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This December weekend brings holiday season traditions to Racine County. You can see a decorated train, watch a holiday musical, catch parades and have some family fun. Come along with Real Racine.

The train is back. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train returns to Sturtevant on Thursday with a great, free music performance and an opportunity to help out local food banks. The beautifully decorated train is scheduled to arrive at 7:20 p.m. at the Amtrak Depot, 9900 E. Exploration Court. Musicians Willy Porter and The Trews will perform for about 20 minutes starting at 7:30. Non-perishable food and cash donations will be accepted for the Racine County Food Bank. Learn more at:

A holiday classic. The Racine Theatre Guild’s production of “A Christmas Carol – The Musical” opens Friday at the Theatre Guild stage, 2519 Northwestern Ave. This family friendly show is the transformative story of Ebenezer Scrooge told with rousing music and unforgettable characters. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. “A Christmas Carol” continues next weekend, Dec. 14-16. Ticket info. at 262-633-4218 or

Music, music. Another local holiday favorite is back this Friday evening. The Racine Symphony Orchestra (RSO) Lakeside Pops Holiday Concert is at 7 p.m. at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. This concert features old and new holiday favorites performed by the RSO with choirs from Park High School and The Prairie School. A limited number of general admission seats are available at $25. Students ages 20 and younger admitted free. Advance reservations are a must. Call 262-636-9285 or visit

Pick a parade. Choose one or both holiday parades in Western Racine County this weekend. Burlington’s Christmas Parade, with the 2018 theme “Jingle All the Way,” is at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Downtown Burlington. This popular annual event includes bands, marchers and, of course, Santa Claus. Following the parade, the Christmas Tree will be lit at Wehmhoff Square and everyone can enjoy caroling and meet the live reindeer and the Snow Dogs. Santa’s Chalet will be open after the parade and on weekends leading up to Christmas. Presented by the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce. In Waterford, the Winter Wonderland Parade, postponed from last week, is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday along Main Street. Arrive early for ice skating, hot chocolate and s’mores. The parade features Mr. and Mrs. Santa and a special appearance by the Racine Fourth Fest calliope. After the parade, families are invited to cookie and ornament decorating at Marty’s Fiesta Hall on West Main. A fireworks show is planned for 6:30 p.m. from the municipal lot on Second Street. The event is coordinated by Absolutely Waterford.

Friday holiday. The year’s final First Friday is THIS Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. in Downtown Racine. The shops, galleries and nightspots will be open with specials and an opportunity to meet friends and buy local. First Fridays will take a break until April. Details at

Shopping time. Head to Downtown Racine for some pre-holiday shopping and fun. The Downtown Racine Open House runs all day Saturday. Be sure to cast your vote in the Holiday Window Decorating Competition and enjoy free Kringle samples at 22 locations throughout the Downtown area. Pick up a punch card at the Kringle stops to earn a $5 gift card for 10 punches or visit all 22 locations a chance to win a $100 Downtown Prize Pack. Parking is free all day at the meters on the streets, surface lots and the McMynn Ramp. Details at

Songs for a cause. Blankfest Wisconsin 12 is your chance to help area homeless shelters and listen to some amazing music. It’s all happening at McAuliffe’s Pub, 3700 Meachem Road, Racine. Doors open at 7 p.m.; shows start at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Admission is a new or gently used blanket or toiletries/assorted items for donation to homeless shelters. The Friday night lineup has Rocky Rose, Hot LZ, Josh Krug & Friends and Nick Ramsey & The Family. On Saturday, the show includes Hey Muchacho, Ifihadahifi, Hot Coffin and Guerilla Ghost.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...