Get into the Yuletide spirit by plunging headlong into holiday activities Dec. 1-2 in Little Rock. A wealth of activities is scheduled, guaranteed to put everyone in the mood for mistletoe, eggnog, jingle bells and all other symbols of the season.
Heifer International’s Celebration of Living Gifts, Saturday, Dec. 1, offers the opportunity to learn how the Heifer International animals provide sustainable livelihoods for struggling families throughout the world. You can purchase one of these animals for a family in need, find unique international gift items in the Shop@Heifer, and have your photo taken with some of the furry, four-legged residents. There will be opportunities to make ornaments, play with the exhibits and take part in interactive story time.
Right next door the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum will have holiday activities during Santa at the Center, also on Dec. 1. From 1 p.m.-4 p.m., there will be art projects, holiday entertainment, decorating of Christmas cards, and refreshments. Santa will make a special guest appearance, with every child receiving a complimentary framed photo with the main man himself. Activities take place in the Great Hall.
The Clinton Presidential Center serves as the starting point this year for the 21st Annual Craig’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. The Saturday event begins at 11 a.m. and features thousands of runners and walkers who take to the streets, paths and parks. Wear a holiday themed costume, tie jingle bells to your shoelaces then run or walk a 5 kilometer route with team members. There will also be a one-mile walk around the Clinton Library.
Next on the agenda for Saturday are the Big Jingle Jubilee Parade and 74th annual Arkansas State Capitol Lighting Ceremony. Starting point for the 3 p.m. parade is 2nd and Broadway in downtown Little Rock. The route continues south on Broadway to Capitol Avenue, then heads west on Capitol, ending in front of the Arkansas State Capitol building. Taking part in this holiday tradition are bands, floats, animals, marching units and the grand marshals – Santa and Mrs. Claus.
At parade’s end around dusk, Secretary of State Mark Martin hits the switch that lights up the state’s seat of government. Santa will be in the rotunda to visit with children and there will be various groups providing Christmas music.
On Sunday, Dec. 2, you’ll be able to make the rounds of several Little Rock museums as they celebrate with Holiday Open Houses. Plot your course in advance and you’ll be able to make them all. The 45th annual Christmas Frolic at the Historic Arkansas Museum is from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. This seasonal get-together depicts an old-fashioned holiday, much like ones held during territorial days. Dancing, caroling, crafts, music, pioneer games, plus the event’s popular hot cider and ginger cake are scheduled.
The Old State House Museum’s party is from 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Relive traditions of joyous family holiday celebrations past in the striking structure decorated for the season. Hands-on activities for children, such as creating unique holiday cards, entertainment provided by local music groups, and cookies and punch are in store for those attending. The Old State House is located at 300 West Markham in downtown Little Rock.
Down Broadway a few blocks the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center throws open its doors from 2 p.m.–5 p.m. African storyteller Zinse Agginie will delight children and adults alike with unique and interactive drum performances. His one-of-a-kind show engages the audience, transforming them into birds, fish, lions, and more. There will also be children’s activities, live music and the first annual “Say It Ain’t Say’s” sweet potato pie contest, named in honor of Little Rock’s black Santa, Robert “Say” McIntosh.
Whew! It’s a busy weekend indeed. Remember, this is just the first weekend in December. The Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights is on-going and numerous other activities all across the state celebrate the holiday season. Visit www.Arkansas.com for more information. Don’t forget your camera!