This story, originally posted Oct. 30 at 4:36 p.m., was corrected Nov. 20 at 2:29 p.m. to fix the date of the Chanukah Fire Truck Parade. The correct date is Dec. 11.

Credit: Courtesy Elman Studio


Nov. 6

GZA and Fishbone 

GZA, a rapper and founding Wu Tang Clan member also known as The Genius, performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring, backed by a full live band, Phunky Nomads. Sharing the bill is legendary funk/punk/ska band Fishbone, which stood out as one of the few bands of color in the early 1980s L.A. punk scene and went on to influence groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and No Doubt.

Nov. 11

Tartan Terrors 

Clad in plaid kilts, these musicians bring Celtic music to new audiences, blending traditional instruments such as fiddles, bagpipes and whistles with the guitars, drums and attitude of rock music. They also throw in some humor and step dancing. Catch their show at Germantown’s BlackRock Center for the Arts.

Dec. 1


Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 

The New Age music group is perhaps best known for its contemporary interpretations of Christmas carols. It claims to be the top-selling Christmas music artist of all time, selling more than 31 million albums. Hear the group’s modern takes on Yuletide classics at The Music Center at Strathmore.

Dec. 15

The Washington Chorus: A Candlelight Christmas

The singing group brings tidings of comfort and joy to The Music Center at Strathmore in a program that includes handbells, brass and percussion along with familiar Christmas carols and lesser-known songs. Candles and twinkling string lights onstage add to the ambience.


Dec. 16

Tula’s Holiday Drag Show 

BlackRock Center for the Arts is giving holiday vibes for this drag show starring local queen Tula, a regular around the region, as well as her fabulous friends. Come dressed in your favorite ugly Christmas sweater and get ready to werk, honey, because after the show you can join the divas for a DJ dance party.

Dec. 16-17 


NatPhil: Handel’s Messiah 

Possibly one of the most recognized pieces of classical music, the “Hallelujah” chorus is a highlight of Handel’s Messiah. The National Philharmonic, joined by guest vocal soloists, performs a new, semistaged dramatic version of the masterpiece at The Music Center at  Strathmore.

Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve Party with EU Featuring Sugar Bear 

Ring in the new year at the Bethesda Theater with the iconic Washington, D.C., go-go band known as Experience Unlimited. Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott leads the group, best known for its 1988 hit “Da Butt,” famously featured in Spike Lee’s film School Daze. The party includes a midnight balloon drop and party favors.



Nov. 3

The Magic and Mayhem Tour

Magician and mentalist Adam Stone performs illusions, card tricks and mind reading, while Krystal Younglove performs sideshow feats, such as fire swallowing and enduring a bed of nails. This show at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn is recommended for age 18 and older.

Nov. 17-Jan. 7


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 

In C.S. Lewis’ story, Lucy and her siblings discover the land of Narnia, where it’s always winter but never Christmas. Adventure Theatre MTC’s treatment of the classic tale follows the children on their adventure to defeat the evil White Witch with goodness, courage and faith.

Nov. 24-Dec. 31

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas 

Paul Morella’s one-man rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story is an Olney Theatre Center tradition now in its 14th season. This version, in which Morella portrays more than 50 characters, is drawn almost entirely on the original novella.



Nov. 29-Dec. 20

Small Works by MAA Artists 

A variety of artwork by members of the Montgomery Art Association is on display at Artists and Makers Studios in Rockville. The pieces, which include paintings, photography and various other media, are all small enough to carry home, making this show perfect for art collectors and holiday shoppers. An opening reception is planned for 5-8 p.m. Dec. 1, and an artist talk is planned for 1-3 p.m. Dec. 9. 

Credit: Courtesy Rockville Volunteer Fire Department

Holiday Happenings

Nov. 17


S’more Lights 

The Winter Lights Festival at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg is known for its fabulous drive-through display. But starting on Nov. 17, a series of special events allows you to experience the 3.5-mile trail on foot. At S’more Lights (Nov. 17), families can roast marshmallows, enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate, take pictures with Santa and stroll through the lights display. On Nov. 18, you can do a 5K run/walk through the lights with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. Sip & Sparkle, which mixes a walk through the lights with adult beverages, is set for Nov. 19, and the whole place goes to the dogs on Nov. 21 for Leashes ‘n’ Lights, which invites people and their pooches to enjoy the holiday sights.

Nov. 18

Thanksgiving Parade

Just like the holiday season, this tradition starts off with a turkey and ends with a visit from Santa Claus. A 12-foot inflatable turkey leads the annual procession of floats, marching bands, beauty queens, fire engines and performing dog and animal groups through downtown Silver Spring. Kriss Kringle himself brings up the rear on a float accompanied by holiday music. 


Dec. 2-3

Christmas on the Farm 

See what the Christmas season might have been like on a historical Montgomery County farm during this event at the Agricultural History Farm Park. Enjoy free cookies and cider, a bake sale of homemade treats, hayrides, and tours of the 19th-century farmhouse. Don’t forget to visit the farm animals that call the park home.


Dec. 11

Chanukah Fire Truck Parade

The first night of Hanukkah falls on Dec. 7 and the Chabad Lubavitch of Upper Montgomery County is celebrating Jewish festival of lights with a parade including live music and singing, fire jugglers and a whole lot of fire trucks. The brigade starts off at Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Station 3 and passes through Fallsgrove, Potomac Glen, Washingtonian Woods and the Kentlands. It ends at the Simcha Educational Center in Gaithersburg with a community menorah lighting and Hanukkah party.

Dec. 2-23


Holly Trolley Fest 

Take a ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus on a historic streetcar during this event at the National Capital Trolley Museum. A model railroad display, crafts for kids and photo opportunities are also featured.

Credit: Courtesy Montgomery Parks, M-NCPPC

Community Events

Nov. 11

Veterans Day Observances  

Join the mayor of Rockville and the city council at the Rockville Senior Center to honor the men and women who have served in this nation’s armed forces. American Legion Post 86 will lead a wreath-laying ceremony, and the honor guard will present a 21-gun salute. 


In Gaithersburg, join city officials and members of veterans groups at the City Hall Concert Pavilion for a wreath-laying ceremony followed by a city hall reception.

Dec. 16

Cabin John Winter Ice Show

Local figure skaters show off their axels, lutzes and loops during this free showcase at Cabin John Ice Rink in Rockville. Skaters in a wide range of levels, from ages 4 to over 40, perform group numbers, duets and solos.


Credit: Photo by Jeri Tidwell

Mixed Nuts

There’s more than one way to crack a nut this season. We’ve rounded up five different productions of the favorite holiday ballet The Nutcracker, each with its own distinct flavor. 

The Classic: 

Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet

An international cast and Ukrainian principal artists dance in this European ballet classic that also features acrobatics, puppets and handcrafted sets and costumes.  

Dec. 2, The Music Center at Strathmore, 

The Update: 

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky’s classic score is remixed with hip-hop beats, a DJ, a violinist and break-dancing moves, and the setting has been relocated from 19th-century Germany to a modern-day New York City street corner. 

Dec. 19-21, The Music Center at Strathmore,

The Friends and Family Version:

The Nutcracker by the Rockville Civic Ballet

You might see your pals or neighbors onstage in this performance by the community dance group. It traditionally features 80 dancers ranging in age from 7 to over 70.  

Dec. 2-3 and 9-10, F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre,

The One with Strings:

The Nutcracker by The Puppet Co. 

Actors in masks interact with marionettes and hand puppets in this dreamy version of the story that incorporates elements and music from the original ballet with magic and nursery rhymes. 

Nov. 24 through Dec. 31, The Puppet Co. Playhouse,

The Student Rendition: 

The Mini Nut and The Nutcracker by Maryland Youth Ballet

The Silver Spring classical ballet school presents two takes on the holiday classic. The Mini-Nut, a one-hour abbreviated version, is geared toward younger audiences or those with shorter attention spans. The Nutcracker, MYB’s full-length production, is a traditional performance featuring Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, dazzling costumes and, of course, beautiful dancing. 

The Mini-Nut: Dec. 2, 3, 9, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring 

The Nutcracker: Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 21-23, Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, Montgomery College, Rockville

This story appears in the November/December issue of Bethesda Magazine.