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Road Trip! Destination: Philadelphia holiday-style

| Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Art by Alexandra Exter
Design from Décors de Théâtre, 1930, Alexandra Exter, Russian (born Ukraine), 1882 - 1949, Pochoir print, 20 1/2 x 13 inches (52.1 x 33 cm), Framed: 29 1/2 × 23 1/2 × 1 1/4 inches (74.9 × 59.7 × 3.2 cm), Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
CNAC. Photo of Leger art by Jacques Faujour
Composition à la main et aux chapeaux, 1927, Fernand Léger, French, 1881 - 1955, Oil on canvas, 97 3/4 x 73 inches (248.3 x 185.4 cm), Centre Pompidou, Paris Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle
Tate Images / Tate Images
No. VI / Composition No. II, 1920, Piet Mondrian, Dutch, 1872 – 1944, Oil on canvas, 39 3/16 × 39 3/8 inches (99.5 × 100 cm), Tate: Purchased 1967
R. Kennedy for GPTMC
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center provides a fitting setting for the icon of freedom, and for the first time allows visitors to view exhibits focusing on the Bell’s origins and its modern day role as an international icon of freedom.
Besides being home to The Philadelphia Orchestra and other groups, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts also boasts a winter garden under its soaring glass roof.
G. Widman for GPTMC
Skaters glide on ice against a picturesque backdrop at the Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn’s Landing. Visitors can beat the chill with activities and snacks in the warming pavilion.
G. Widman for GPTMC
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, a modern, glass-roofed building on the Avenue of the Arts.
R. Kennedy for GPTMC
Every year, the Fairmount Park Houses get dressed in their holiday best for yuletide tours. Visitors can wander through one or all of these architectural masterpieces and learn about their history, architecture and holiday decorations. Pictured here is Lemon Hill.
G. Widman for GPTMC
Fireworks brighten up the sky along the Delaware River waterfront in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve.
R. Kennedy for GPTMC
A Philadelphia tradition as iconic as the cheesesteak, the Mummers Parade struts into town every New Year’s Day. All year long, local clubs (split into five divisions: Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades) prepare elaborate costumes, movable scenery and intricate musical and dance routines—all for this one spectacular day. After marching down Broad Street, the Fancy Brigades head to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a ticketed show and judging. In 2013, the Shooting Stars club performed along the theme “Super Heroes! Super Villains.”
R. Kennedy for GPTMC
Located in Historic Philadelphia, steps from the Old City neighborhood’s shops and restaurants, Elfreth’s Alley holds the distinction of the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the country. The earliest buildings along the alley were built in the early 1700s. Each year, on the first Saturday in December, Elfreth’s Alley residents open their homes to the public, allowing visitors to see these historic homes decorated for the holidays—inside and out. Baked goods, cider and Colonial carolers and musicians round out the festive event.
Christopher Gabello
Stunning holiday trees will transform 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia into a local winter wonderland. Festival of Trees will be on public display in 10 Arts and the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia at 10 Avenue of the Arts (South Broad Street) from Dec. 4 until Dec. 29.
Les Disques, 1918, Fernand Léger, French, 1881 - 1955, Oil on canvas, 105 1/2 × 81 7/8 × 1 9/16 inches (268 × 208 × 3.9 cm), Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris.
Running of the Santas Mega Festival
Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, elves, human Christmas trees and candy canes ─ these are just a few of the festive Christmas costumes that partygoers will sport at the “Running of the Santas Mega Festival.”
Fernand Léger
The City, 1919, Fernand Léger, French, 1881 – 1955, Oil on canvas, 7 feet 7 inches x 9 feet 9 1/2 inches (231.1 x 298.4 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1952, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Running of the Santas Mega Festival
Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, elves, human Christmas trees and candy canes ─ these are just a few of the festive Christmas costumes that partygoers will sport at the 16th annual “Running of the Santas Mega Festival” on December 7, 2013.

Individuals dressed as the jolly old man in red suits will go dashing through the streets of Philadelphia for the annual “Running of the Santas Mega Festival” on Dec. 7.

The event started in 1998, when 40 friends decided to suit up in holiday decor and go bar hopping. More than a decade-and-a-half later, the event has grown across the world with more than 20 host cities from California to New Zealand.

Organizers are predicting a record 10,000 participants.

Running of the Santas was created by Matt McDermott, 39, of Haddon Heights, N.J. Participants dress like St. Nick, Mrs. Claus, elves, Christmas trees and candy canes.

“It started as a bar crawl and fun run of about three blocks, and it just kept on attracting more and more people,” McDermott says. “It got to the point where we couldn't all fit into one place. So, we made some changes.”

Those changes include taking the show outside and adding entertainment to create Philadelphia's largest wintertime festival. There are live bands all day and night. The day starts at Finnegan's Wake, which is referred to as “The South Pole,” and ends three blocks away at the Electric Factory, which is “The North Pole.”

Grammy-nominated rock band Tonic will headline the musical performances. Costume contests will include the “Best Dressed Santa” and the memorable “Hottest Mrs. Claus” awards.

Registration is $25; $15 in advance. Details: www.runningofthesantas.com or www.visitphilly.com

While in the city of Brotherly Love, there are plenty of things to do to celebrate the holiday season.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

House tours

Twelve Elfreth's Alley homes, glowing with holiday decorations, will open Dec. 7. Deck the Alley is traditionally the most popular event on the nation's oldest residential street. The event features carols performed by the Colonial Revelers, story-telling, a book signing by the authors of the just-released “Lost Philadelphia,” the upside-down Christmas tree and a visit from Benjamin Franklin. Tickets are $25; $15 for seniors and students; $55 for a family. Details: www.elfrethsalley.org

Another popular house tour is the Charms of Fairmont Park, which features seven historic sites that offer a glimpse into the intriguing public and private lives of prominent Philadelphians just prior to and after the American Revolution.

Through Dec. 15, tours include charms such as Strawberry Mansion, Laurel Hill, Woodford Mansion, Cedar Grove, Lemon Hill, Sweetbriar and Mt. Pleasant.

The historic house museums once served as the rural summer villas for well-to-do families during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Tickets are $41.50.

Details: www.parkcharms.com

Waterfront Winterfest

The Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn's Landing opens its 20th season with a new look that comes in the form of a pop-up holiday garden and village called Waterfront Winterfest, featuring shops, music and food. New this year is a 3-D holiday light show called Bright Lights, Big Santa that runs on the hour from 5 to 11 p.m. through Jan. 5. Details: 215-925-7465 or www.delawareriverwaterfront.com

Philadelphia Museum of Art

As one of the largest museums in the United States, the Philadelphia Museum of Art invites visitors from around the world to explore its renowned collections, acclaimed special exhibitions and enriching programs. Don't miss “Leger: Modern Art and the Metropolis” — an exhibition that will shed light on the 1920s in Paris when the great French modernist Fernand Leger (1881-1955) played a leading role in refining the practice of painting by bringing it into active engagement with the urban environment and modern mass media. It runs through Jan. 5.

Tickets are $25; $23 for seniors; $20 for students; $12 for ages 5 through 12. Details: 215-763-8100 or www.philamuseum.org

Nutcracker Market

This season, Pennsylvania Ballet presents its first Nutcracker Market on Dec. 7 and 8 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. This festive holiday market — a fundraiser for Pennsylvania Ballet and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet — will feature 50 exhibitors offering hand-crafted works such as ornaments, jewelry, photography and dance-inspired pieces. Details: www.paballet.org

Not far from the market on Broad Street, the Ritz Carlton has the Festival of Trees. A dozen stunning holiday trees will transform 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge at the hotel. The display is open Dec. 4 through 29. Each eight-foot tree is decorated and donated by a hand-picked designer or local institution. Free. Details: 215-523-8000 or www.ritzcarlton.com/philadelphia

The Liberty Bell Center

The Liberty Bell Center offers a video presentation and exhibits about the Liberty Bell, focusing on its origins and its modern-day role as an international icon of freedom. Taped presentations about history of the Liberty Bell are offered in a dozen languages. The bell weighs about 2,000 pounds and is made of 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and small amounts of zinc, arsenic, gold and silver. It silently reminds us of the power of liberty. Admission is free. The attraction is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Details: www.nps.gov/inde/liberty-bell-center.htm

The Mummers Parade

New Year's Day is about celebrating, and there's no better place to fete than at Philadelphia's Mummers Parade, a 114-year-tradition in which 10,000 men and women dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette and strut up one of the city's main streets. Tickets for the outdoor bleacher seats are $19. Details: www.mummers.com

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