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Calendar of Events for December 2015

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Calendar of Events for Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth, RI

Event listings are free. They are put here in the hope you will find there are many things to see and do on Aquidneck Island. The information is submitted or compiled from promotional material distributed for the events. Information is deemed reliable but you would be wise to call or check the event website for the latest information.

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Christmas In Newport a city-wide celebration fostering the historic traditions of the holiday season.

OnAquidneck's Holiday Season Page

Newport County Convention & Visitor's Bureau Calendar of Events

The Sovereign Bank Family Skating Center in Newport is open in late November through (usually) March-  see the web site for more info.
Family or "Open" ice skating is also available... most Sundays at Portsmouth Abbey Rink (2pm to 4pm) 683-0621


Through January 3, 2016 - Newport: Christmas at the Newport Mansions

Guests are invited to join The Preservation Society of Newport County to create holiday memories as they enjoy music, tours, a gingerbread mansion contest, shopping events and visits from Santa Claus at three of America's most outstanding historic houses. Each year, staff and volunteers spend a full month filling the three houses with festive holiday decorations, matching colors and themes to the décor of individual rooms.  Some favorites return year after year, like the 15-foot-tall red poinsettia tree in the Great Hall of The Breakers, while each year new themes, ornaments and decorations are added to keep the experience fresh for returning visitors. Thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens and wreaths also fill the magnificent rooms.
                New this year at The Breakers, the annual display of gingerbread mansions created by local bakers moves to the second floor loggia, creating a holiday village through which the garden scale model of the New York Central Railroad will travel.  Six local bakers will compete to determine who can create the best replica of one of the Newport Mansions.
                A new feature at Marble House will be a competition among regional garden clubs, who have been challenged to decorate the second floor fireplace mantelpieces. 
                At The Elms, the ballroom will be transformed into a Gilded Age streetscape, complete with sleighs, mannequins wearing vintage clothing, and even a topiary horse and footman with lantern.

Rosecliff Remains Open Through the Holidays
                Also new this year, Rosecliff will remain open daily through January 3, featuring the exhibition "Newport and Her Southern Sisters: Three Centuries of Art & Design" in the renovated second floor gallery.  The exhibition explores the relationship between Newport and the American South--from New Orleans, Charleston and Baltimore to Virginia's fabled plantations and resorts and the winter playground of Palm Beach.

Visits with Santa Claus
                Santa Claus will take a break from his own Christmas preparations to visit the houses in December. Children can visit with Santa Claus in a spectacular setting from noon to 3 p.m. at The Breakers on December 6, Marble House on December 13, and The Elms on December 20. The visit with Santa is included in the regular admission price. Eggnog and cookies will be served, and don't forget a camera!

Holiday Evenings at the Newport Mansions
                Holiday Evenings at the Newport Mansions give guests a unique opportunity to experience the historic mansions lit up for night time festivities.  The experience includes a leisurely self-guided tour through the  house, live holiday music and a stop for cookies and pastries, eggnog and cider.  Holiday Evenings at The Breakers are scheduled for Saturdays, November 28 and December 5, 12, and 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On December 19, guests can enjoy a Holiday Evening Duet: The Elms and Marble House, and see both of the houses for the price of one, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
                Admission to Holiday Evenings is $35 in advance, $45 day-of the event.  Children 6-17 are admitted for $10 in advance, $15 day-of. Children under the age of 6 are admitted free.  Preservation Society members enjoy reduced admission, $30 in advance, $35 day-of. On December 19, a single ticket provides admission to The Elms and Marble House, as well as shuttle service operating between the two houses. More information, including the schedule of Holiday Evening entertainment, and advance tickets are available online at www.NewportMansions.org, or call (401) 847-1000.

December 1 - until he's done - Portsmouth: Santa Claus makes his Yearly Tour
Starting at about 6pm each night (Mon - Sat) Santa and some local helpers will be touring Portsmouth's neighborhoods as he does each year. Not sure if it is just a pre-Christmas run through, or if there is some "list checking" going on. Better be nice! For more information and to keep up with the schedule see Santa's Schedule and Map page.

December 4 - Portsmouth: Glen Manor House Hosts Second Annual Mistletoe Madness!
     7 PM – 11 PM at the Glen Manor House, 3 Frank Coelho Drive. The 2015 holiday season kicks off at the Glen Manor House with the Second Annual Mistletoe Madness! Sample food from favorite Newport County caterers, including Blackstone Caterers and Russell Morin Fine Catering. Enjoy a night of dancing featuring "GQ and the Ladies;" and celebrate the yuletide season with open bar, coffee, and dessert. The Glen Manor House will be magnificently trimmed with decorations that highlight the season. Proceeds will go to the preservation and restoration of the Glen Manor House. Valet parking will be available. Holiday attire is encouraged! Reservations are required, and space is limited! Tickets are $65 per person. Please see the website to download a reservation form: www.glenmanorhouse.com.

December 5 - Portsmouth: Science Saturday at Portsmouth Free Public Library
       2:00 pm at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Rd. Create an ornament or small gift to print on our 3D printer. We'll start printing objects on Saturday, but you may have to come back during the week to pick up your ornament/gift. Call the library at 683-9457 or stop by to sign up and let us know you're coming! This program is free, open to the public and for students in grades 6-12.

December 5 - Newport: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Bowen's Wharf
        Festivities from 4:30 - 8:00pm. The waterfront will be bathed in holiday lights and the Christmas season begins in Newport! Frosty the Snowman arrives at 4:30 pm, followed by the Christmas Carol Sing-a-long at 5 pm, a Newport city official lights the 30-foot tree at 6 pm immediately followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by boat (weather permitting) or by sleigh. Join us for a magical evening of charm, fun, and good cheer — FREE Admission. Restaurants, shops & galleries are open before and after the event until 8pm. (Hot chocolate and light snacks will be for sale if you just want a snack!)
        Please note: Bowen's Wharf parking lot will close at 4pm for the Tree Lighting. Bowen's Wharf, 53 America's Cup Avenue, Newport, RI 401-849-3478 www.bowenswharf.com

Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 29 - Newport: UnDecked Halls: Behind the Scenes at Doris Duke's Mansion in Winter
     10am to 3pm Enjoy an authentic view inside a Newport mansion in winter. Heiress Doris Duke spent Christmas in sunny Hawaii far away from Rough Point, her Newport estate. Experience the quiet house, see the decorated staff wing, and hear about Miss Duke's tropical holiday. Learn how Rough Point's winter caretaking traditions have remained the same for the past half century. Tour the first floor and enjoy refreshments in the staff dining room, not normally open to the public. Tours offered every 1/2 hour. $10, $8 ages 5-12. For more information and tickets see Newport Restoration Foundation

December 5 - Portsmouth: Common Fence Music Series
       See Ben Glover,  at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) at the Common Fence Point Community Hall, 933 Anthony Rd. For more information, ticket prices and reservations click here.

December 5 - Newport: Swanhurst Chorus presents " 'Tis the Season: A Traditional Christmas "
      at 8 PM. The "Sing" will take place at Emmanuel Church, 40 Dearborn St, Newport (at the corner of Spring and Dearborn Streets). Swanhurst Chorus, Newport County's standing choral ensemble for over 86 years, will offer " 'Tis the Season: A Traditional Christmas " under the direction of conductor Jonathan Babbitt. The evening will feature delightful arrangements of carols old & new by Rutter, Willcocks, Vittoria, Des Pres, and others. Tickets are $20 in advance, $23 at the door, and $10 for full-time students. For tickets or more information, call 401-682-1630 or visit www.Swanhurst.org.

December 6 - Portsmouth: 32nd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Program at Portsmouth Free Public Library
      Be there before 6pm at Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Road, Portsmouth. Santa will be coming to visit the Library! Cocoa and cookies will be served in the Library lobby. Santa will light the tree right after his arrival on a fire truck at 6 PM. Then he will talk to each child and give each one a candy cane. This event is a fun way to kick off the holiday season. Bring a camera!

December 12 & 13 - Jamestown: The Jamestown Community Chorus presents its holiday concert, "Two Englands: Christmas Carols from Old England and New England "
        Saturday -7:30 PM, and Sunday- 3 PM, at the Jamestown Recreation Center, 41 Conanicus Ave., Jamestown.. The concert combines Christmas music from England and New England ranging from the 16th century through the 21st century. It begins with the 16th-century "Boar's Head Carol," an English piece which traditionally accompanied the presentation of a boar's head at a Yuletide Feast. Such early English pieces are paired with early New England Christmas music including an African American Shaker tune from 1849, "Pretty Home," and three works by the renowned 18th-century Bostonian choral composer William Billings. It concludes in the modern era with "Believe" from the 2004 animated film The Polar Express and "Walking in the Air" from the 1982 British animated film, The Snowman. Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and students. For more information, and to reserve tickets, call 401-423-1574 or visit the Chorus' website at http://jamestownchorus.com.

December 13 - Portsmouth: 2015 Christmas Open House at Glen Manor House
      from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM The Glen Manor House is located at 3 Frank Coelho Drive in Portsmouth. Come celebrate the 2015 holiday season at the Glen Manor House for the Annual Christmas Open House! With extraordinary decorations and Yuletide cheer, the Glen Manor House will be open to the public. Entertainment will be provided by local performers, and refreshments will be served. Santa Claus will arrive at 2:45 PM to visit with children and take photos. The event is free!

December 19 - Portsmouth: Makerspace Open House at Portsmouth Free Public Library
      from 10 am - 12 noon at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Rd. See our 3D Printer and Vinyl Cutter. Learn what it takes to make your own design to print or cut. Laptops will be available to create your own design. Fees apply for materials. This event is open to all ages.

December 19 - Newport: Swanhurst Chorus presents the 23rd Annual “Messiah and Carol Sing: The Christmas Story”
      at 7 PM. The "Sing" will take place at Emmanuel Church, 40 Dearborn St, Newport (at the corner of Spring and Dearborn Streets). Swanhurst Chorus under the direction of conductor Jonathan Babbitt offers the 23rd Annual "Messiah and Carol Sing: The Christmas Story", a beloved tradition of Christmas in Newport. This special evening will feature much of the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah as well as beloved carols, plus selections by Swanhurst's Chamber Singers and the telling of the Christmas Story. Bring your own score and sing along or just sit and be immersed in the glorious sounds of the season. Scores will be available for rent. A festive "Wassail Bowl" reception for all will follow. Admission is $10, $5 for children 12 and under, and $25 maximum per family, and will be available at the door. For more info, call 401-682-1630 or visit www.Swanhurst.org.

December 19 - Portsmouth: Common Fence Music Series
       See Aine Minogue's 21st Annual Winter Solstice Celebration,  at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) at the Common Fence Point Community Hall, 933 Anthony Rd. For more information, ticket prices and reservations click here.

December 20 - Middletown: Temple Shalom - Sunday@Shalom Education Series: A Special Presentation by Robert Hicks.
      10:00am at 223 Valley Road, Middletown. Temple Shalom cordially invites the ENTIRE community to join us for our next Sunday@Shalom Education Series: A Special Presentation by Robert Hicks. Bob will be on home-leave in the middle of his one-year Peace Corps service (volunteering to provide school accreditation support among the tropical islands of Micronesia). "…a fascinating place and the interplay of native culture with America's "helping" role creates layer upon layer of complexity." Enjoy fascinating pictures, recordings, commentary and discussion. FREE ADMISSION. Refreshments provided (donations are gratefully accepted).. Info: www.templeshalomri.org -or- 401-846-9002.

December 29 - Portsmouth: Teen Fiction Book Club at Portsmouth Free Public Library
       6:30 pm at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Rd. The Portsmouth Free Public Library's Teen Fiction Book Club will discuss John Knowles' A Separate Peace. (Re)discover a classic! Books are available to borrow at the circulation desk. This book club is open to readers of all ages. Registration is not required for this free program.

Previous year's events (below) that we haven't gotten current information to update yet.

old listing - please check backDecember -- - Middletown: Holiday celebration of the arts at Middletown Public Library
            6:30pm at Middletown Public Library, 700 West Main Road. Join us at the Middletown Public Library for a fun holiday celebration of the arts! Living Literature, an association of performing artists in the Rhode Island area, celebrates the written word through readers' theater-style performances of non-dramatic literature. Tanya Anderson, (Trinity Repertory, Radio Free Emerson and the Gamm Theatre) will perform with Dave Rainbow, (Trinity Repertory, the Gamm Theatre and Perishable Theater). Together, they will share the history of how "The Greatest Gift," a short story self-published in 1943 by Phillip Van Dorn Stern, went on to become Frank Capra's 1946 classic Christmas film, "It's a Wonderful Life." Event is Free and no registration is required.


old listing - please check backDecember -- - Portsmouth: 4-H Horse Club riders Christmas Caroling and escorting Santa Claus
            at Noon, Common Fence Point neighborhood. Two 4-H horse clubs, the Aquidneck Riders of Portsmouth and the Team Riders of Richmond RI, will be Christmas caroling on horseback through the streets of Common Fence Point. The merry band of festively dressed carolers will head out from the VFW Hall on Anthony Road around noon. Santa Claus will be on board an 18-passenger wagon pulled by a team of Belgian draft horses.
           This year, the clubs are collecting canned goods for U.S. troops serving overseas (no pork, please). They invite you to come out and join the fun but to keep your pets inside for the safety of the riders.
           4-H is a youth development program that empowers its members to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. The fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, "learn by doing" experiences encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. Community Service and Citizenship are key components of the 4-H program. For more information about RI 4-H, go to www.uri.edu/4h.


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