‘Tis the Season: 5 Cincinnati holiday events that are worth the drive

At Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa, running at the Newport Aquarium through December, kids will interact with Santa as he descends into a 385,000-gallon tank surrounded by sharks and one loggerhead turtle. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
At Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa, running at the Newport Aquarium through December, kids will interact with Santa as he descends into a 385,000-gallon tank surrounded by sharks and one loggerhead turtle. CONTRIBUTED

Now that Thanksgiving is over and you need to forget the trauma of Black Friday, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have several cool holiday events for those of you ready to fully embrace the spirit of the season and put your remaining shopping stresses on hold.

WATER WONDERLAND WITH SCUBA SANTA

What to Know:

1. Scuba Santa represents one of the more unusual interactions between kids and Old Saint Nick. Rather than sitting on his lap, kids will talk to Santa as he descends into a 385,000-gallon tank surrounded by a variety of sharks and one loggerhead turtle named Denver.

2. Due to the sharks being regularly fed with restaurant-quality seafood, the greatest danger to Scuba Santa is actually Denver, due to his immensity and natural curiosity. But don’t worry, kids. There always two “safety elves” in the tank to keep Scuba Santa free from any animal “love bites.”

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3. On Dec. 10 at 8 a.m., families can enjoy a special Scuba Santa breakfast, which includes a meet-and-greet with Santa and a buffet-style breakfast in the Riverside Room, which overlooks the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline. Tickets are $24.99-$34.99, or $19.99 for pass holders.

Want to go?

WHAT: Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa

WHERE: Newport Aquarium, 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, Kentucky

WHEN: Through Dec. 31 (except Christmas Day), daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Cost: Free with admission ticket, which his $24.99 (adults), and $16.99 (children 12 and younger)

MORE INFO: (800) 406-3474 or www.newportaquarium.com

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At the Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, Santa makes a more dramatic entrance than usual by rappelling down a downtown Cincinnati skyscraper. CONTRIBUTED

At the Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, Santa makes a more dramatic entrance than usual by rappelling down a downtown Cincinnati skyscraper. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
At the Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, Santa makes a more dramatic entrance than usual by rappelling down a downtown Cincinnati skyscraper. CONTRIBUTED

MACY’S DOWNTOWN DAZZLE

What to Know:

1. If Scuba Santa has any competition for the most locally creative version of Santa, it would undoubtedly be the daredevil Macy’s Downtown Dazzle Santa at downtown Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. That’s because this “Santa” is actually a member of an organization called the Ohio Rappel Masters. He will kick off the event by rappelling down the Huntington Center, swinging, bounding off, and spinning around to the delight (and apprehension) of the crowd as he does so.

2. Once Santa touches ground, the holiday festivities will continue with the Queen City Sisters and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus. The Queen City Sisters are a 1940s and 50s- style girl group who do their own arrangements of songs and carols from that era.

3. Rozzi’s Fireworks will conclude the evening with their usual state-of-the-art pyrotechnics, accompanied by a soundtrack they customize for the Dazzle every year. Meanwhile, there will be food trucks, and all Fountain Square restaurants and the skating rink will be open.

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Want to go?

WHAT: Macy's Downtown Dazzle

WHEN: Dec. 2, 9; 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Cincinnati

COST: No admission cost

MORE INFO: www.myfountainsquare.com

UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER BAR CRAWL

What to Know: This ugly sweater craft beer bar crawl hosted by the Braxton Brewing Company will take you through six notable downtown Cincinnati bars. There will be food specials as well as drink specials for Braxton, Oscar Blue, and New Belgium beers. A portion of all food and drink purchases will go to Toys for Tots. The crawl will include The Blind Pig, BurgerFi, the Stretch and Howl at the Moon & Splitsville.

Want to go?

WHAT: Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl

WHEN: Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m.-midnight

COST: No admission cost

MORE INFO:www.braxtonbrewing.com

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CHRISTMAS SAENGERFEST

What to Know: As with many things Cincinnati such as Oktoberfest and Glier's Goettafest, Saengerfest is a German tradition, though instead of focusing on delicious food and spirits, Saengerfest invites over 20 regional, acclaimed choral groups to perform in Over-the-Rhine to both commemorate the holiday season and to provide exposure for community churches and the charitable work they do for the needy. Shuttles will take you between venues as desired. You can also enjoy food and craft beer and shop at the holiday market. The list of Cincinnati venues is as follows:

1. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St.

2. Over-the-Rhine Community Church, 1310 Race St.

3. First Lutheran Church, 1208 Race St.

4. Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1528 Race St.

5. St. Francis Seraph Church, 1615 Republic St.

6. Moerlein Brewery, 1621 Moore St.

Want to Go?

WHAT: Christmas Saengerfest

WHEN: Dec. 1-2, 7-11 p.m. Friday, 6:30-11 p.m. Saturday (choirs perform hourly)

COST: $30 (single night), $60 (both nights)

MORE INFO (including venue schedule): www.christmassaengerfest.com

Caption
Every year, the Cincinnati Boychoir puts on a Christmas production that combines singing and theater at the Aronoff Center. Last year, they performed “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (pictured). This year, they will be performing “A Christmas Carol.” CONTRIBUTED

Every year, the Cincinnati Boychoir puts on a Christmas production that combines singing and theater at the Aronoff Center. Last year, they performed “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (pictured). This year, they will be performing “A Christmas Carol.” CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Every year, the Cincinnati Boychoir puts on a Christmas production that combines singing and theater at the Aronoff Center. Last year, they performed “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (pictured). This year, they will be performing “A Christmas Carol.” CONTRIBUTED

“SING ME A STORY: A CHRISTMAS CAROL”

What to Know:

1. The Cincinnati Boychoir consists of 200 students – from first-graders to high school seniors – from schools across the Tri-State. Every year, they put on a Christmas production at the Aronoff Center. Previous productions have included “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “The Polar Express,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” This year, it’s “A Christmas Carol.”

2. To be clear, this will not be simply a “singing” version of the classic story. Rather, the choral music will be used to illustrate the themes of the book. In between carols and gospel arrangements of classic songs, there will be select readings where Scrooge will interact with Boychoir members, who play such memorable characters as Tiny Tim.

Want to go?

WHAT: "Sing Me A Story: A Christmas Carol"

WHEN: Dec. 2, 5 p.m.

WHERE: Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati

COST: $20-$35

MORE INFO: 513-621-2787 or www.cincinnatiarts.org

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