By RENEE FITE
Cherokee County boasts its share of holiday events, but for those looking to travel farther afield to enjoy music, light displays and other seasonal fare, Green Country has a packed calendar.
The Muskogee Christmas Garden of Lights makes Honor Heights Park as beautiful at night as the azaleas are in April. The drive-through display of more than one million lights opened Thanksgiving eve and continues through New Year’s Day, from dusk until 10 p.m. It’s free but donations are appreciated.
Muskogee visitors can also drop by the Castle’s Christmas Kingdom and see more than 1,000 Christmas inflatables, 4 to 13 feet tall, from Santa to Spongebob Squarepants. It’s also free, with donations appreciated. Call (918) 687-3625 or (800) 439-0658. The Castle of Muskogee is at 3400 W. Fern Mountain Road.
A three-day event begins Friday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. with the Muskogee Christmas Candle Light Home Tour. The cost is $25 per person to visit three locations, each offering food, drinks, and entertainment. Christmas Home Tour 2013 also runs Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8, from 1-4 p.m. Cost is $10 per person to visit five locations.
The Muskogee Christmas parade isSaturday, Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. and will start at 11th and Okmulgee. Chill On The Hill Garden of Lights 5K and Fun Run are Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4:30 p.m. Early registration fee includes a long sleeve T-shirt is $25. Registration fee after Dec. 6 through the day of the run is $30.
Tulsa also offers a variety of events to ring in the holiday celebration.
The Philbrook Museum Festival of Trees includes art and other items on view and for sale through Sunday, Dec. 15. The museum will come alive with 75 unique objects for sale in time for the holiday gift-giving season. The museum is at 2727 S. Rockford Road.
Tulsa has two parades: The Christmas parade is Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. and the Tulsa Downtown Parade of Lights is Saturday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m., starting at Fourth and Elgin and ending at First and Elgin.
There are two ways to view the lights in Tulsa. One unique way is from above, with Christmas Light Rides in a helicopter. Go to www.dragonflyaviationllc. com or call 1 (877) 260 7244.
Another way is to tour the lights via VIP Limo, which will drive through Tulsa as well as the Oklahoma City Holiday Light Tours, Dec. 3-13. Call (800) 438-3336
Dazzling lights at Rhema Bible College
One of the best light displays in this part of the state is at Rhema Bible College, at 1025 W. Kenosha St. The campus will be lit through New Year’s Day, 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. each night, and is synchronized to Christmas music. There are several ways to view the display. Visitors can drive around the Rhema campus, walk through the park, or take a carriage. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available (weather permitting) Dec. 6, 7, 13-14, and 20-25, with a cost of $10 per adult and $5 per child. A Family Pack, including up to two adults and up to five kids, costs $25.
“Jesus is the light of the world and we display that through the lights every year,” said David Wildman, marketing specialist with Rhema.
More than two million lights are up this year, a task the staff begins the end of August, Wildman said.
“We designed Rhema’s Christmas lights display to provide a safe, peaceful, and fun atmosphere in which people can enjoy the Christmas season. We want to bless our community and point visitors to the love of Jesus Christ and the real meaning of Christmas,” said Wildman.
Chandler Park, at 6500 W. 21st Street in Tulsa, “Lights on the Hill” runs until Dec. 27, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 7-9 p.m. A carriage ride for a cost, or a drive through three miles of lights and whimsical displays for free, are on tap. Donations are appreciated.
Holiday music fills the air
Favorite musical celebrations in Tulsa draw crowds every year. One is the Natalie O. Warren presentation of “The Messiah,” by G.F. Handel, on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m. at Boston Avenue Methodist Church. The show features the Chancel Choir and orchestra performing the Christmas portion of the piece. The church is at 1301 S. Boston Ave., 918 583-5181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tulsa Performing Arts Center provides some of the finest national and international performances this season: “Tulsa! A Radio Christmas Spectacular,” Dec. 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 7-8 at 2 p.m. in the Liddy Doenges Theater; “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 12-13, 17-21, 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 14-15, 22 at 2 p.m., John H. Williams Theater; Tulsa Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 13, 20-22 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 14-15, 21-22 at 2 p.m., Chapman Music Hall; Tulsa Festival Ringers Holiday Concert, Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., John H. Williams Theater; “Impasto, Impasto, Impasto!” Stephen Smith’s paintings, Dec. 5-31, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and during Chapman Music Hall events, PAC Gallery; “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,” a comedy, Dec. 12-14, 19-21 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 15, 22 at 2 p.m., Charles E. Norman Theater; and Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.,” Theatre Tulsa’s Broadway Bootcamp for kids ages 8-18, culminating with participants staging a musical adaptation of the 1992 animated Disney film “Aladdin,” Dec. 13-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 14-15 at 2 p.m., Liddy Doenges Theater.
Another performance of “The Messiah” will take the stage Thursday, Dec. 19 at the Lorton Performance Center on the University of Tulsa campus. It’s at 7:30 p.m. Go to tulsachorus.com.
The BOK Center has holiday music and entertainment. Sunday, Dec. 1, the “Donny and Marie Christmas” will entertain. Tickets are $125 to $45. Tuesday, Dec. 3, there’s the WWE Smackdown Live. Tickets are $100 to $35.
Cox Business Center, on Dec. 13-24, will host “Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical!” presented by Tulsa Project Theater. Dates are 13, 19, 20, 21, 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 15, 22, 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $28.