Here are some special Putnam and Westchester County 2011 holiday season events for the whole family to enjoy.
1. "Candlelight Tour" of Washington Irving's Sunnyside in Tarrytown (Dec. 17)
This tour, conducted annually for more than 20 years by Historic Hudson Valley, starts with a trip down a lantern-lit path to the legendary author's cottage. A walk through the charming, candle-lit interior of the home, decorated with evergreens and holly, follows. Much of Irving's furniture and belongings have survived along with original documents such as manuscripts, Christmas tales and family correspondence. On display in Irving's master bedroom, the room where he passed away, are his bible and a framed photograph of Matilda Hoffmanm, his fiancee, who died at the age of 17 from consumption.
Visitors are invited to sing along with hostesses garbed in period costumes to holiday favorites played by a guide on a 1830-era piano. The tour concludes with "a nice spot of fresh hot cider alongside a roaring fire," said event representative Rob Schweitzer.
The cottage tours run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 17 and start approximately every ten minutes. Reservations must be purchased online at www.hudsonvalley.org in advance. Admission costs are $14 (adults), members receive a $5 discount; $6 (children 5-17). Free for children under 5. Several tours are already sold out.
Washington Irving's Sunnyside is located at 3 West Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown. 914-631-8200.
2. "Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" at the Westchester County Center in White Plains (Dec. 17-18)
The 16th consecutive annual performance of "The Nutcracker" will be performed by the 60-year-old Westchester Ballet Company at Westchester County Center in White Plains. The cast merges professional guest soloists with a large cast of student dancers representing many local dance studios, schools and companies.
Admission costs for tickets bought in advance are $20 for adults; $14 for children (ages 2 through 10); and $14 for seniors (age 60 and up). All tickets cost $25 if bought on the day of the performance. Group discounted tickets are available for schools and other groups, disadvantaged children and people with special needs.
Tickets can be purchased at the County Center box office, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster online or by calling (800) 745-3000, or at all Ticketmaster outlets.
3. Westchester Philharmonic's "Winter Pops" at Purchase College (Dec. 18)
The Westchester Philharmonic will return to the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College for its fifth annual "Winter Pops," featuring selections from Broadway's Carousel, West Side Story, Street Scene, Kiss Me Kate, and more. Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, referred to by The New York Times as “the most accomplished Broadway ingénue to emerge in years” will be joined by baritone Ben Davis, who most recently appeared in Knickerbocker Holiday at Lincoln Center.
Both performers will be led by conductor Ted Sperling, a New Rochelle native. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards (with Adam Guettel and Bruce Coughlin) for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director.
Different artists are recognized each year. Last year, the work of Marvin Hamlish was performed. Previous seasons have featured Barbara Cook and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The previous annual four performances sold out.
Single ticket prices range from $25 to $90. Student, child and group discounts are available. To purchase tickets or for additional information call the Westchester Philharmonic box office at 914-682-3707, ext. 10. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards are accepted.
The concert will be held in The Concert Hall at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m.
4. Putnam Arts Council's Annual "Juried Craft Show" at Mahopac (Dec. 15-18)
Back for its 17th year, this juried show presented by the Putnam Arts Council at the Belle Levine Art Center in Mahopac features the work of regional artisans and offers for sale under one roof: jewelry, apparel, ceramics, accessories, woodworking, gourmet food, affordable art and more.
Also offered for sale this year will be framed artwork from students at the Ferncliff Manor School for Adaptive and Integrative Learning, Craft Show co-chairperson Doreen Lesley said. Visa and MasterCard credit cards will be accepted. Free admission and free parking. Hours: noon to 5 p.m.
The Belle Levine Art Center is at 521 Kennicut Hill Road, Mahopac. Venue phone: 845-278-0230. www.putnamartscouncil.com. 845-803-8622.
5. Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition's "The Art of the Holidays - A Festival of Trees" At Brewster (Dec. 17-18)
This is an exhibition of holiday decorated trees for viewing coupled with receptions on Dec. 17 and 18, hosted by The Town Of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition (TOSCAC) in Brewster. The coalition was created in August, 2010 to promote cultural arts in the region and support the renovation of the Southeast Old Town Hall, a historic landmark in Brewster, built in 1896. The tree-decorating exhibitions take place at The Studio Around the Corner in Brewster.
The Dec. 17 opening-day reception will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. and will include music plus an appearance by award-winning Broadway musical director, Don Pippin. The Dec. 18 reception, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will also have musical performances by local entertainers.
Tree decoration is being provided by:
- Local artists including Margaret Foxmore, Michelle Peterson, Andrea Stroud-Stubbs, Joe Lambert and Erin Meagher
- The Brewster Theater Company, The Prelude Ballet Ensemble, The Southeast Museum, Longview School, and the Putnam Chorale.
A silent auction is planned for ornaments used for each tree and other ornaments donated in support of the Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition and for on-going maintenance of The Studio Around the Corner.
The trees will also be available for viewing on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Dec. 24 and 31 from noon to 2 p.m. The ornaments can be purchased on Jan. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Refreshments and live entertainment will be offered on all dates.
Southeast Old Town Hall and the Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition are at 67 Main Street, Brewster. The Studio Around the Corner is also at 67 Main Street, Suite 101, Brewster. For more information, go to www.oththeater.org.