Happy Hanukkah!

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with community gatherings, theater performances and other family activities.

The first night of Hanukkah is Tues., Dec. 20, 2011, but you can begin preparing with the kids this weekend. On Sunday in South Jersey, you can listen to Hanukkah songs and make Hanukkah crafts at Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center in Millville and at the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill.

Public Menorah lighting ceremonies hosted by local Chabad centers invite the community to enjoy Hanukkah together and feature live music, latkes and other Hanukkah treats and kids' activities. Ceremonies include Ardmore, PA on Dec. 20; Medford, NJ on Dec. 20; Cherry Hill, NJ on Dec. 21; and Haddonfield, NJ on Dec. 22. A car parade precedes the lighting of a 16-ft.-tall Menorah at Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor Water Park on Dec. 25. A giant carved ice Menorah will be on display at a Chanukah on Ice skating event at the Flyers Skate zone in Voorhees, NJ, on Dec. 24.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Dec. 20-31, features actors, live klezmer music and handcrafted puppets that tell the story of the hero who sets out to save Hanukkah. Another show, Laughing All the Way at the Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA, takes a humorous look at winter holidays — Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa — with family-friendly comedy skits, songs and improv.

For more weekend events, search hundreds of activities on our calendar or browse all holiday-themed events. Receive weekend event highlights directly in your inbox each week! Sign up for MetroKids' e-newsletter today.

Stephanie Halinski is calendar editor of MetroKids.

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