Baltimore lights up for the holiday season

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Carol Sorgen

Charm City is never as charming as it is this time of year, when it puts on its party clothes to celebrate the holidays. Why don’t you do the same and enjoy some of Baltimore’s favorite traditions — and maybe find a few new ones of your own?

Bromo Seltzer projections

Summertime has open-air movies in Little Italy, and wintertime now has the colorful illuminations of artist and graphic designer Kelley Bell atop the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. The winter-themed creation is projected from three of the four clock faces of the tower so that moving images shine on downtown Baltimore.

The projections can be seen from dusk until dawn through Dec. 12. For more information, visit www.bromoseltzertower.com.

Power Plant light show

From now through Dec. 31, the Power Plant lights up the Inner Harbor with a magical display of lights, lasers, music and more. Don’t miss this “electrifying” attraction! Find out more at www.itsawaterfrontlife.org.

Festival of Trees

Get a head start on Christmas at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, Nov. 25-27. This annual three-day extravaganza dazzles with its fairyland forests, gingerbread towns and toy train gardens, more than 100 craft boutiques, and a line-up of nightly entertainment. Learn more at http://festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org.

Chanukah House

The Chanukah House has a new location, but the same festive display of lights. Stop by 6721 Greenspring Ave. through the month of December, weather permitting. There is no fee, but donations are welcomed.

For more information, visit www.thechanukahhouse.com.

Holidaytrain festival

Celebrate the holiday season at Baltimore’s largest holiday display of toy and model train layouts from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31. If there’s a little one in your life, take note that Santa arrives by locomotive to the Roundhouse at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 25.

Weekend train rides and photo opportunities with Santa will go on through Dec. 21; then Frosty the Snowman moves in through Dec. 31. For more information, go to www.borail.org.

Artful shopping

Skip the malls and head to the American Visionary Art Museum on Saturday, Nov. 26, for BAZAART — the American Visionary Art Museum’s Annual Holiday Marketplace of original creations by over 50 regional artists and craftspeople featuring painting, sculpture, paper crafts, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, mixed media, and other work that simply defies categorization! Admission is free. More details available at www.avam.org.

Parade of Lighted Boats

Baltimore’s nautical spirit shines during the annual Parade of Lighted Boats, taking place Dec. 3, starting at 6 p.m. More than 50 boats and pleasure crafts festooned with holiday lights make their way from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to Fell’s Point. Find out more at www.fpyc.net.

WashingtonMonumentlighting

The official lighting of our Washington Monument on Dec. 1 once again features an evening of choir performances, strolling entertainment and more. The event ends with a colorful fireworks finale choreographed to music. Visit www.promotionandarts.com to learn more.

A Chinese Chanukah

Join the Jewish Museum of Maryland on Dec. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. as it celebrates all things Chinese at its annual family event. Play mah-jongg, make Chinese lanterns and origami, and enjoy Chinese treats as the museum pays tribute to its landmark exhibition, “Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture and American Jewish Identity.” RSVP to Ilene Dackman-Alon, (410) 732-6400, x. 214; or email idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org. Tickets are $10 for JMM member families; $15 for nonmember families.

Night tour of Fort McHenry

Discover how Yuletide celebrations and Fort McHenry’s role changed over time. Join the Park Rangers on Dec. 3 for an exciting walk through the War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and World War II and a rare glimpse of Fort McHenry at night! Tours are free and last approximately 45 minutes.

Mayor’s Christmas Parade

It’s not holiday season in Baltimore without a trip to Hampden, ‘hon. This year’s Mayor’s Christmas Parade is set for Dec. 4, and features the Baltimore Marching Ravens, Harley Davidson motorcycles and marching bands. See more at www.mayorschristmasparade.com.

Kwanzaa Family Day

Inspired by “Hand Held: Personal Arts from Africa,” this year’s celebration of community and family on Dec. 28 at the Baltimore Museum of Art features a special performance by Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company and fascinating stories brought to life by actress Maria Broom, featured on the Beacon’s August cover. For more information, visit www.artbma.org.

Kwanzaa Crafts and Dancing

Red, black and green — celebrate the colors of Kwanzaa from Dec. 28-30 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum with fun-filled activities for the family. Learn Kwanzaa traditions while working on craft projects. Dance to traditional African music and enjoy a live performance from Farafina Kan, a professional West African percussion orchestra from Washington, D.C. More details at www.africanamericanculture.org.

New Year’s Eve Spectacular

Ring out the old, ring in the new, with a celebration offering a night of live music and the countdown to 2011 starting at  9 p.m. at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, and a fireworks display that is the largest in the region. The choreographed fireworks show starts at the stroke of midnight. For more information, visit www.bop.org.

From all of us to all of you, have a healthy and happy holiday season!