays of handmade crafts, clothing, accessories, and food from Peru, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Mexico from 3-8 p.m.

Dec. 3: Christmas Light Parade: Live music with local choir and bands, Santa, cookies and hot cocoa will be provided at the tree lighting in Moab. From 6 p.m. at 400 N. 100 W.

Dec. 3: Sugar House Winter Festival: The Sugar House Famers Market presents the second annual winter festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a visit from Santa and Elsa.

Dec. 3: Utah Olympic Oval Holiday Festival: Enjoy activities for the whole family in Kearns at the Olympic Oval. Activities include a photo booth, ice skating, ice carver, Oval Figure Skating Ice Show and more. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids ages 3-12. Bring a nonperishable food donation and receive free admission. Food donations will benefit the Kearns Food Pantry.

Dec. 3: Morgan City Ol' Time Christmas on Commercial Street: This event includes a tree lighting ceremony, music, activities, Santa and a gingerbread decorating contest. Admission is free and it goes from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Dec. 3: Provo Santa Run: Here's your last chance to run in Santa garb. This 5K starts and finishes at The Shops at Riverwoods in Provo. Fuel up at milk and cookie aid stations. The race will be followed by holiday fun. Pre-race day registration is $36.

Dec. 3: South Jordan City Sounds of the Season concert: A choir and orchestra, conducted by Marlene Stanley, will play holiday favorites at the Bingham High School Auditorium. Performance at 7 p.m.

Dec. 3-4: Red Butte Garden Holiday Open House: Nineteen local artists will have handmade gifts for sale, including jewelry, pottery, photography and more. There will also be free cider and hot chocolate to enjoy as you walk through the winter wonderland garden. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free admission, thanks to ZAP.

Dec. 3, 10, 17: Breakfast with Santa at Thanksgiving Point: Enjoy breakfast with Santa, Mrs. Claus and other North Pole characters. Kids can participate in dance contests, sing-a-longs, games, crafts and cookie decorating. Tickets can be purchased in advance for a discount of $5. Tickets for adults at the door are $35 and tickets for children at the door are $30.

Dec. 5: Christmas Tree Lighting at West Valley City Family Fitness Center: Visit with Santa and go on a candy cane hunt. The tree lighting will start at 6 p.m. and be followed by a Walk with Santa. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be provided.

Dec. 7: Nativity in the Glen: This live Nativity scene started as a joint effort between First Baptist Church, the Wasatch Presbyterian Church, St. Ambrose and Lady of Lourdes Parish churches and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bonneville Stake. Held for one night only, it goes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1050 S. 1500 East in Salt Lake City. There is no entrance fee but organizers encourage visitors to bring a donation for The Homeless Youth Resource Center. Donations can be canned food or a monetary donation.

Dec. 8-10: Dickens' Christmas Festival, Sandy: Catch it again in Salt Lake City if you missed it in St. George: period costumes, old shops, fortune tellers, royalty and the real Father Christmas, $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 kids ages 4-12 and children 3 and under are free. At the South Towne Expo Center.

Dec. 9-23 (Monday through Saturday evenings): Experience a Christmas from the past when you go to Candlelight Christmas at This Is the Place Heritage Park. Here, your family can participate in crafts, visit a decorated pioneer home or hear from the Heritage Village Carolers. Tickets are $5 per person; no cost for children ages 2 and younger.

Dec. 9-24: "A Christmas Carol" by Hale Center Theatre in West Valley City: See the holiday classic's 32nd annual production. Tickets start at $18.

Dec. 9-Feb. 27: Elk viewing and wagon rides at Hardware Ranch: Come take a horse-drawn carriage or wagon ride through the ranch to see elk during the winter season. Rides are offered Friday through Monday during the season. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for kids and children ages 3 and under are free.

Dec. 9: Christmas Jam of Utah: Bring the entire family to this all-ages show featuring familiar holiday tunes performed by local musicians and vocalists. Celebrating its seventh anniversary in 2016, this annual event is produced by Christmas Jam of Utah and proceeds from every performance benefit local charities. Adult tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of. Tickets for children are $5 in advance and $7.50 the day of.

Dec. 9 and running Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through December: An “ELFmersive” North Pole experience fun for the whole family! Includes five different themed areas: The Elf Express, Snow School, Santa’s Sleigh Ride, Lil’ Elfz Workshop, and the secret to Santa’s toy delivery operation – Christmas Central. Click here for more information.

Dec. 10, 17, 24: Get tasty food, Christmas festivities, a photo booth, face painting and more at the Breakfast with Santa at Millennial Falls. Tickets are $23 for adults and $18 for children ages 2 through 11. For reservations call 801-495-3737.

Dec. 10: Annual Elk Festival at Hardware Ranch: This year's festival will be held at Hardware Ranch WMA from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be fun and free family activities in addition to the regular sleigh rides and visitor center. Activities will include fish printing, wildlife Christmas ornament crafting and more. Elk-viewing ride prices are $5 for people 9 and older and $3 for children 4-8 years old.

Dec. 10, 12: “A Christmas Carol” by the Tooele Valley Academy of Dance: See this holiday classic for just $5 per person or $20 per family.

Dec. 10, 17: Breakfast & Brunch With Santa: The whole family can eat a warm breakfast with Santa at Discovery Gateway. The brunch will also include holiday crafts and play time in the museum with Santa. Tickets can be purchased online. From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tickets are $30 for children and $35 for adults. Members receive a discount.

Dec. 12: Candy Cane Hunt at Draper Historic Park: Thousands of candy canes will be hidden around the park for kids to find. Open to boys and girls 3 to 6 years old. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a fire truck. Take your own pictures with Santa for free under the gazebo. Starts at 4 p.m. sharp.

Dec. 12: Christmas Carole Sing-a-long: The Larry H. Miller family presents the 32nd Annual Christmas Carole Sing-Along December 12 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Musical numbers by Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four and the West Valley Symphony of Utah with Donny Gilbert as the music director and Sterling Poulson as the guest conductor. Free admission.

Dec. 12: A Christmas Concert featuring Bonnie Harris and the Valley Jazz: Presented by the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, located at 1355 W. 3100 South. The event goes from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and admission is free.

Dec. 15: Millennial Choir and Orchestra Christmas concert: This holiday performance will be held at the Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. Visit arttix.com for more information. Tickets start at $14.

Dec. 15-17: A Kurt Bestor Christmas: Bestor will perform with his band The Collective and a chamber orchestra at the Eccles Theater. Tickets start at $25.

Dec. 18: The Oratorio Society of Utah will be performing Handel's Messiah at 7 p.m. at the Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

Dec. 20: Come support Westminster Girl Up's Art Gala on December 20th from 7-9:30 p.m. in Jewett Center for the Performing Arts. All art will be contributed by girls and women across the Salt Lake Valley. All proceeds for the event will go directly to Girl Up. The event will be formal and all art participants would receive 2 free tickets to the event. Otherwise, admission will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. For more information, login to girlup.org.

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