It's December and the race to Christmas is on! This weekend, you can choose shopping, live theater, holiday displays, parades and some quality time with Santa.
The last First. All good things must come to an end. First Friday takes a break until April. But, you still have one more chance from 4-9 p.m. this Friday for specials, demonstrations and entertainment at Downtown Racine shops, galleries and restaurants. For details, visit http://www.firstfridaysracine.com
Holiday in style. The historic Henry S. Durand Mansion, 1012 Main St., is dressed to the holiday nines and everyone's invited to see it! "Holidays in the Mansion" opens Saturday and runs weekends through Dec. 20. You'll see beautifully decorated rooms, including a dozen fireplaces and countless Christmas trees. The open houses are 12-7 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 11 and younger. The Racine Masonic Center, which owns the 1850s-era brick mansion, is also holding several holiday events including a wine/beer tasting and breakfast with Santa. Call 262-308-6840 or visit www.racinemasoniccenter.com
Run for a cause. One of the country's largest 5k fundraisers — Jingle Bell RunWalk — takes place Saturday. The Racine area event is one of dozens of 5k runs around the country held on behalf of the Arthritis Foundation. The Jingle Bell RunWalk is 9:30 a.m. at the Sturtevant Sportsplex, 10116 Stellar Ave., Sturtevant. Register online at: www.arthritis.org/jinglebellrun
Special shopping. Local artists and their work take center stage at the annual Studio Open House 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 16th Street Studios, 1405 16th St. More than 35 artists are based at the studios. While you're there, check out the free "Spirit of the Racine Entrepreneur" exhibit where you'll see dozens of products that were manufactured at the site over the past 150 years. Visit www.16thstudio.tumblr.com
Love a parade. Santa Claus is a busy guy this weekend! He's appearing in two parades in Racine County. The 32nd Annual Burlington Christmas Parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Downtown Burlington. This year's theme is "A Storybook Christmas." Santa will stick around to meet the kids at his chalet at Wehmhoff Park. On Saturday, the Waterford Winter Wonderland Parade starts at 5:30 p.m. in Downtown Waterford. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet the kids after the parade during the tree-lighting ceremony at the Waterford Public Library.
A new show. A special family event opens at 7 p.m. Friday at the Racine Theatre Guild, 2519 Northwestern Ave. "Disney's Beauty and Beast" is a live musical adaptation of the popular film. Performances are on weekends through Dec. 15. For tickets and show times, call 262-633-4218 or visit www.racinetheatre.org
Santa and animals. When Santa's not riding in parades, he's eating a lot of breakfasts. One of the most unique settings is with the animals at the Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St. The pancake and sausage breakfast is 9-11 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children; zoo members save $1. Visit www.racinezoo.org