Looking to escape town this weekend, maybe even for just a few hours? We've got a few suggestions for you here.


WHERE Smyrna Opera House, 7 W. South St., Smyrna

WHEN 7 p.m., Saturday

COST $15

INFO www.smyrnaoperahouse.org

The Smyrna Opera House is opening December with "The Holly and the Ivy: A Festival of Holiday Carols," featuring the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware. The award-winning group, under the direction of Eugene Lavery, is ready to cajole audiences into the Christmas spirit.

SOH Executive Director David Keller said the choir is impressive both on and off the stage.

"The Choir does amazing work with disadvantaged children living in Wilmington, exposing them to musical experiences that they might not otherwise receive," Keller said. "I toured the facility firsthand and was able to spend time with several of the students who shared their touching stories of how much the after-school educational program means to them."

Keller added that by attending this show, the community also gets to support after-school programs, since the money raised will go directly back into those efforts.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and by donations from a broad base of public agencies, corporations and individual supporters.

The Cathedral School of Delaware is a unique after-school program that combines professional choral training, piano and voice lessons, leadership development, academic tutoring and one-on-one mentoring. The CCS students then often perform alongside the adults of the Cathedral Choir, which was established in 1883 and still serves as an example of the Anglican choral tradition in the United States.

Delaware vineyard supports local merchants and artists

WHERE Nassau Valley Vineyards, 32165 Winery Way

WHEN 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday


INFO www.nassauvalley.com

Sunday, Delaware's own award-winning winery, Nassau Valley Vineyards is going to do its best to "keep it local" by hosting a holiday trunk show showcasing small businesses. The day will also feature free wine tasting, a fashion show, home beer-brewing demonstrations and a meet and greet with the vineyard's current exhibiting artist.

Nassau Valley Vineyard co-owner Peggy Raley-Ward said that for her, "going local" means more than just small business support. It also includes using sustainable resources, employing local people and serving local customers. And, Sunday's events will allow the Vineyard to do just that.

NVV Co-owner Suzette Hopkins went on to give some specifics of the day.
"We will include tastings of our limited cache of 2010 Nassau Valley Blueberry Reserve, our semi dry oak-aged organic blueberry wine," Hopkins said. "Stock up on award-winning wines or wine gadgets for the wine aficionados."

The fashion show, featuring children's clothing from Lily Pad Children's Boutique and ladies fashions from Tom-Tom Women's Apparel, starts a 2 p.m. At the same time, home-brewers can take notes from Doug Griffith of Extreme Brewing in Millsboro and Lewes, who will be cooking up some brew, offering samples and selling home beer brew kits for the amateur brewmaster.

Art lovers with a penchant for the fun, funky and colorful can take in the artwork of Milton artist Pamela Bounds-Seemans while also chatting with her about her main inspirations: the people and everyday scenes of Delaware.

"I've done a lot of Delaware scenes and Delaware life. People always say that it brings a smile to their face when they see my work. And, they say I must be a happy person and that they say they can relate to it because it's actual Delaware life."

The Christmas spirit hits Sussex County Stages

WHERE Multiple Stages in Georgetown, Rehoboth Beach and Lewes

WHEN All weekend long

COST $12 TO $30

Sussex County theater performers have a plan to get people in the holiday spirit this weekend. Whether people prefer singing, dancing or some serious acting, all bases are covered.

In Georgetown, the Possum Point Players production of "White Christmas: The Musical" is selling out quickly as people anticipate the timeless story and songs of Irving Berlin.

Director Michael Murnin said the story is identical to the famous Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye 1954 movie with one tweak for the better: There's even more music.

"The plot is identical to the movie but the stage version has even more music seamlessly woven into the story," Murnin said.

"White Christmas" will be performed at Possum Hall in Georgetown, located at 441 Old Laurel Road at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday and again at 2 p.m., Sunday afternoon. For more information, visit www.possumpointplayers.org.

If you're looking for an even older Christmas story that's been adapted for audience worldwide, head down to Rehoboth Beach for Clear Space Theatre's version of "A Christmas Carol."

The story is the same recognizable plot of Christmases past, present and future but this one has the added bonus of CST Artistic Director Doug Yetter's original score and orchestration. Audiences will also be greeted by costumed cast members upon their arrival and escorted to their seats in a charming Victorian village.

"A Christmas Carol" can be seen at Clear Space Theatre, located at 20 Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth Beach at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday and again Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $30 and can be purchased at www.clearspace.org.

Finally, Sussex Ballet, the youth ballet company within the Sussex Dance Academy, which features dancers from every nook and cranny of the county, will perform the timeless and enduring "The Nutcracker" this weekend.

SDA Artistic Director Kate Walker said audiences can expect no deviations from the Christmas staple in her production.

"Our 'Nutcracker' is classical ballet and follows the traditional storyline. Additionally, our grand pas de deux choreography is based on the original choreography of Lev Ivanov, a famous Russian choreographer who is credited for choreographing the premiere Nutcracker in 1892."

See the ballet at Cape Henlopen High School, located at 1250 Kings Highway in Lewes at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday or at 1 p.m., Sunday afternoon. Tickets are $12 to $15 and can be purchased by calling (302) 645-7855.