Dave’s Drive-Through Weekend

Believe it or not it is beginning to look at least a little like Christmas, here's some early places to get a good taste of the Christmas spirit.


We Are .. In the Christmas Spirit

Step back in time for a Victorian England Christmas nightly through Saturday at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse for the second annual Marshall School of Theatre's holiday presentation of "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens.

Featuring a turntable revolving stage, snow and London fog, the powerful show of the miraculous transformation of Scrooge, stars professional actor Jack Cirillo, as well as a blend of Marshall students, and other regional community actors such as Mary Williams and Clint McElroy.

The show is up 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Joan Playhouse. Single Show Tickets are Main stage general admission, $20, Main stage faculty/senior, $15, Children five to 12, $7 and free to full-time Marshall students with valid ID. Call the box office at 304-696-ARTS (2787)


Over Ashland way, they've just lit more than 800,000 Christmas lights as the Winter Wonderland of Lights is now up in Central Park from dusk to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and dusk to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. If you go Tuesday, Nov. 22, be ready for a crowd as it is the annual Christmas parade with a theme this year of "Christmas Movies" at 7 p.m.

Along with the lights, the Winter Wonderland Express train rides take place 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, beginning Nov. 18-20 up through Dec. 16-18. Cost is $3 per person. There's also pics with Santa (in the Central Park log cabin) weekends starting Nov. 24-27 and ending Dec. 16-18. Other special events for Winter Wonderland of Lights include: Breakfast with Santa, Home and Business Decorating Contests, Karaoke and Pizza with Santa, and much more. Find out more about those events and more by going online at ashlandalliance.com/winter-wonderland-of-lights/.


Festival of Trees and Trains

Inside at the Paramount it is all aboard for the 32nd annual Festival of Trees and Trains runs at Ashland's historic Paramount Arts Center from Friday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 27. 

FOTT, which has more than 200 trees and wreaths and the 600-foot-long Wonderland Railway model train layout, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. The trees and wreaths are donated f to the Paramount Woman's Association for silent auction - all to support the Paramount Art Center's Education Department. Events this weekend include Choirs and Crooners from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, Cocoa with Santa from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. Admission is $6, $5 for seniors and kids with those 3 and under getting in free.

Go online at paramountartscenter.com for more info.


Take A Pet Pause for the Claus

Bundle up man's best friend, whether it be your dog, cat or bunny and head over to the Huntington Mall, 500 Mall Road, Barboursville, where there will Santa Claus will be posing for pet photos from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Nov. 20 in the Center Court.

Please remember that your pet is only allowed in the mall during this special event time and must remain on a leash or in a pet carrier at all times! As the pet owner you must take full responsibility for your pet.

All events are subject to change or cancellation without notice. See the Customer Service Center for details and go online at

Go online at http://www.huntingtonmall.com/ to find out more about the Mall which has special holiday hours through Jan. 1. Also, remember there is a special Caring Santa (for children with sensory issues) from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.


My concert picks this weekend ... There's going to be two back-to-back killer nights at the V Club in Huntington on Friday, Cincinnati-based funkmeister Chris "Freekbass" Sherman and The Bump Assembly (featuring members from George Clinton & Parliament - Funkadelic and Bootsy's Rubberband) will be throwing down at 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 for a special Funksgiving concert. Cover is $12 with $2 of every ticket to the Facing Hunger Foodbank. The regionally traveling M.F.B., which has a new record, "Thrust if you Must," opens the show.


Then on Saturday, the one-and-only Ben Sollee, the funky Louisville, Ky.-based cellist whose music has been on a ton of TV shows, in movies and who tours all over the world, rolls in with the red-hot Cincinnati-based string band, The Tillers.

Funky, Louisville, Ky.-based cellist and composer Ben Sollee has toured and performed all over Europe and the U.S., including more than 4,000 miles on his bicycle. An environmentalist whose music has been featured on such TV shows as ABC’s "Parenthood" and HBO’s "Weeds" and in such movies as "Killing Season starring John Travolta and Robert De Niro, Sollee drops back into the V Club at 8 p.m. Saturday with the red-hot string band, The Tillers, out of Cincinnati. Cover is $13 advance and $15 day of the show. Go online at www.bensollee.com for more info on his new music, including the new album, "Info Wars," with Jordon Ellis.


Some Murder and Merriment @ The Ro-Na

The Ro-Na Theatre, 310 South Third St., Ironton has booked the famed singers The Monroe Sister at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, but word has it that on their farewell tour one of the sisters will be targeted for murder. Save the 911 call, it's all in good fun as Murder and Merriment presents the interactive murder mystery dinner, "Music, Murder and Mayhem" as a fundraiser for Ironton in Bloom.

Tickets are available at Unger's Shoe Stores and Weber's Florist in Ironton. Enjoy cocktails and dinner before you get to the opportunity play detective and assist in solving a deadly crime.

Tickets are $60 with all proceeds to the national award-winning non-profit, Ironton in Bloom. Find out more about the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/1712435492339420/ and go online at http://www.lawrencecountyohio.org/iib/ to find out more about

Ironton in Bloom whose mission is "Planting Pride in Our Community," and making Ironton a wonderful place to live, work, play, and visit.


MY DAVE TRIPPIN: PICK: My road-trip pick is Charleston where there's still great fall foliage in the hills and where the Kanawha State Forest is hosting a birding hike at 1 p.m. on Saturday.  Meet at the Nature Center (pool building) at 1 p.m. Bring binoculars if you have them and water as needed. Call Kanawha State Forest at 304-558-3500, and go online at http://www.wvstateparks.com/calendar.html to find more great places to hike, bike and explore this weekend.


Dave Lavender is the author of "Dave Trippin: A Daytripper's Guide to the Appalachian Galaxy of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia" and his new travel book, "Mo' Dave Trippin" now for sale on Amazon.com and through CreateSpace. Check out the new book at the Red Caboose, Empire Books and News, and now at Camden Park. Lavender covers regional travel. Follow The Herald-Dispatch reporter on Facebook and Twitter @DaveLavenderHD.