A weekend of WinterFest

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Holidays: Mother Nature may be holding out on the snow, but there are plenty of activities to help stir the holiday spirit

Los Alamos is offering a hearty dose of holiday spirit with WinterFest 2012 this weekend.
WinterFest commences on Friday, with the 19th annual Los Alamos Crèche Show, which is held annually on the first weekend of December.
Crèches,” or nativity scenes featuring the Christ child, are displayed by Los Alamos residents, for all to see. Because Los Alamos’ residents come from all over the world, there is always a myriad of crèches on display. The show will be from 2-8 p.m. Friday and again from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-Los Alamos Ward, located at 1967 18th St., off Spruce St. and 15th. Those wishing to display their crèches should bring them to the church early Friday morning and may pick them up after the Saturday show. Free entry includes refreshments, live music and an area for children to play.
Then at 7 p.m. Friday, Dance Arts Los Alamos will help kick off WinterFest with a performance of “Hansel and Gretel” — a full-length ballet that continues on Saturday and Sunday. Visit danceartlosalamos.org for times and other details or call 672-9462. The performance takes place at Duane Smith Auditorium.
Now through Jan. 5, works of art ranging from jewelry to photography will be on sale in time for holiday gift giving, during the Affordable Arts show. As the name implies, handmade works of art from more than 130 Northern New Mexico artists are priced starting at $1, with no piece of art priced higher than $250. The Affordable Arts show is hosting a holiday open house from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, with complimentary cider and cookies, which preempts the holiday light parade. Fuller Lodge Art Center is at 2132 Central Ave. The event is free. For more information, visit fullerlodgeartcenter.com or call 662-1635.
Burn off calories from the many holiday treats while helping local youth at the Holiday Half Marathon and Festive 5K Saturday. Both the half marathon and 5K run/walk begin at 9 a.m., with check in at
8 a.m. Registration is $70 for the half marathon and $40 for the 5K. Youth 16 years and younger may register for $10 for the 5K or $20 for the half marathon. Registration is available online at laymca.org. The first 100 participants will receive a stocking cap. Proceeds from the event directly benefit the Los Alamos YMCA’s efforts to help kids participate in youth sports. Call or email Jeremy Smith for details at 662-3100 or jsmith@laymca.org.
The historic Fuller Lodge will host a free open house, complete with live dancing and choral performances, complimentary posole, cookies and punch. Christmas wreaths and items from the Historical Museum will be on sale. The free event takes place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Contact Marlane at 663-0477 for more information.
Get a start on holiday gift giving for the person who has everything at the annual Earth Treasure Show from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The free show features a silent auction, gems and minerals, stone jewelry for sale, crafts, fossils, mineral ID booth, wheel of fortune and much more for the whole family. The Los Alamos Geological Society is sponsoring the show. The Earth Treasure Show will be at the Masonic Temple on Canyon Road and 15th St. Contact Paul Bradley at ppbradpp@aol.com for details.
Kids can have a heart-to-heart with Santa and share their Christmas wish lists during the “Kids Talk with Santa” event from 11 a.m.-4 pm. Saturday at CB Fox. The event is free.
Whether they’re crafty or “craftsy,” kids can make free holiday decorations at Mesa Public Library’s “Holiday Crafts for Kids” event, from noon to 2 p.m.  Call the library at 662-8240 for more information.
The annual WinterFest Light Parade on Central Avenue, will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday. Lighted floats will be decorated around this year’s theme, “Fairytales and Fantasies.” The annual lighting of the tree at Ashley Pond follows the parade. For more information on the free event, contact Suzette Fox at 661-4844.
From seeing holiday lights to hearing holiday music, the Los Alamos Community Winds group will present a Holiday Prism Concert with special guest, Morrie Pongratz, who will narrate the musical, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Guests will also be serenaded by the sounds of the String Theory; Clarinet Choir; Brass Quartet; Guitar Duo; and Flute Duo. The event immediately follows the parade at 7 p.m. and is free. For details, contact Los Alamos Community Winds at info@lacw.org or visit lacw.org. The event will be at the White Rock Baptist Church, 80 N.M. 4.
A German-style event known as Christkindlemarket is coming to Los Alamos, thanks to the efforts of Zachary Bouck and Blair Braden of Denver Wealth Management. The free event will be from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, outdoors in downtown Los Alamos. Braden was raised in Los Alamos and wanted to bring the holiday event to town. The event features arts and crafts for sale, along with German food, including bratwurst and lebkuchen (a Christmas cookie), and Glüwhein, a hot-spiced wine. Vendor booths are still available in exchange for a good or service valued between $10 to $20. The good or service will be raffled off as a door prize. Call 720-496-2321 for information.
Finally, from 5-7 p.m. Sunday, luminarias and holidays lights will set the tone during the annual North Pole Workshop and Luminaria Walk at the Los Alamos Posse Lodge and North Mesa Stables. Take professional digital photographs with Santa and his elves, and enjoy warm drinks, light refreshments and a complimentary holiday craft. The event is free however, Santa photos are $5 each. Dress warmly and bring comfortable walking shoes or boots. The Posse Lodge is located at 650 North Mesa.
WinterFest is presented by Los Alamos MainStreet and sponsored by COMPA Industries, Los Alamos National Bank, and the Education Plan.
While visiting Los Alamos, the neighboring Valles Caldera National Preserve is offering cross country skiing and snowshoeing from 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. with easy access to more than 5,000 acres of the Valle Grande.
No reservations are required. Cost is $10 per adult for a day pass or $8 per youth (5-15 years old). Sleigh/wagon rides are also available beginning Dec. 21, consisting of a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historical headquarters of the Valle Grande.
Dress in winter gear, as temperatures are cold. For more information on these or any other activities at the Preserve, visit vallescaldera.gov or call 866-382-5537.
For more information on events, lodging or other questions about Los Alamos, visit losalamosnm.us.