by Rick Munarriz - 406 Reviews - 155 List
Miami may have faux snow and palm trees wrapped in lights, but the holiday spirit is still as bright as a Christmas tree in South Florida. From Christmas ballet classics to romantic bayfront yuletide concerts, shake away the inner Scrooge this season at these holiday events all over town.
Updated: November 16, 2009
SANTA'S ENCHANTED FOREST: Elephant ears, caramel apples and fried candy bars aren't healthy stocking stuffers, but it's what guests are stuffing into their merry guts as they stroll through this seasonal carnival. More than 100 rides, shows and attractions are there for the experiences, with more Christmas lights than calories consumed (and that's saying something).
"THE NUTCRACKER": Miami City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" has become an annual rite in South Florida. After a few early December shows in Broward, the graceful cast of more than 100 performers hit Downtown Miami's fanciest venue. Performances run from Dec. 18 to 23.
The marine life park adds seasonal decorations and programming tweaks to its aquatic performances during Winter Nights & Lights, from Dec.19 through Jan. 2. Nightly snowfall and the interactive Kids Winterfest await guests. The park opens at 9:30am daily, but fashionably late patrons arrive closer to sunset to enjoy the illuminated sculptures.
ANNUAL CHANUKAH EVENT: Miami Beach Jewish Community Center hosts its annual family-friendly fete on Dec.13. Details are still being fleshed out, though last year's event featured 12 tons of snow, a menorah sand sculpture and inflatable attractions.
Fans of the Madeline books and films will be flocking to this Miracle Mile venue to see "Madeline's Christmas." Ludwig Bemelmans' seasonal tale follows the heroine as all of her classmates fall ill with the flu before Christmas break. It may be timely given the H1N1 outbreak, but theater fans can trust this show to have an uplifting conclusion. A bonus feature: For the older set, "Another Night Before Christmas (playing Dec. 2-27)," an adult-geared musical comedy centered around a social worker who shares her groceries with a homeless man on Christmas Eve, only to find the same vagabond breaking into her home.
HOLIDAY UNDER THE STARS: The lush, romantic and holiday decorated Cutler estate stages its 11th annual holiday concert on Dec. 5. Guests bring blankets, folding chairs and picnic baskets to soak in the open air lawn concert featuring Victor Espinola, Roberto Perera, Stacy Berkley & The New World School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble. The gate opens at 6pm, with the music kicking off an hour later.
By day, this outlet mall entertains young families with its walk-through snow globes (this year featuring a Polar Express theme). The crowd gets a little livelier at night, where nightly snowfalls take place in the outdoor Ramblas Plaza, just outside of the Let's Make a Daiquiri and Mojitos watering holes. The soapy snow drops at 7pm, with additional snowfalls at 9pm on weekends.