Christmas is less than a month away so it's time to accept that Christmas cheer is here to stay awhile. Join in this weekend with holiday shopping, dancing, a parade and, of course, the big man himself, Santa Claus.

Dover dancers bring 'Nutcracker' to life

WHERE Delaware State University Education & Humanities Theatre*

WHEN 7 p.m., tonight; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday

COST $12 to $15

INFO (302) 674-3030

"The Nutcracker" is a timeless classic tradition that endures in Dover thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Delaware Ballet and it's long history of annual holiday performances. For more than 30 years, dancers have been dressing up and dancing their way into the hearts and imaginations of locals.

This year, more than 40 dancers, including former Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Yosbel Delgato, will take to the stage at Delaware State University Education & Humanities Theatre following two months of grueling rehearsals.

Delaware BalletOutreach Coordinator Shelli Lawson said that there's no better way to kick off the holidays.

"The show gets better and better every year," Lawson said. "People will be amazed at the professional quality of the whole show, from the classical music to the beautiful costumes, the scenery and, of course, our dancers."

Lawson can personally attest to the dancers commitment to the show. She's also the mother of this year's Sugar Plum Fairy, 15-year-old Emalie Lawson.

"She's been dancing since she was three so this has always been her goal," Lawson said. She was a mouse for quite a few years. But, this is her dream part and she's really excited.

Lawson added that the story itself is part of the enduring nature of "The Nutcracker" and the reason so many little girls start dreaming of a dancer's life.

"It's a classic story of a little girl's fantasy trip through an amazing adventure world," Lawson said. "Both my nieces have been for the last three years. There eyes are huge the whole time and when they leave, all they want to do is dance."

Finish up holiday shopping with local artisans

WHERE Delaware Veterans Post 2, 720 Pear St., Dover

WHEN 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday

INFO (302) 678-1180

Tomorrow, the Delaware Veterans Post 2 will host its 7th Annual Artisan Fair. The event regularly features some of the region's best handmade wares and this year's fair includes more than two dozen artists and artisans.

Delaware Veterans Post 2 Commander Dawn Hill is especially excited about this year's efforts.

"This event has grown by leaps and bounds and as a result, we are able to assist more of our local veterans in their time of need," Hill said. "This help is year around. And, it means we can help our youth, too, with additional scholarships.

Shoppers can expect to see items like fused and blown glass, sea glass jewelry, fine art paintings and prints, greeting cards, handmade soaps, homemade chutney, jam and jelly, knitted apparel, woodworking, pottery and more.

Event organizer and local artist Stephanie Seeman is also excited.

"We have such a great selection of local art, home décor, jewelry, garden art and other items," Seeman said. "Plus, this year, for the first time, a deejay will be playing seasonal favorites, fun vintage rock and will even be taking requests."

Seeman added that people can come hungry because the café will also be serving up "Del Vets famous beef and vegetable soup."

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Delaware Veterans Post 2, located at Walker Road and Pear Street in Dover, across from the entrance to Dover High School. This event benefits the Del Vets Scholarship Fund and Benevolent Fund. For more information, contact Stephanie Seeman at (302) 678-1180 or

Stay 'Home for the Holidays'

WHERE Downtown Dover, Loockerman Street

WHEN 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., tonight and 12 p.m., Saturday


Traveling can be such a hassle during the holidays. Why not stay in town this weekend and jump start the season with friends and neighbors this year?

Downtown Dover Partnership has organized two days of infectious Christmas cheer, with everything from caroling and hot chocolate to a huge holiday parade, musical entertainment and shopping.

Tonight, head downtown for December's First Friday. All the normal activities, like extended shopping hours, will be taking place but don't be surprised if you run into a band of merry carolers, too. "Strolling Community Caroling on Loockerman" will be led by Wesley College. Anyone who wants to participate should meet at the Wesley Church Choir Room at 5 p.m.

The big parade starts at noon Saturday, followed by an appearance by the big bearded man in red (and his lovely wife), who will hit the streets of Dover Saturday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Merchants and boutiques will open up shop for day-long open houses and many have decorated their windows just for the occasion. And, like the night before, there will be musical entertainment throughout the day as well as local artisans.