18th Annual Castleberry Fair
99 Fordham Road
Wilmington, MA 01887
Date: Nov. 29, 2013 – Dec. 1, 2014
One admission ticket gets you access to this entire three-day weekend of family fun. Arts and craft your way through Thanksgiving weekend with over 300 artisans who assemble each year just for this event at the Shriner’s Auditorium. Castleberry Fair is home to activities for children of all ages. Building the most unique gingerbread house and eating a window or two won’t be a problem, but don’t spoil dinner. Bring along your gift list because the fair is a perfect opportunity for finding unique handmade specialties of the highest quality; or “make your own” at one of the activity tables. And don’t forget the baked goods. Who could pass up cookies and cakes so fresh you can smell them the moment you enter the building? This colorful, exciting craft fair is in its eighteenth season, easily becoming a must-not-miss event for the holiday weekend.
16th Annual Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction
Rockwell Cage Gymnasium
120 Vassar St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Date: Nov. 29, 2013 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m
Here is an event the whole family can prepare for by attending Chain Reaction and coming up with your own display to exhibit next year. Teams from different areas within Massachusetts bring some of the coolest creative links to the MIT Museum. What is a link? Have you ever played dominoes or set up books or wooden blocks to fall against one another “linked” together in a design ? Consider it a real life version of the game ‘Mousetrap.’ Each team participating in Chain Reaction sets up their own display of tumbling objects linked to the next team’s display until the entire arena is one big Chain Reaction. This spectacular event has definitely sparked the creativity and ingenuity of many youngsters over the past 15 years and will do so again this year. Don’t let the kids this miss the event. The grand chain reaction is set to go off at 3:30 p.m.
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Citi Wang Theatre
270 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
Date: Nov. 20, 2013 through Dec. 8, 2014
“A Christmas Story, The Musical” is presented at the Wang Center by a hilarious troupe of actors determined to have the perfect gift under the tree this year. We all know Ralphie Parker wanted only one thing for Christmas, do you remember what it is? Simply refresh your memory by attending an off-the-wall comedy complete with lyrics and songs to make you giggle for the Thanksgiving weekend. Keep the experience alive by making a trip to the local library for the book the play is based on by Joseph Robinette. Once you’ve seen Ralphie in his latest gift from his aunt, you’ll be wishing you had a set of footie pajamas all your own. Nominated for three separate Tony Awards – Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score – three’s the magic number this Thanksgiving season.
ZooLights at the Stone Zoo
149 Pond St.
Stoneham, MA 02180
Date: Nov. 28 – Dec. 31, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Not only are both the Franklin Zoo and Stone Zoo offering half-price admission the day after Thanksgiving, but once again Santa will be in his castle ready to take children’s requests during the Thanksgiving weekend at the Stone Zoo. ZooLights opens at the Stone on Thanksgiving with a winter wonderland of twinkling tree lights. Begin the adventure the moment you arrive by plunging into Yukon Creek and meeting a pair of reindeer who’ve made friends with the bald eagles, foxes, a lumbering porcupine and swift-footed lynx. ZooLights is sure to put the family into the holiday spirit, delighting children of all ages.
20th Anniversary of the Festival of Trees
13 Branch St.
Methuen, MA 01844
Date: Nov. 23 – Dec. 7, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Share the Magic with other families and friends among the 200 decorated trees donated by individuals, families and organizations. Join in the treasure hunt beneath the boughs that could send the family on a very special vacation trip to Ireland. It’s the Emerald Anniversary of the festival of trees, so no wonder its favorite color is green this Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy mini tree raffles, pictures with Santa Claus, magic shows, sing-a-longs and even a surprise visit from Wally the Green Monster our own Red Sox team mascot. A mad scientist sets up his lab among the holiday trees mid weekend, and a wonderful array of treats and home-cooked Turkey fixings will be waiting just in case the family decides to spend the day.
Freelance Writer Corinne Costantino brings the “Best of Boston” to New England. Her work can be found on Examiner.com