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We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tis the Season! Holiday Events in Bloomington


The holidays are indeed holly and jolly, but in Bloomington, they are anything but ordinary. As the temperatures fall (maybe some snow too), get into the spirit with holiday events, unique shopping, and plenty of delicious treats to share with your loved ones, big and small. 


Artisan Guilds of Bloomington Show: Nov. 4 - 5 | Monroe Convention Center 

The Artisan Guilds of Bloomington will hold its 3rd annual Holiday Show and Sale. AGB is the collaboration of the Local Clay Potters' Guild, the Bloomington Weavers and Spinners Guild and the Indiana Glass Guild. Visitors will be able to view and purchase quality art, learn about the craft through demonstrations and displays, and meet the artists. 


Bloomington Handmade Market: Nov. 12 | Monroe Convention Center

Join in Bloomington Handmade Market's 13th event celebrating and supporting shopping local and handmade. Over 60 vendors showing the best of indie handmade, featuring handmade bath and body, screen printed tees, illustrations, cards, and original paintings, gorgeous jewelry, handmade children's items and clothing and so much more!


White Christmas (musical): Nov. 12-13 | IU Auditorium | 7:30pm

Get ready to discover a holiday musical, filled with the timeless Irving Berlin tunes and heartwarming spirit of the classic film, that’s as fresh and fun as newly fallen snow.

white xmas

Canopy of Lights: Nov. 25 | Courthouse Square | 6:00pm

Celebrate our sparkling holiday tradition of lighting the downtown lights with Bloomington Brass Band playing holiday tunes. City and County officials as well as Polka Dot the Clown will be on hand to welcome Santa to the stage to light the Canopy of Lights. Costume characters, hot chocolate, holiday snacks and more will help with the festive atmosphere! For more information check out the website. Don't forget to check out all the other great events happening all day downtown! Free parking downtown all day.


Holly Days with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra : Nov. 25 | The Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 5:30 & 8:00pm

Join us before or after the Canopy of Lights for a magical, memorable holiday program featuring your favorite Christmas carols, seasonal favorites, a sing-along, and so much more! Special guests include Soprano Amy Cope, IU’s Musical Beginnings Program, and of course, that jolly old elf himself, Santa! Pre-concert Christmas cheer provided in the lobby by the Bloomington Brass Quintet. Our early (5:30 pm) show is perfect for families with children, while the later show (8:00 pm) features a wider range of holiday music.

bloomington orchestra


Season's Greetings: Nov. 25 - January7 | Monroe County History Center 

Recurring weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 

Join us this holiday season for Season's Greetings, an exhibit featuring the story of holiday greetings, including vintage cards, caroling, and more! Bring the family to play with our new and vintage games and toys, and to create holiday cards for local nursing homes!

Holiday Market: Nov. 26 | City Hall Showers Building | 10:00-3:00pm 

Don't miss the 14th annual Holiday Market! Shop for your favorite locally grown farm products, and arts and fine crafts created by local artisans, all while listening to the music of the season. The TubaSantas fill the Market with holiday spirit, and St. Nick and his reindeer will visit too! Read more.


Small Business Saturday: Nov. 26 | Downtown Bloomington

Move over big chain retailers, it's time for small businesses to take the spotlight. Join us for Small Business Saturday where small, locally owned businesses are waiting to meet you with a variety of special offers. Make a day of it! Visit an art gallery, get a massage, enjoy a delicious nosh and make some new friends – Downtown. Read more. 

Downtown 1


Photos With Santa: Nov. 26 - Dec.18 | Fountain Square Mall 

Come get your picture taken with Santa every Saturday and Sunday throughout the holiday season!  Santa is located on the lower level of Fountain Square by the fountain. 


1st Annual Bloomington Christmas Sing - A - Long: Nov. 29 | Buskitk-Chumley Theater | 6:30pm

Kick off the season of cheer at the 1st Annual Bloomington Christmas Sing-Along! We'll be rockin' around the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Tuesday, November 29th - 6:30pm. Family-friendly. Admission is Free. We'll be celebrating Bloomington and raising awareness for the Interfaith Winter Shelter. It'll be a Holly, Jolly time!


The Nutcracker: Dec. 1-4 | Musical Arts Center | 7:30pm & 2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday

Breathtaking sets, beautiful costumes, beloved music, and, of course, wonderful dancing—what's not to love about The Nutcracker? Make the holiday season especially magical for the children in your lives with this dream ballet that bewitches with its Sugar Plum Fairy and her handsome Prince, dancing snowflakes, and toys that really do come alive when little Clara falls asleep under the Christmas tree. A sellout event year after year.


Chimes of Christmas with Singing Hoosiers: Dec 3 | IU Auditorium | 3:00-7:00pm

Bloomington’s favorite annual musical extravaganza, Chimes of Christmas, returns to IU Auditorium to help audiences celebrate the holidays in style. “Chimes of Christmas is known every year as the most cheerful and family-friendly event among all of the Bloomington public,” a Bloomington resident said in the Indiana Daily Student. “I love attending it every year in time for the Christmas season, and I will continue going as long as they have it. It really is that spectacular.”


Wylie House by Candelight: Dec. 3 | Wylie House | 4:00-7:00pm

Please join us to celebrate the season in the home of IU's first president, Andrew Wylie. Campus and community join together to honor IU history and enjoy seasonal refreshments, live music, and period caroling and crafts.This year we are pleased to begin the evening with a special children's story hour. Emily Weisner Thompson will be present to read from her books, What if There's No Chimney? and Letters to Santa Clause, from 4:00-4:30pm.


Wylie House Museum


Krampus Night: Dec. 3 | Showers Common | 5:00 - 7:00pm

Will you be naughty or nice? Everyone will be there: the Angels, St. Nicholas, and of course the Krampus! Make Krampus crafts, watch the parade, get up have your photo taken with the Krampus! Read more.


White Christmas: Dec. 4 | The Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 6:00-8:00pm

Having left the Army following W.W.II, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, as the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General. All of the songs in this film were written by Irving Berlin, including holiday classics such as “White Christmas,” which won an Oscar for best original song, and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” which was also an Oscar nominee.As with all film screenings at the BCT, costumes are encouraged!

white christmas


Cardinal Stage Company Presents Oliver!: Dec. 16 - 18 | The Buskirk-Chumley Theater | Fri. 6:30pm, Sat. & Sun. 2pm & 6:30pm

For the 2016 family holiday show, the company celebrates 10 years of kids contributing to Cardinal with a revival of Lionel Bart’s glorious Oliver!. The show will be produced in partnership with multiple local youth groups and will feature a cast of 75+ kids, along with our own legendary Mike Price as the thieving scalawag Fagin!


Family Craft Days: Dec. 4 | Mathers Museum of World Cultures | 2 - 3:30pm

Help us celebrate Indiana's 200th birthday with a fun afternoon of crafting Hoosier homemade toys. Learn how to make dolls, ball and cup games, and whirlygigs were made as we celebrate Indiana's bicentennial (and we'll have a chance to make some "global" toys, too). The event will be free and open to the public.

Stories with Mrs. Clause: Dec. 7, Dec. 14, Dec. 21 | Fountain Square Mall | 6:00pm & 6:30pm

Sit and listen as Santa reads Christmas stories and sing-a-long to Christmas songs. Milk and cookies provided!

Emily Hines

Emily Hines

Emily Hines is a Bloomington transplant by way of St. Simons Island, Georgia and is the digital content Coordinator for Visit Bloomington. When she's not blogging or grammin' you can find her hiking in the Hoosier National Forest with her husband and two black labs or enjoying a craft beer and slice of pizza in town.


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