Clark W. Griswold would have a hard time topping either of the festive light displays opening this weekend.
Together, the 37th annual PNC Festival of Lights and 30th annual Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods will use more than 4 million total twinkling lights to create high-wattage holiday wonderlands.
PNC Festival of Lights: 5-10 p.m. Saturday; 5-9 p.m. Sunday. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. $15 adults; $9 children and seniors. The Cincinnati Zoo will transform into a “Wild Wonderland” during the 37th annual PNC Festival of Lights. The festival will feature 3 million LED lights, a Madcap black-light puppet show, Toyland Express train ride, Fiona fairy statues, giant lanterns and, of course, visits from Santa. The festival will open to the public on Saturday and continue through Jan. 4. cincinnatizoo.org
Holiday in Lights: 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday; 6-9 p.m. Sunday, then open nightly through Dec. 31. Sharon Woods Park, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville. $15 per vehicle; $2 for special effects glasses. Holiday in Lights will return to Sharon Woods this Saturday with a brand-new light spectacular. Prepared to be wowed by the pixel light tunnel, more lighted trees, new light displays, special event nights and Santaland entertainment. That’s in addition to the more than 1 million lights and 250 displays that have made Holiday in Lights a family tradition for nearly 30 years. holidayinlights.com
Perfect North Slopes Opening Day: Noon-9:30 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Perfect North Slopes, 19074 Perfect Lane, Lawrenceburg. $39 lift ticket; $20 rental equipment. Here is the payoff for suffering through frigid temperatures this week – Perfect North Slopes will hold its earliest opening day in the ski resort’s 40-year history. There will be limited terrain skiing and snowboarding all weekend long. Starting Nov. 22, the slopes will be open Monday through Thursday during the week. www.perfectnorth.com
Rookwood Holiday Open House: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Rookwood Pottery, 1920 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. Free. Join the folks at Rookwood Pottery for the store’s annual Holiday Open House. While there, enjoy holiday festivities including complimentary sweets, savory bites and drinks while shopping for new products and curated gift sets. On Friday and Saturday, there also will be demonstrations, factory tours and artist signings. Heads up: While it's free to attend the open house, some individual activities require the purchase of a ticket. www.rookwood.com
Holiday Expressions: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. Free admission. Take in the art while shopping at the museum’s annual seasonal gift market. The market will feature items from local artists and artisans inspired by the museum’s permanent collection and special holiday season exhibitions. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
The Annual YMCA Holiday Bazaar: 1-5 p.m. Saturday. R.C. Durr YMCA, 5874 Veterans Way, Burlington. Free. The YMCA Holiday Bazaar returns for its fifth year this weekend in Boone County. This year’s vendor fair will support the YMCA’s Leaders’ Club effort to raise money to attend next year’s Blue Ridge Leaders School. Beyond selling hand-crafted gifts, the bazaar also will feature arts and craft activities for children. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.
FOOD & DRINK
BrewDog Cincy Grand Opening: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday. BrewDog Cincinnati, 316 Reading Road, Pendleton. Get ready for a U.K. invasion. Scotland-based BrewDog Brewing is opening its first Cincinnati craft beer bar in Pendleton this weekend. To celebrate, this dog-friendly bar will have limited-edition craft beers on tap, and the first 100 guests through the door automatically will be entered for the chance to win merchandise, a $500 gift card, beer fridge and the chance to stay at BrewDog’s North American headquarters in Columbus. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom Anniversary: 1-8 p.m. Saturday. Samuel Adams Taproom, 1727 Logan St., Over-the-Rhine. $20. Help Samuel Adams celebrate the one-year anniversary of its Cincinnati taproom. This special event will feature a one-ounce pour of Samuel Adams 2019 Utopias served in a commemorative Utopias glass you get to keep. Utopias is Sam Adams’ highly sought, high octane barrel-aged beer at 28% alcohol by volume. (Most beers register in the 4.5%-7% range.) And for those who don’t want Utopias but still want to celebrate, the taproom will be open to the public and pouring its lineup of other beers. www.eventbrite.com
Wizard Fest at The Ludlow Garage: 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. The Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. $15 in advance; $18 day of show. Do you believe in magic? If you do, welcome to Wizardfest, a Harry Potter-themed dance party featuring music, trivia, drink specials and a costume contest. You’ll also have the chance to enter to win a round-trip for two to London during this event. www.ludlowgaragecincinnati.com
MUSIC & COMEDY
Cincy’s R&B Fest: 8 p.m. Friday. Heritage Bank Center, 100 Broadway St., Downtown. $49.50-$250. Cincy's R&B Fest will bring some of the best R&B artists back to the Queen City for a concert to remember. The festival will feature performances by Jagged Edge, 112, Ginuwine, Tevin Campbell, Silk and H-Town. heritagebankcenter.com
Friday Night Jams: 8-10 p.m. Friday. Fountain Square 520 Vine St., Downtown. $6 admission; $4 skate rental. Skate to the beat on the UC Health Ice Rink as DJ Mighty Joe Young works the turntables. The rink also features benches, a warming tent and full-service concession tent selling hot and cold snacks, along with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.
Harper Art Show: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, 3455 Poole Road, Groesbeck. Come out to view and purchase artist Charlie Harper prints at this annual art show held in the Ellenwood Nature Barn at the Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve. A free print, titled “Once There was a Field,” will be given with the purchase of a framed or unframed print. Brett Harper also will be signing books from 1-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
House Party at The Taft: 5-8 p.m. Thursday. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown. Free. This month’s House Party at the museum is a bit different. Festivities will include guided meditation led by the Civic Garden Center, soft jams by DJ Mowgli, signature cocktails and some light bites from The Cheesecakery. You’ll also be able to view current exhibits and create your own light-up peony during this event. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.
American Life: 11 a.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $14-$130. This performance of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will follow the thread of great African American composers. Thomas Wilkins will conduct the orchestra and Louis Schwizgebel will play piano as the orchestra performs Adolphus Hailstork’s “An American Port of Call,” James Lee’s “Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula,” Florence Price’s “Piano Concerto,” William Grant Still’s "Symphony No. 1, Afro-American Symphony” and Duke Ellington’s “Harlem.” www.cincinnatisymphony.org
Totally '80s: 7 p.m. Sunday. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $25 and up. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra will turn Music Hall into a time machine when conductor Stuart Chafetz, vocalists Aaron Finley and Julie Reiber and the Heroes Rise Street Dance Experience perform some of your favorite songs from the 1980s. You’ll hear songs from Blondie, Cher, George Michael and Kool & The Gang as only the Pops can perform them. www.cincinnatisymphony.org