Your weekly planner of Chattanooga-area events (including ‘Nutcracker,’ elf workshop, ugly sweaters)

Tennessee Aquarium Photo / Scuba Claus dives in the Tennessee Aquarium's River Giants exhibit on select Saturdays in December.

Here's what's happening in the Chattanooga area this week.


Two talents with ties to the Chattanooga area are featured in Opry Country Christmas this month. Separate from Grand Ole Opry shows, Opry Country Christmas performances shine a spotlight on holiday favorites by Opry stars. "American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina of Rossville had a one-night-only appearance on Dec. 1. Crossville, Tennessee, native Mandy Barnett, who originated the title role in the jukebox musical "Always ... Patsy Cline" at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, appears each night in the limited run. Shows start at 7 p.m. CST Sundays and Thursdays through Dec. 15, then Wednesday and Thursday in the week leading up to Christmas. Tickets start at $55. Learn more at


AREA 61 GALLERY -- 721 Broad St. "Horse Show" by sculptor Rick Booth, through Dec. 12.

ATHENS ARTS CENTER -- 320 N. White St., Athens, Tenn. Student Art Show and "Free Hill: Renewal and Rememory" exhibit, through Dec. 12.

COLONNADE -- 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, Ga. Sixty paintings by Civic Arts League artists, through Dec. 16.

ED LEWIS STUDIO -- 6526 Harrison Pike. Show and sale of artist's wood-turned crafts, including pens, bowls and wall hangings, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4 (final day). 423-240-6567

FRANKLIN COUNTY ARTS GUILD -- The Artisan Depot, 204 E. Cumberland St., Cowan, Tenn. "Recycled and Reimagined" community show, through Jan. 29.

GALLERY AT BLACKWELL -- 71 Eastgate Loop. Photographic Society of Chattanooga's fall/holiday show, through Feb. 3.


-- Dec. 8: Vision + Verse: Ripples of "Memories & Inspiration," featuring Black poets, dancers and actors, 6-7 p.m. Free.

-- Dec. 11: Sunday Studio: Mini Maker Market, hands-on holiday craft projects to gift or decorate at home. Regular admission.

INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART -- UTC's Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St. "Infinite Expansion of the Rubber Band Mansion," by Jamie Isenstein, through Dec. 16.

IN-TOWN GALLERY -- 26A Frazier Ave. "I Am Woman" by Miki Boni, through Dec. 31.

NORTHSIDE GALLERY -- Northside Presbyterian Church, 923 Mississippi Ave. Works by 12 artists of Mountain Arts Guild of Signal Mountain, through Dec. 19. 423-266-1766

RISING FAWN STUDIO TOUR -- New Salem community of Lookout Mountain, Ga. Three-mile route to visit five studios with works by at least 10 artists, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 10-11.

RIVER GALLERY -- 400 E. Second St.

-- Dec. 10: Ceramic demonstration by Pat Magers, 1-4 p.m.

-- Through Dec. 31: Works by Curtiss Brock, Scott Hill and Tania Hill.


CHATTANOOGA BALLET -- Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

-- Dec. 4: "Behind the Curtain at 'The Nutcracker'" preview includes photos with the cast, an interactive reading of the story and an exclusive look at the costumes and props, with cocktails and child-friendly treats, 4-5:30 p.m. $20-$40 (must buy online).

-- Dec. 9-11: Performances of "The Nutcracker," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 p.m. Dec. 11. $19-$75.

CHATTANOOGA DANCE THEATRE -- 5151 Austin Road, Hixson.

-- Dec. 11: "Clara's Tea," to introduce young audiences to "The Nutcracker," with tea and cookies, crafts, mini performance of "Nooga Nutcracker" and photos with characters, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. $22-$28.

-- Dec. 17: Full performances of "Nooga Nutcracker," the classic tale set in present-day Chattanooga and featuring several forms of dance, 2 and 7:30 p.m. at UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Dr. Roland Carter St. $22-$28.

CIVIC BALLET OF CHATTANOOGA AND MASSARI WOOD DANCE CENTER -- UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Dr. Roland Carter St. "The Nutcracker," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $17-$20.


GEM THEATRE -- 114 N. Wall St., Calhoun. Ga. Free movie series; donations welcome. Concessions available.

-- Dec. 4: "It's a Wonderful Life," 4 and 7 p.m.

-- Dec. 10: "Elf," 1 and 7 p.m.

-- Dec. 19: "White Christmas" sing-along, 1 and 7 p.m.

IMAX THEATER -- 201 Chestnut St. "The Polar Express," daily through Dec. 26 (closed Christmas Day); times vary. $8-$10. PJs and Polar, see the movie in your pajamas and meet the conductor, 9:15-11:45 a.m. Dec. 17. $13-$20.

RINGGOLD DEPOT -- 155 Depot St., Ringgold, Ga. Screening of "The Polar Express" for Downhome Christmas Movie Night, 7 p.m. Concessions available. Free admission; donations welcome. Children 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Old eyeglasses will be received for recycling. 706-935-3061.


ADVENT CONCERT SERIES -- St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St. Organist Paul Thomas, the church's director of music, performs works by Franck, Bach and Messiaen, 12:05-12:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Soup lunch follows for $6. Basket in the back for donations of winter hats, gloves, scarves and socks for Chattanooga Community Kitchen. Monetary donations support the concert series.

ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION BENEFIT -- Miller-Motte College, 6397 Lee Highway. Jay Allen & Friends concert, featuring contestant from NBC's "The Voice," 6:30-10 p.m. Dec. 8. Arts and crafts fair, 4-7 p.m., plus photos with Santa and the Grinch. Free.

ATHENS CITY MIDDLE SCHOOL -- 200 Keith Lane, Athens, Tenn. Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra holiday concert, 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Part of Athens Area Council for the Arts' Bicentennial Celebration Performance Season. $20-$30.


-- Dec. 5: Chattanooga Super Sessions with host Nathan Bell; musical guests Craig Pratt, Gordon Inman and Pate Russell; special appearance by Krampus, half-goat, half-demon beast from German folklore, 7 p.m. Free; donations welcome.

-- Dec. 10: Soft Animal presents Slothrust with Moonkalf, 8 p.m. $20-$25.

BARRELHOUSE BALLROOM -- Five Wits Brewing, 1501 Long St.

-- Dec. 7: Ugly Christmas Sweater Party with performances by Gayle and Charlieonnafriday, 7 p.m. Donate a teddy bear to Forgotten Child Fund for tickets (while supplies last), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 5 at Hits 96, 2615 S. Broad St.

-- Dec. 8: Giovannie & The Hired Guns, with Classless Act, 9 p.m. $20-$25.

-- Dec. 9: Paul Cauthen: Country Coming Down fall tour, with The Kernal, $25.

-- Dec. 10: Behold the Brave, with Sweettalker, 9 p.m. $15-$18.

THE CAVERNS -- 555 Charlie Roberts Road, Pelham, Tenn. Sunn O))) Shoshin Duo, 9 p.m. CST Dec. 10. $59 and up.

CHATTANOOGA THEATRE CENTRE -- 400 River St. Premier Jazz Orchestra Christmas concert, featuring vocalist Valerie Duke, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13. Come early for pictures with Santa. $15-$20.

CHOO CHOO CHORUS -- Ringgold High School auditorium, 29 Tiger Trail, Ringgold, Ga. "A Family Christmas," concert of sacred and secular music, 4 p.m. Dec. 10. $15.

CHRISTMAS CLASSICS TOUR -- Spring Creek Road Baptist Church, 1312 Spring Creek Road. Christian recording artist Jamie Kimmett in concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 4.

DALTON CONVENTION CENTER -- 2211 Tony Ingle Parkway, Dalton, Ga. Chattanooga & Cleveland Firefighters Association benefit concert featuring Little Texas, 6-11:30 p.m. Dec. 4. $28. Choose Chattanooga Local 820 or Cleveland Local 3748 to benefit from ticket donation.

DARYL MOSLEY CONCERTS -- Grand Ole Opry veteran performs two area shows Dec. 4: 11 a.m. CST at Lee Station Baptist Church, 10109 Old State Highway 28, Pikeville, Tenn.; 7 p.m. at Bartlebaugh Baptist Church, 6129 Champion Road, Chattanooga.

HANDEL'S "MESSIAH" -- First Presbyterian Church, 554 McCallie Ave. Chattanooga Symphony & Orchestra, CSO Chorus, Choral Arts of Chattanooga and First Presbyterian Church Choir perform selections from the composer's 1714 oratorio, including its "Hallelujah Chorus," 3 p.m. Dec. 4 (sing-along). $10-$25.

HANDEL'S "MESSIAH" -- Chattanooga First Seventh-day Adventist Church, 7450 Standifer Gap Road. Community sing-along led by Southern Adventist University's director of orchestral activities, Redmer Cadwallader, with guest soloists, 3 p.m. Dec. 11. Free but an offering will be received. Bring your own score if you have one. 423-605-2468

SCENIC CITY CHORUS -- Spring Creek Road Baptist Church auxiliary building, 1312 Spring Creek Road. Guest nights for visitors to see if they'd like to sing barbershop harmonies with Chattanooga chapter of Sweet Adelines International, 6:30-9 p.m. Dec. 5 and 12 (or any Monday beginning in January).

SONGBIRDS -- 35 Station St.

-- Dec. 7: Mike Zito, 7 p.m. $25.

-- Dec. 9: Kandi Lake, Monsoon and Listening Skulls, 8 p.m. $10-$12.

-- Dec. 10: An Evening With John McEuen & John Cable, 8 p.m. $30-$35.


ASIAN LANTERN FESTIVAL -- Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave. Seasonal light display features 38 custom fixtures showcasing the zoo's resident animals, 6-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday through Jan. 15 (closed holidays). $16-$18 members, $18-$21 nonmembers. Reserve tickets online.

BODE FOR THE HOLIDAYS -- Bode Chattanooga, 730 Chestnut St. Holiday pop-up features holiday decor, themed food and drink offerings at Dawn cafe and market (opens at 8 a.m.) and Dusk cocktail bar (opens at 3 p.m.) Dec. 9-31.

CANDLELIGHT TOURS -- Gordon-Lee Mansion, 217 Cove Road, Chickamauga, Ga. Self-guided, Christmas-themed tours of historic house used by both sides in the Civil War, with music, homemade cookies, hot apple cider, 6-8 p.m. Dec. 9-10. $2-$10.

CANDLELIGHT TOURS -- Chief Vann House, 82 Highway 225 North, Chatsworth, Ga. House adorned with greenery and decorations inspired by the Christmases celebrated by the Moravian missionaries who operated a school for Cherokee children from 1800 to 1835, with live music and authentic snacks of spiced apple cider and ginger cookies, 5-9 p.m. Dec. 9-10 (arrive no later than 8 p.m. for full experience). All decor, except candlelight, may be viewed during regular operating hours through Dec. 24. $7.

CANDLELIGHT TOURS -- Marsh House, 308 N. Main St., LaFayette, Ga. Historically accurate tours of home decorated in the style of Christmas in the 1880s end with hot cider and ginger cookies, 6-8 p.m. Dec. 10-11, 17-18. $5 donation requested. Must make reservations: 706-638-5187

CHATTANOOGA HOLIDAY MARKET -- Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza. Chattanooga Market's indoor gift festival, with live music and other entertainment, Dec. 4, 10-11, 17-18 (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays). Free admission.

CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK -- Dowdy Park, 170 Veterans Memorial Drive, Summerville, Ga. Lighting of Christmas tree, visits with Santa, best-dressed elf and ugly sweater contests, Christmas cookie baking contest, live performances, vendors, bonfire, free refreshments, bicycle giveaway, free tours of Couey House, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 9.

THE COMEDY CATCH -- 29 Station St.

-- Dec. 7: Open Mic Night for new talents, 7:30 p.m. $7.

-- Dec. 8: Gianmarco Soresi special engagement, 7:30 p.m. $25-$30.

-- Dec. 9-10: Trixx, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. $17-$19.

CREATIVE DISCOVERY MUSEUM -- 321 Chestnut St. Gingerbread workshops, weekends through Dec. 18 (choice of times). $44 members, $55 nonmembers.

DAYTON ICE RINK -- Centennial Park, 391 Second Ave., Dayton, Tenn. Outdoor ice rink, through Feb. 28 (schedule varies). $10 ages 13 and older, $8 younger skaters. 423-775-9847

ENCHANTED GARDEN OF LIGHTS -- Rock City, 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, Ga. More than a million LED lights throughout the park, Christmas Market and seated dinner in Santa's Workshop & Kitchen on select dates, timed entry 4:30-9:45 p.m. through Jan. 1 (closed Christmas Eve). $26-$32 adults, $16-$22 children 3-12 depending on date. Tickets must be purchased in advance online.

HOLIDAY GIFTS MARKET -- Ooltewah Farmers Market at Ooltewah Nursery, 5829 Main St. Handmade arts and crafts, fresh and prepared foods, 3-5 p.m. Dec. 8, 15, 22.

HOLIDAY WINDOW TREASURE HUNT -- North Shore merchants along Frazier Avenue and connector streets. NorthShore Merchants Collective's eighth annual adventure to find an unlikely "hidden" object in the window of 23 participating stores, through Jan. 3. Turn in completed game cards, with minimum $1 contribution to Northside Neighborhood House, for chance to win one of three gift baskets valued at $400.


-- Dec. 9: Holiday Jubilee, with live entertainment, complimentary hot chocolate, cider and cookies, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus (use your camera), 5-8 p.m. Free.

-- Dec. 9: Elf Workshop during Jubilee, 5-7:30 p.m. in the Green Room; parents must stay with children. $15 includes craft kits for kids.

-- Dec. 10-17: Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus, with photo-ops in the Silver Ballroom, 9-11:30 a.m. $20-$30.

HOLIDAYS UNDER THE PEAKS -- Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St. Includes Scuba Claus in the River Journey building's freshwater exhibits, 2 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17, plus festive music and Christmas tree illuminated by the discharges of electric eel Miguel Wattson, through Dec. 31 (closed Christmas Day). $22-$35.

ICE ON THE LANDING -- Chattanooga Choo Choo Gardens, 1400 Market St. Outdoor ice skating rink, through Jan. 29 (schedule varies but open holidays). $12 adults, $10 children 12 and younger (includes skate rentals). New this year: online ticket purchase.

NOOGALIGHTS -- Chester Frost Park, 2277 N. Gold Point Circle. Half-hour, drive-thru holiday show of lights and fog, 5:30 p.m. daily through Dec. 31 (closed Christmas Day). $30 per car; must purchase tickets online.

MISTLETOE MARKET -- Camp Jordan, 323 Camp Jordan Parkway, East Ridge. More than 150 arts, crafts, food and merchandise vendors, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 11. Free admission and parking.

MOUNTAIN COUNTRY CHRISTMAS IN LIGHTS -- Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiwassee, Ga. Light show with music, arts, crafts, food, entertainment, photo ops, visits with Santa Claus, 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 23 (open Thursday-Saturday through Dec. 10, every night Dec. 15-23). Craft show opens at 4 p.m. Saturdays only. $7 (free for children under 12).

SANTA'S HOLIDAY MARKET -- Mountain Heights Venue, 1298 Hendon Road, Soddy-Daisy. More than 20 craft vendors and food trucks, photos with Santa, raffle to win use of venue, 1-6 p.m. Dec. 4.

SANTA'S WONDERLAND -- Bass Pro Shops, 1000 Bass Pro Drive. Photo sessions by reservation through Dec. 24. Free 4x6 photo; purchase options for others.

SANTA'S WORKSHOP -- Bradley Square Mall, 200 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland, Tenn. (inside Story Land near Claire's and Hibbett Sports). Photos through Dec. 24. Walk in, or reserve a time online to receive a phone call from Santa. Final Pet Night 4-7 p.m. Dec. 6.

SANTA'S WORKSHOP -- Dalton Mall, 816 Walnut Square Blvd., Dalton, Ga. Santa photos, through Dec. 24. Walk in, or reserve a time online to receive a phone call from Santa.

SANTA'S WORKSHOP -- Hamilton Place, 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd. (lower level at Center Court). Photos through Dec. 24. Walk in, or reserve a time online to receive a phone call from Santa. Ginger Brown Dance Studio performs, 2-4 p.m. Dec. 4. Pet photos, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 5, 12, 19. New Hope Elementary Choir performs, 10:30-11 a.m. Dec. 7. Black Santa poses for photos, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 7-8. Infinity Dance Connection performs, 11 a.m.-noon Dec. 10. Artistic Generation Dance Complex performs, 2-4 p.m. Dec. 11.

SANTA'S WORKSHOP -- Northgate Mall, 271 Northgate Mall Drive, Hixson. Photos through Dec. 24. Walk-ins welcome, or reserve a time online to receive a phone call from Santa. Pet Nights, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 5, Dec. 12.

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING -- Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave. Food, drink, entertainment, visits with Santa Claus, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 10.

SODDY-DAISY CHRISTMAS PARADE -- On Dayton Pike from Harrison Lane to Sequoyah Access Road. Judged floats, marching bands, dancers, decorated vehicles and Santa Claus, 2 p.m. Dec. 4. 423-718-1735

SPIRIT NIGHT -- The Crossing Church, 7501 Standifer Gap Road. Special guest is author and pastor Alex Seeley, co-founder of Nashville church The Belonging Co, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

UGLY SWEATER BAR CRAWL -- North Shore bars. Second annual event, 3-10 p.m. Dec. 10. $18-$23.

WINTER WONDERLAND ADULT FORMAL -- Tennessee Valley Theatre, 184 W. Jackson Ave., Spring City, Tenn. Includes hors d'oeuvres, door prizes, photographer, 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Theme is "1940s-'50s," but era dress is not required. $25 couples, $15 singles, $5 per drink (three drink maximum).

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS -- Downtown Summerville, Ga. Entertainment by carolers, musicians and Victorian-era characters, children's stories and activities, vendor market with crafts and food, chance to win $500 by visiting participating merchants, 12:30-4 p.m. Dec. 4 (final day).

(READ MORE: Your 2022 Chattanooga-area fall festival guide)


ATHENS ARTS CENTER -- 320 N. White St., Athens, Tenn. "Miracle on 34th Street," 2 p.m. Dec. 4, 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 2 p.m. Dec. 10. $15-$20.

BACK ALLEY PRODUCTIONS -- Mars Theatre, 117 N. Chattanooga St., LaFayette, Ga. "A Christmas Carol," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10-11. $13-$16.


-- Through Dec. 18: "Every Christmas Story Ever Told," 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. $20-$25.

  photo  Photo by Brad Cansler / Appearing in the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s production of "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)" are, from left, Tae Brasel, Marcus Wagner, Magge Hudgins, Jamie Gienapp and Dawn Hendrix.

-- Dec. 9-18: "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical," 7 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $15-$20.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY PLAYHOUSE -- 221 Tennessee Ave., Crossville, Tenn.

-- Through Dec. 17: "Johnny and the Devil's Box." $16-$30.

-- Through Dec. 21: "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," $10-$26.

DALTON LITTLE THEATRE -- 210 N. Pentz St., Dalton, Ga. "DLT's Twisted Holiday Shorts (The Slings and Arrows of Holiday Cheer)," 7 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 2 p.m. Dec. 11, 7 p.m. Dec. 16-17. $10-$15.

YELLOW DRAGON PRODUCTIONS -- St. Luke United Methodist Church, 3210 Social Circle. "A Tuna Christmas," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 2 p.m. Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-17, 2 p.m. Dec. 18. $10-$16.

Find more events, and add your own, at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.