Deep cleansing breaths everyone.
It's officially time for the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's season, and with the right frame of mind, a sense of humor, and realistic expectations it can be a blast where nostalgia, good cheer, and fellowship gather for a big party around a table full of cookies.
Despite the hyperventilating commercialism that causes big box retailers to start selling decorations before the Halloween candy is out of the wrapper, this weekend sets the proverbial table for the season with a big parade, the brilliant lighting of the Toledo Zoo, and an artsy downtown shopping excursion.
Here's what you need to know:
The Blade’s 26th Annual Holiday Parade Presented by Taylor Automotive Group steps off on North Summit Street at Jefferson Street at 10 a.m. Saturday and will march through downtown Toledo for about two hours. The parade route covers Jackson Street, North Huron Street, and ends at Monroe Street.
Seventy units will be featured with marching bands, floats, giant helium balloons, prancing horses, Shriners, dance teams, more than 100 members of the Distinguished Clown Corps, choirs, vintage vehicles and some fellow named Santa Claus who will be escorted by members of the Marine Corps.
The grand marshal is Stephanie LaRae Morris, a 2007 Libbey High School graduate who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan. Shortly after the parade, Frostology sponsored by Taylor Automotive Family will open at the Imagination Station at the corner of Summit and Adams streets. Free photos will be available with Santa, snow science-related workshops will be held, and people can meet the grand marshal and parade mascots.
Admission on Saturdays is free for Lucas County children younger than 12 who are accompanied by an adult (limit two children per adult). Adults will be required to show proof of Lucas County residence in order for children to gain free admittance. Admission for anyone 13 and older is $10; between the ages of 3 and 12 who are not from Lucas County is $8 and senior citizens who are 65 and older get in for $9. Frostology closes at 5 p.m. Information: 419-244-2674 or imaginationstationtoledo.org.
The annual Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo opens this weekend as the Anthony Wayne Trail zoo is decked out in LED lights, creating a spectacle of color and design.
The 35,000 lights on the zoo's 85-foot Norway Spruce will be lit during a ceremony from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Friday in front of the Conservatory. Masterworks Chorale will perform and visitors can meet characters from the Ballet Theatre of Toledo's production of the Nutcracker from 5 to 7 p.m.
Hours at the zoo during the Lights Before Christmas are Sunday through Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m. with the zoo closing at 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. with the zoo closing at 10 p.m. It will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.
Admission is $13 for adults between the ages of 12 and 59; $10 for adults 60 and older; $10 for children between the ages of 2 and 11, and free for children younger than 2. Save $1 per ticket when you purchase tickets online.
All sorts of events will take place at the zoo over the next two months, including ice carving, carolers, and children's activities. For tickets and information go to toledozoo.org.
The Arts Commission will hold it's Holiday Loop downtown shopping event immediately after the parade Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Free shuttle rides will be provided to more than 30 galleries, artists studios, and creative businesses that feature fine art, handmade goods, and creative gifts.
The event is free and open to the public, including bus rides. Free parking is available at the following locations: Toledo School for the Arts lot, 333 14th St. (accessible from Madison Ave.); Ottawa Tavern, 1815 Adams St. (corner of Adams and 20th); Manos Greek Restaurant lot, 1701 Adams St. (Adams and 17th),;and Toledo City Paper lot, 1120 Adams St. (corner of Adams and 12th).
For information, go to theartscommission.org or Page 22.