Shop Independent Durham Week – Through Sunday – Last chance to make a dent in your holiday shopping and make a difference in the local community! Sustain-a-Bull kicks off its eighth annual shop local campaign on Small Business Saturday. This is the event’s last week, and it includes deals at dozens of local businesses including The Regulator Bookshop, Joe Van Gogh, Cozy and The Glass Jug Beer Lab. Instagram a photo of you shopping at one of the participating stores and you could win a prize from one of the Sustain-a-Bull partners!
The FENCE: Durham – Thursday – The City of Durham, in partnership with Click! Photography Festival and Photoville, presents this large-scale outdoor photo exhibit featuring work from 46 artists at Orange Street Mall. The FENCE, which was created in 2011, is the largest outdoor photography exhibition in the world and travels yearly to seven cities across the U.S. Don’t miss its last week!
School of Rock – Thursday, 7:30pm; Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2pm and 8pm; and Sunday, 1pm and 6:30pm – Enjoy a night of hilarious live rock theater all based on the hit film. On stage at DPAC, the musical features all the original songs from the movie and fourteen new ones from Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Joe Henry Residency: On Influences: Take Me To The River – Thursday, 7pm – The American folk singer, songwriter, producer and author, begins his three-day residency at Duke Performances with a talk at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University examining the ephemeral nature of his past influences and artistic predecessors.
13th Annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting – Friday, 6-7pm – Count down to the start of the holidays with the free annual tower lighting celebration, featuring community choral groups and other surprises. There will be performances by Batala Durham, Elevate, Bulltown Strutters, a special DPAC performance with ‘School of Rock’, Creekside Elementary School, Barriskill Dance Theatre School, Jordan High School, Durham Children’s Choir and the big man himself, Santa! Once the tower is lit, the holiday fun continues over at Diamond View Park as the Home for the Holidays playhouses come to life and the bidding begins! Santa Selfies will be available near the TROSA Tree Lot. Don’t forget to visit the Tree of Bikes on the Burt’s Bees Patio!
Handel’s “Messiah” Concert – Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2pm; Sunday, 3pm – Experience an epic story of salvation through Duke University Chapel’s annual concerts of Handel’s masterwork. The first two performances by the Duke Chapel Choir will be streamed live online and radio broadcast internationally through a partnership with Trans World Radio.
Lynn Grissett Quintet – Friday, 8pm – The Carolina Theatre presents Grissett, formerly an educated professional musician and member of New Power Generation, a band once led by late Prince. Grissett has also performed around the world as a solo artist and as part of elite ensembles.
Alexa Rose & The Midnight Stringbird – Friday, 8:30-11pm – On the Americana circuit, Rose’s sound has stood out and been praised for its tangible hunger and real bitter sweetness tangled in melodies that sound new and old at the same time. She brings her voice to this show at The Bullpen, where $1 from every draft beer sold will benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
Durham Kirkland’s Grand Opening Celebration – Saturday, 8am-9pm – Kirkland’s celebrates its grand opening in Renaissance Village with a daylong celebration. The first 50 customers will receive a free gift bag with $10 gift card, and there will be a $50 gift card drawing.
Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, 8:30-10:30am – Stay in your your PJ’s and join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a pancake breakfast featuring holiday themed activities and a sing-a-long at at C&H Cafeteria at Northgate Mall. Tickets are available for $10 per child eating breakfast (children younger than 1 year old not eating breakfast admitted free). Proceeds benefit Exchange Family Center.
Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, 9-11am – Enjoy a hearty breakfast with Santa and start your Christmas shopping at Durham Memorial Baptist Church‘s craft and bake sale. Kids ages 10 and younger eat free.
Holiday Greenery – Saturday, 10-noon and 2-4pm – Make your own natural holiday display at this Sarah P. Duke Gardens workshop, where instructors will lead participants through producing their own holiday wreaths and decorations from provided supplies. Registration is online.
Melina’s Fresh Pasta Grand Opening Celebration – Saturday, 2-6pm – Celebrate the opening of this fresh pasta shop with pasta samples, cooking and pasta-making demos, and tours of the facilities to see the pasta-making process.
Pauli Murray Place Walk, Talk & Tour – Saturday, 2-5pm – Durham Community Land Trustees presents a walking tour through West End, led by Executive Director Selina Mack and hosted by DCLT homeowner Kristin Tate. Come out if you’re interested in seeing real community land trust houses and learning about nonprofit DCLT’s success in developing permanent affordable housing.
Fillaree’s Holiday Opening Party – Saturday, 4-7pm – Come out to celebrate the grand opening of the Fillaree Storefront and Factory with food, drink, music and some of their signature sustainable soaps.
City of Durham Holiday Parade and Fun Fest – Saturday, 11am-4pm – Bring family and friends to watch dynamic floats, local bands and community groups make their way down Main Street, with a special appearance by Santa. After the parade, enjoy sledding, visits with Santa, bounce houses, arts and crafts activities and more at the Fun Fest at American Tobacco Campus.
City of Durham Tree Lighting – Saturday, 5-7pm – Kick off the holiday season at the CCB Plaza with a tree lighting by Mayor Bill Bell, live music by the Boom Unit Brass Band and a self-guided tour of local window displays.
David Crosby & Friends – Saturday, 8pm – As part of his Sky Trails Tour, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer performs music from his new album and some of his best hits at The Carolina Theatre.
Joe Henry Residency: Debut of a New Album in Performance: Thrum – Saturday, 8pm – To wrap up his three-day residency with Duke Performances, the American folk singer, songwriter, producer and author performs songs from his new album as well as old tunes at Baldwin Auditorium.
Release: Professor Toon with Deniro Farrar – Saturday, 8:30pm – This Durham producer, rapper and songwriter performs at Motorco Music Hall with Charlotte rapper Farrar, who will offer a sneak peak of his new album.
Russ Varnell & His Too Country Band – Saturday, 8:30-11pm – This band brings old school, North Carolina country sounds in their rhinestone-studded outfits at The Bullpen. Remember, $1 from every draft pint sold will benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
Triangle Vegfest Holiday Market – Sunday 11am-3pm – Shop from more than 30 vendors and enjoy food, beer and other fun at the Durham Armory. Donations will be collected to support Triangle Vegfest and charities for hurricane relief and animal sanctuaries. Soul Cocina will be on hand with brunch!
Sunday Funday for Hope – Sunday, 1-3pm – Bring the whole family to Bull City Ciderworks for an afternoon of music and fun featuring Adam Lee Decker. A portion of pint sales will benefit Housing for New Hope to help prevent and end homelessness.
Paws and Claus – Sunday, 1-6pm – Photos with Santa are for furry members of the family, too. This holiday season, preserve memories by dressing up your pet in holiday attire for a professional photo at Northgate Mall. All proceeds will go to the Animal Protection Society of Durham.
“Beethoven’s Cello” Book Discussion and Signing – Sunday, 3-5pm – The Regulator Bookshop and North Carolina Cello Society present an afternoon with Larry Todd and Marc Moskovitz, authors of “Beethoven’s Cello: Five Revolutionary Sonatas and Their World.” The event, held at the Bone Hall in the Duke Music Building, will also feature live music from Beethoven’s sonatas and other compositions.
Nnenna Freelon + Love Letters to Durham – Sunday, 4-7pm – Join Pierce Freelon at his campaign headquarters at 220 W. Geer St. for a free, intimate concert with Nnenna Freelon, Laura Reed and friends, and pen love letters to Durham City Council members, who will be sworn in the next day.
Road to Memphis/First Sunday Jam – Sunday, 6-9pm – Come out for a night of blues music to support the Triangle Blues Society Blues Challenge winners on their Road to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge. Performances at The Blue Note Grill will be followed by an open blues jam and a fundraising guitar raffle to support the winning artists.
Brown – Sunday, 7pm – Dance artist and Culture Mill co-director Murielle Elizéon explores her identity as a brown French woman in her new solo work that focuses on the intersections of heritage, gender and racial stereotypes, violence against women, vulnerability and resilience. The performance will take place at Monkey Bottom Collaborative.
Carols at Fullsteam to benefit InterFaith Council – Sunday, 7:30-9:30pm – Join Durham County Beer & Hymns for a sing-along at Fullsteam Brewery. Song requests can be posted online and proceeds will benefit the InterFaith Council for Social Services, providing community members with food, clothing and shelter.
Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee – Sunday, 8pm – The Carolina Theatre presents Robert Earl Keen in his nationwide Christmas tour down the East Coast. Often referred to as the Jimmy Buffet of Christmas, Robert Earl Keen will bring visions not only of sugar plums, elves and maybe a cow or two, but also the spirit of country music’s greatest artists, both past and present, along with some of Keen’s greatest hits.