Our guide to celebrating the holidays in Kentuckiana


Samuel Murphy, Staff Reporter

The lights and decorations are being hung with care, the sounds of seasonal music is beginning to come through radios and speakers everywhere, and the Christmas season is finally here.

The “most wonderful time of the year” is starting to finally get underway in Kentuckiana. It’s a time of year where most people stick to traditions they take part in year after year. Family gatherings, gift exchanges, watching holiday-themed movies and reuniting with friends that haven’t been seen in months or years. These traditions will always hold a special place in people’s hearts, but there is always time to add a couple new ones to the season.

Kentuckiana offers dozens of different local holiday themed events across the area. These suggestions are only a few of those dozens, so take the time to look around and find some that might interest you this holiday season.

Lights Under Louisville

When: Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. Open Monday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Louisville Mega Cavern is bringing back their popular “Lights Under Louisville” attraction for the ninth consecutive year. The event transforms the 17 miles of underground passageways into a winter wonderland of Christmas lights.

During the 30 minute trip through the caverns, attendees will take their vehicles to see more than 3 million points of lights, 900 large character displays and travel through dozens of themed areas.

This year, the Mega Caverns is offering a special “Dinner and Lights” package.

“This year, we have a special partnership with the Louisville Zoo,” Jeremy Priddy, marketing manager for the Louisville Mega Caverns, said. “You can eat dinner at the zoo and then receive a VIP pass to skip the line, which is typically about an hour wait later in the season.”

Tickets are $27 per carload and a special $5 off coupon is offered on the website. For more information and dates the coupon applies, visit www.lightsunderlouisville.com

Christmas takes the stage

Derby Dinner Playhouse

“A Fairy Tale Christmas”

When: Nov. 24, 25 and Dec. 2, 9, 16, 22, 23

Derby Dinner Playhouse is offering a “dinner and a show” feel for their presentation of “A Fairy Tale Christmas,” this holiday season.

With two shows each day, attendees can go early for breakfast at 9 a.m. and then take in the show afterwards beginning at 10 a.m. The second show will begin with lunch at noon and the show beginning at 1:15 p.m. following the meal.

The show will take place in the land of Happily Ever After during the most wonderful time of the year. The Crystal Christmas Ball is right around the corner and Cinderella, Snow White and all your other fairy tale characters will be in attendance.

Breakfast show tickets are $17 and the lunch show is $22. The menu and cast list are available on the Derby Dinner Playhouse website.

Jim Hesselman, dean of the School of Arts and Letters, plays the lead role of Ebeneezer Scrooge in Derby Dinner Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Photo courtesy of Derby Dinner

“A Christmas Carol: The Musical”

When: Nov. 15 to Dec. 31

Derby Dinner will also offer the thrilling Broadway version of “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” this season.

The music and lyrics for “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” were written by Broadway heavy hitters, Alan Menken (Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast,” Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and “Little Shop of Horrors”) and Lynn Ahrens (“Ragtime,” “Seussical” and “Once on This Island”).  The duo breathes fantastic new life into a classic holiday tale.

The cast will include IU Southeast’s own Jim Hesselman, dean of the School of Arts and Letters, as the lead role of Ebeneezer Scrooge. For ticket information, call 812-288-8281 or visit www.derbydinner.com.



Fifth Third Bank’s “A Christmas Carol”

When: Nov. 23 to Dec. 31

“A Christmas Carol” will also be presented at the Actors Theatre in Louisville. The timeless classic by Charles Dickens is one of longest running traditions in Louisville during the holiday season — entering their 41st consecutive year of production.

Those in attendance will join Scrooge on his journey with the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The story is brought to life through the Actors Theatre’s charming production and delightful music.

Gather up a crew of family and friends and take part in one of Kentuckiana’s holiday staples. For showtimes and dates, visit https://actorstheatre.org/calendar/2017/11/fifth-third-banks-christmas-carol-2017-2018/.

The Frazier Museum

When: Nov. 9 to Jan. 7

“Nutcracker the Exhibition: 60 years of Magic and Majesty,” opened on Nov. 9 exhibiting the 60 year history of the Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker. The exhibit presents artifacts, costumes, set pieces and props from over the 60 years.

The Frazier Museum has partnered with the Louisville Ballet for the holiday season. Anyone who purchases a general admission ticket to the museum receives a 15 percent discount to the Ballet’s production of the Brown-Forman Nutcracker. If anyone presents a ticket stub or receipt from the ballet, they will receive a $2 discount on general admission ticket to the museum.

On Sunday, Dec. 3, the museum will offer a Nutcracker Family Dance Workshop from 2 to 3 p.m. The whole family can learn ballet basics and choreography from the Louisville Ballet’s own Helen Daigle. To RSVP, visit http://fraziermuseum.org/nutcracker-family-workshop-rsvp.

The following weekend on Saturday, Dec. 9, the museum will host another family day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s all about the magic of Christmas time,” Andrea-Jane Cornell, marketing manager for the Frazier Museum, said. “We will have special performances by the Brown School Ballet Program and Songs and pageantry with the Louisville Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival.”

41st Annual Holiday Home Tour

When: Dec. 2 and 3 from noon to 6 p.m.

Old Louisville will host their 41st Annual Holiday Home Tour which allows attendees to tour the neighborhood’s Victorian architecture homes.

Old Louisville is a national preservation district boasting the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the country. The neighborhood was also deemed “one of the greatest places in america,” in 2016 by the American Planning Association in Washington D.C.

The Home Tour is presenting WaterStep as one of its participants this year. Attendees can donate gently used shoes, which will be sold to an exporter, and all funds will help bring clean, safe drinking water to those in need across the world.

Tickets will be sold for $25 at pre-sale and $30 at the door.

The Culbertson Mansion Christmas Open House

When: Dec. 2 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Travel over to the other side of the river for another way to experience classic Victorian architecture at the Culbertson Mansion’s Christmas Open House. The state historic site is opening their doors to show the beautifully decorated mansion.

Along with the decor, those in attendance can go on a self-guided tour of the mansion, take part in arts and crafts, and enjoy live music entertainment from local bands.

During the day, refreshments will also be served and guests are free to shop in the mansion’s gift shop following their tour. Admission is free, but the Culbertson Mansion does accept donations.

Kentuckiana’s Cities get lit

Light Up Louisville is returning for the 37th consecutive year on Friday, Nov. 24 with a full day of winter festivities to bring in the Christmas season. Festivities include: Holiday in the City ice skating rink, the Lots of Lights parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the Light Up Moment starting at 8:10.

Light Up Jeffersonville will take place on Saturday, Nov. 25 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The event will bring food vendors, live entertainment and reindeer and a lights parade to the streets of downtown Jeffersonville. It will all wrap up in Warder Park at 6:30 with the lighting of the tree.

After Jeff is lit, race across town for Light Up OurNA starting at 6 p.m. in Bicentennial Park. The event will include live performances from the New Albany high school mini musical, TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana and the Floyd Central Accidentals. After the performances, cozy up to the Hot Chocolate Bar and watch the tree lighting and gift giving ceremony.