TOLEDO, Ohio — Yes, yes, we are all looking forward to America's great eating holiday - and we're thankful for it - with Thanksgiving coming next week. But, it is going to look a lot more like Christmas very soon with the Toledo Zoo's Lights Before Christmas flipping the switch on the season Friday night, and the Bowling Green Holiday Parade stepping off Saturday morning, followed by the lighting of Hensville Saturday night. Here is the best of the weekend, holiday inspired and otherwise:

THURSDAY

Art Loop/Jazz Loop, a tribute to Toledo's jazz legacy | 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Inspired by Toledo native and jazz legend Art Tatum's 110th birthday, Thursday's Art Loop | Jazz Loop pays homage to Toledo's legacy as a jazz community. As the birthplace of legends such as Tatum, widely regarded as the greatest piano player of all time, "Poet Laureate of Jazz" Jon Hendricks, and long-time home to the third-oldest jazz club in America, Rusty's Jazz Cafe, along with staples such as the heralded Murphy's Place, Toledo's reputation and role in promoting jazz music to the world is undeniable. 

Check out the venues and times here. 

This evening, join the Art Loop for an exploration of versatile takes on America's music with 12 performances by local and regional luminaries. All venues at The Jazz Loop are free and all are welcome. While you're taking in the great performances, swing by River House Arts to celebrate its 10th year with CAKE and champagne. CAKE is a lively group exhibition featuring works of glass, painting, fiber, and mixed media.  

A Magical Cirque Christmas | Stranahan Theatre | 7 p.m.

"A Magical Cirque Christmas" comes to town, bringing with it the world's top performers of the circus variety.  The show is fun for all ages, but isn't your typical family outing. From the dry, sarcastic humor of the show's host magician, John Archer, to the jaw-dropping acrobatics, there is something for even the biggest Scrooge to enjoy. To add an extra bit of holiday flair, performers are accompanied by everyone's favorite tunes of the season, all sung by the brilliant Therese Curotolo.  

You can order tickets to the holiday spectacular online, or by calling the Stranahan box office at 419-381-8851

Rachel Salzman
Épreuve synthèse 2015 à l'École nationale de cirque de Montréal.
Roland Lorente

RELATED: 'A Magical Cirque Christmas' adds awe to your holidays

FRIDAY

Lights Before Christmas kickoff | Toledo Zoo | 3 p.m., with lighting of the Big Tree at 6:10 p.m.

The beloved holiday tradition is ready to shine brightly again, with both family favorites and all new features this year. The annual lighting of the Big Tree, an 85 foot Norway spruce decorated with 35,000 lights, will take place in the Garden area of the Zoo at about 6:10 p.m. on Friday and will be broadcast live on WTOL 11.

Fan-favorite events continuing at Lights Before Christmas include: the Ice Slide and Water Village, visits with Santa in the Arctic Encounter, the Dancing Northern Lights and the Scenes of Wonder 3-D display.

New this year, check out the ProMedica Museum of Natural History in its first holiday season and warm up with a seasonal beverage or treat from the Café at the Museum while checking out the unique Ohio habitats featured on the first floor. Also, guests can move or dance on the Amphitheatre floor and see their silhouettes in lights on the stage.

Ticket prices for non-members: Adults, $19; children and seniors, $16; free admission for military members with ID and $1 discount for military family members. Online tickets can be purchased here

RELATED: TICKETS | Save on Lights Before Christmas admission by ordering online

RELATED: VOTE NOW | Toledo Zoo again in the running for ‘best zoo lights’

RELATED: REGISTER | Go dashing through the Zoo during the Polar Paws and Santa Claws 5K

Sounds of the Stadium: UToledo Rocket Marching Band | Valentine Theatre | 8 p.m.

The UToledo Rocket Marching Band will take its show on the road to an indoor venue, the historic Valentine Theatre. The Sounds of the Stadium concert will be held Friday at 8 p.m.

Highlights of the program include the music of Boy Bands, Motown, summer hits, and traditional UT favorites as well.

Tickets are $9 each. Discount tickets are available for group of 10+. Tickets are available through the UT Center for Performing Arts Box Office, 419.530.ARTS (2787) and online at www.utoledo.Tix.com. Tickets are also available through the Valentine Theatre box office 419.242.ARTS (2787) http://www.valentinetheatre.com/

Visit the UT Rocket Marching Band page at
http://www.utoledo.edu/bands/ourbands/marching/

University of Toledo Marching Band
University of Toledo

SATURDAY

Polar Express, Next Stop: Bowling Green | Bowling Green Holiday Parade | downtown Bowling Green | 10 a.m.

The 2019 Bowling Green Holiday Parade’s theme is “Polar Express: Next Stop Bowling Green,” and the festivities begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The two-hour parade will be televised commercial-free on WTOL.

The parade steps off at 9:50 a.m., and the first float is set to hit Main and Wooster streets at 10 a.m.

Holiday Craft and Gift Marketplace | Lucas County Rec Center | 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Over 100 outstanding local artists and vendors will fill the Lucas County Rec Center, letting you shop a wide variety. Come get that Christmas shopping list crossed off with unique gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, whoever! Hours are Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 11-4.

Hensville Tree Lighting Ceremony | 4 p.m. festivities start, 6 p.m. tree lighting

Cue the music and deck the street with thousands of lights! A Toledo holiday tradition returns, and it is bigger and better than ever! The Hensville Lights transform St. Clair Street, between Monroe and Washington Streets, into a magical holiday treat for the 2019 holiday season.

Two-hundred thousand twinkling lights bring to life the buildings along St. Clair. Adding to festive atmosphere is the Hensville Park Christmas tree standing 45 feet tall lit with more than 10,000 lights and a special dancing light show synced to music on the Fleetwood’s building.

The lighting ceremony festivities begin at 4 p.m. It includes Santa Claus, family-friendly entertainment and activities plus performances by Toledo School for the Arts, Nye Dance Productions, and a special joint performance from the Ottawa Hills, Waite and Perrysburg High School American Sign Language Clubs. The Hensville Tree Lighting and Light Show will be hosted by DJ Ey from BookthatDJ.

The 200,000 dancing Hensville Lights and the 45-foot tree will be turned on at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Come early for dinner and drinks at Fleetwood’s Tap Room and Holy Toledo Tavern. Restaurants will feature holiday specials, hot chocolate bars (with spiked hot chocolate) and more!
The fun continues at the Huntington Center as the Toledo Walleye take on Kalamazoo at 7:15 p.m.

Hensville Lights to be even bigger this year, switch flips on Saturday

Hockey Fights Cancer Night, Toledo Walleye | Huntington Center | 7:15 p.m. puck drop

The Toledo Walleye are teaming up with the ECHL and Hockey Fights Cancer to raise awareness and money for cancer research during a special 'Hockey Fights Cancer Night.'

It’s a Purple-Out: Fans are encouraged to wear purple to support the cause. Ticket information can be found here.

The Walleye will wear purple Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys as they take on Kalamazoo. All game worn jerseys will be auctioned off live following the game, with proceeds to benefit the ProMedica Cancer Institute and the Walleye Wishing Well. 

Special edition 'Hockey Fights Cancer' fanwear and collectibles are available now at the Huntington Center Swamp Shop:

  • Toledo Walleye Hockey Fights Cancer Jersey
  • Toledo Walleye Hockey Fights Cancer T-Shirt
  • Toledo Walleye Hockey Fights Cancer Puck
  • Toledo Walleye Hockey Fights Cancer Jersey Puck
  • Toledo Walleye Hockey Fights Cancer Side by Side Puck
Walleye purple out fight cancer night
Toledo Walleye

Levis Commons Tree Lighting and Christmas Kickoff | 5 p.m. festivities start, 7 p.m. tree lighting

The annual Levis Commons Tree Lighting and Christmas Kickoff is back for its 16th year and is so cool this  year, it's FROZEN!

Schedule: 

5-8 p.m.: Visit with Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff

5-9 p.m.: Horse and carriage rides $5/person $10/family of four

5:50 p.m. - Santa arrives with a dancing entourage from PHS Dance Team and Perrysburg Twirling Sophisticates in the Taylor Automotive Family Trolley.

6-7 p.m. - Disney's "Frozen Jr." will be on stage bringing you an hour of your favorite "Frozen" music and fun from Act 2 Productions Toledo.

7 p.m. (appx.) - Count down to light the 50 foot tree

Victorian Gaslight Ball | Jones Mansion, Findlay | 4 p.m. festivities start, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.; dance workshop, 10 a.m.-noon

The Jones Mansion, 313 E. Sandusy St., Findlay, is hosting a Victorian themed Gaslight Ball for night of refreshments, enjoyment, and dancing in an atmosphere that can only be found at the unique venue.

The original builders of the mansion, the Jones family, where known to throw lavish parties and events when they lived in the home well over a century ago. Now you too, can journey back to the gaslight era and experience a rare night of Victorian entertainment in the original parlors of this historic landmark.
Included in the price of each ticket are dance lessons, d’oeuvres, a souvenir dance card, costumed serving staff to take care of your every need, and the rare opportunity to travel back to the gaslight era.

Guests are not required to wear historic attire however it is encouraged. However, because of the formal nature of the event guests who chose to wear modern clothing are asked to avoid casual attire such as jeans, T-shirts, and flipflops. Dancers, both male and female are asked to wear gloves so that delicate clothing may be protected.

A limited number of tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $35 per person. Tickets can be purchased only by calling the Jones Mansion at 419-427-6110. Leave a message, your call will be date and time stamped so that a first call, first served, policy can be adhered to. Proceeds from this event go toward the continued restoration and upkeep of the 1867 Jones Mansion.

The Jones Mansion Findlay
The Jones Mansion

SUNDAY

Sip and Shop | Majestic Oak Winery, Grand Rapids, Ohio | downtown Bowling Green | noon-3 p.m.

Admission is free to this seasonal Sip and Shop! Visit Majestic Oak Winery in Grand Rapids and sip a glass of wine or craft beer as you shop local artisan crafts and many of your favorite home party vendors. 

Shopping event in Grand Rapids, OH by Majestic Oak Winery on Sunday, November 24 2019 with 153 people interested.

Workshop: Screen Print Holiday Cards | Handmade Toledo, 1717 Adams St. | 1-2:30 p.m.

Create unique cards to give to family and friends - printed by you! This workshop for those 16 and older, is an introduction of how to print from a screen printing screen. Participants will learn how to hand-print from a screen while creating greeting cards using various provided images and phrases.

Each participant will leave the workshop having printed at least three cards. All non-toxic materials to participate in the workshop are provided. Cost is $35. You can purchase tickets online here

Handmade Toledo screen printing cards
Handmade Toledo is teaching people 16 and older how to create screen printed holiday cards. The workshop cost is $35.
Handmade Toledo