Things to do, places to go this weekend
by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Deskhttp://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/12/c...t_njpac_in.htmlCelebrate Kwanzaa at NJPAC
In 1966, activist and black studies professor Maulana Karenga of California State University created the holiday of Kwanzaa to teach people about African-American history and culture.
Today, Kwanzaa and its seven principles are observed with many different celebrations, including this weekend's Kwanzaa Festival at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
The festival includes a marketplace with free entry, where New Jersey vendors sell handmade jewelry, art, books, bath and body products, designer clothing, kente cloths, home furnishings and more. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. today and 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Prudential lobby.
The free event also features a children's festival today from noon to 6 p.m., with an arts and crafts village from noon to 5 p.m., a children's book fair, programs for parents, music and percussion workshops, dance classes and special programs for parents. Activities take place in the main building and the neighboring Lucent Center on Rector Street.
The Ko-Thi Dance Company will also perform "The Spirit of Kwanzaa" in the Victoria Theater at 2 and 5 p.m. today. Tickets are $22; $12 for kids. Call (888) 466-5722 or visit njpac.org or visitnj.org
.For the kids
The days of King Arthur in Medieval England will be brought to the stage in the Running Rabbit Family Theatre production of "The Sword in the Stone" at Luna Stage in Montclair.
The play chronicles the early days of King Arthur before Camelot, when Merlin the Magician selects him to be king of the struggling land and he matures.
"The Sword in the Stone" will be performed today and Dec. 27 at 11 a.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and Dec. 29 and 30 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $14. Call (973) 744-3309 or visit rrfamilytheatre.org.Back in time
Take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage from 6 to 9 tonight and Sunday night in downtown New Brunswick.
The nostalgic carriage rides are free and will take visitors through the festively decorated streets, with holiday lights, decorated windows, holiday evergreens and the Holiday Tree at Monument Square.
Docents from the New Brunswick Historical Society will share tales of the city's past during your ride. The free rides depart from the Hyatt Regency at 2 Albany St. and the Heldrich at 10 Livingston Ave.
The rides are sponsored by the Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick Parking Authority, Johnson & Johnson, Flower Station and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. For information, visit newbrunswick.com
or call (732) 545-4849.Holiday lights
Get in the holiday spirit at the Essex County and Prudential Holiday Light Spectacular at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange.
The second annual display, which has been expanded with more light displays and better-lit animal exhibits, is open from 5 to 9 p.m. today and Sunday and daily through Jan. 4. (The zoo will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 and Jan. 1.)
The zoo also will offer some special holiday events and performances, including an ice sculpting demonstration from 6 to 8 p.m. today and Dec. 27, Marshmallow Smores Night Sunday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. (Smores cost $2) and a winter bird feeder craft for kids Dec. 28 from 5 to 9 p.m.
Admission is $6; $3 for children. The zoo is at 560 Northfield Ave. Call (973) 731-5800.
It's not too late for a little nutcracking.
There are still tickets for the American Repertory Ballet's annual production of "The Nutcracker" at the State Theatre in New Brunswick this weekend. Choreographed by artistic director Graham Lustig, the production includes students from ARB's Princeton Ballet School and features a live orchestra and chorus.
Performances are today and Sunday at 1 and 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $55; go to statetheatrenj.org
or call (732) 246-7469. The theater is at 15 Livingston Ave. in downtown New Brunswick.Do good
An oceanfront restaurant in Asbury Park will cook up something heartwarming on Christmas Day this year: a soup kitchen that will serve close to 1,000 people in need. ¶
Guests at Langosta Lounge on Christmas Day also will be invited to pick up canned goods to take home to their families -- and Santa will be on hand to give gifts to tots during the holiday feast, which will run from noon to 4 p.m.
But to meet the high demand, Langosta Lounge and their partners, Trinity Church, need your help.
This weekend, donations of canned goods and uncooked turkeys, hams and pastas may be dropped off at the restaurant. On Christmas Day, the restaurant also will welcome donations of pre-cooked dishes to serve to guests. Toys are much-needed and may be dropped off at any time.
For more information on the Christmas Day soup kitchen, call (732) 455-3275 or visit langostalounge.com