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5 things to do this December

‘Tis the season for merriment and childlike wonder. Treat yourself to some classic Western New York holiday events or give yourself the gift of music with an evening of young string quartet virtuosos or a festive Hanukkah concert.

Through Dec. 23: Festival of Lights

The Fairgrounds, 5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg

Load the family in the car and head to The Fairgrounds for spectacular drive-through light displays featuring over a million dazzling bulbs. After the ride, stroll the illuminated street featuring holiday scenes, activities, shows and more. And don’t forget your camera for your picture with Jolly Old St. Nick himself, one of the few free Santa photo ops in the area. Enjoy the holiday magic Nov. 29-30, Dec. 1, 6-8, 13-15 and 18-23. Gates open from 5-9 p.m., with grounds and buildings open until 10 p.m.

Admission: $25 per car

Dec. 4: A Who-liday Celebration

The Columns, 221 Transit Road, Elma

Carve out a little me time this busy season and enjoy a fabulous holiday luncheon with friends at this fundraiser for the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Held at The Columns and hosted by WGRZ-TV’s Heather Ly, you’ll enjoy a delectable lunch and amazing basket raffle. Tables seat 10-12 (10 is more comfortable), so get your group together. Tickets must be purchased online or by phone prior to event, which runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Admission: $30 members; $35 general public

Dec. 5: Art Off the Wall

Carnegie Art Center, 240 Goundry St., North Tonawanda 

It’s just as it sounds! Peruse and buy original 5-by-7-inch works of art right off the wall for just $20 at this fundraiser for the Carnegie Art Center. Guests will also enjoy a complimentary drink and silent auction featuring local award-winning 12-by-12-inch pieces. Exhibit preview starts at 6 p.m. and selling begins at 7 p.m.

Admission: $10 members; $15 non-members. Prepurchase $20 fast pass here to reserve one of the first purchasing forms for a better chance of securing your favorite pieces.

Downtown Tree Lighting, Dec. 7

Rotary Rink, 20 Fountain Plaza, Buffalo 

Fountain Plaza will be filled with family fun and the holiday spirit during this annual extravaganza. Lace up for free ice skating starting at 5 p.m. followed by tree lighting and fireworks. Be sure to stick around afterward for visits with Santa, free rides on the kiddie merry-go-round and Ferris wheel, holiday gifts and more. Usher in the holiday season from 5-8 p.m.

Admission: Free

Ulysses Quartet, Dec. 10

Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo

This young string quartet has already made its mark, winning first prize at the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition and Vietnam International Music Competition in August, among a host of other accolades. Holding degrees from the Julliard School, Yale University, New England Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music, they have appeared at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Center, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and other prestigious halls. The quartet brings their enthusiastic style to Kleinhans at 8 p.m.

Admission: $30; students free

Hanukkah Nights: A Hanukkah Concert, Dec. 14

Congregation Shir Shalom, 4660 Sheridan Dr., Williamsville 

Congregation Shir Shalom invites the community to this special concert celebrating the release of Cantor Arlene Frank’s new album, “Hanukkah Nights.” Each family will receive a copy of the CD or download card while supplies last. Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and a festive oneg will follow.

Admission: Concert admission is free; donations for CDs appreciated

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