December is here with all of its holiday magic and plenty of local events to keep the family busy. This weekend Topekans will get a chance to experience lovely holiday decorations at the Festival of Trees. Chicken Wings will be the centerpiece of the Wing Fest at the Expocentre. And a beloved fairy tale will come at the Performing Arts for Children’s presentation of Hansel and Gretel.
All of this could inspire you to create holiday decorations, cook chicken wings, and/or read Hansel and Gretel – and thankfully the library has just what you need.
- Festival of Trees
- December 1-4
Thursday and Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; Saturday, 8 am – 4 pm; Sunday, 11 am – 3 pm
- Ag Hall at the Kansas Expocentre
- Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, Free for kids under 12
The SLI Festival of Trees will celebrate its 39th year at Kansas Expocentre – Ag Hall. The Festival attracts over 5,000 people each year and is a holiday tradition for many families. You can view approximately 65 beautifully decorated trees and wreaths donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals. Along with the display of trees and wreaths there are other activities such as local entertainment, Santa pictures, Mistletoe Market and the Silent Auction. Festival of Trees supports the SLI clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Extend the Experience
Inspired to do a little holiday decorating of your own after seeing all of the beautiful trees and wreaths at the festival? The Library has tons of books to help you with that. One of my favorites is The New Christmas Tree: 24 Dazzling Trees and Over 100 Handcrafted Projects for An Inspired Holiday by Carrie Brown – the typography tree sounds intriguing. Check out this list for more of my picks.
Tasty Chicken Wings
- Wing Fling
- Saturday, December 3rd
12 pm – 4 pm
- Exhibition Hall, Kansas Expocentre
- Tickets: $25 day of event, $20 in advance. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com
A one-day, indoor festival of hot wings, cold drinks, and friendly competition. Local and national restaurants will compete for one of four titles: “Hot Wing King,” “BBQ Wing King,” “Twisted Wing King” – each chosen by a panel of judges – or “Wing Fling King,” chosen by the event patrons as the People’s Choice.
Attendees will have the opportunity to sample as many wings as they desire (two at a time) while enjoying live music from local bands, watching sporting events, and playing party games like cornhole, ladder toss, beer pong, etc. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.
Extend the Experience
Fancy cooking up some tasty chicken wings of your own? These cookbooks will help you create a culinary masterpiece. Of particular note is Wing It! Delectable Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Bar Snack by Christopher B. O’Hara. Here at last is the definitive collection of recipes for the wing lover, filled with easy, addictive recipes that run from classic to exotic. I’m getting hungry just looking at the pictures.
- Hansel and Gretel, presented by the Peforming Arts for Children
- Saturday, December 3rd
10:30 am and 1:30 pm
- Washburn University’s Andrew J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre
- Tickets: $5 each, a group rate of $4 per ticket is available for parties of 10 or more. The box office opens 30 minutes before each show.
Washburn University Theatre’s production of Hansel and Gretel, by Moses Goldberg, involves “Il Staggioni,” a troupe of actors, performing a participation version of the well-loved fairy tale of siblings, a witch and the gingerbread house.
This show provides a unique opportunity for children, ages 3 and older, to experience a performance in a theater setting, meet professional performers, and participate in some of their acts.
You may want to familiarize your little one with the story of Hansel and Gretel before attending the play, or read them the story at bedtime after you attend the performance. The library has many creative re-tellings and adaptations to explore!
I like the lovely picture book version by Cynthia Rylant which emphasizes the courage of the children. Our preschoolers love this video version that is available both as a DVD and a downloadable video. Lego fans will enjoy the fanciful retelling of the story in the Brick Fairy Tales collection. And of course, children can be introduced to the other Grimm fairy tales through one of our many collections.
For adults and older children, the creative Neil Gaiman has a dark and mildly creepy graphic novel adaptation.
There is also a novel inspired by the story called the True Story of Hansel and Gretel which sets the story during the Holocaust of World War II.
Explore more in our catalog.