Weekend Events: Renegade Craft Fair, Holiday Lights and Polar Palooza

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Hyde Park Holiday Lights (Also Dec. 10 and 17)
Hyde Park Shopping Center, 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue
Test out your singing pipes along 53rd Street with some serious carolers. The groups include costumed Victorian carolers, singers from the South Shore Opera Company, and two University of Chicago acapella groups – the all-women group, “Men in Drag,” and the all-male group, “Run for Cover." 6-9 p.m. Free. 

ShopColumbia Holiday Market (Thursday-Saturday)
623 S. Wabash, 1st Floor

Shop for arts, crafts and clothing from over 100 Columbia College students and alumni artists. A majority of work falls within the $20-$50 range. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Free.    

One of a Kind: Holiday Show and Sale (Thursday-Sunday)
Merchandise Mart, 350 N. Orleans St.

The massive holiday shopping blowout at Merchandise Mart features over 600 artists from across North America. Shop for jewelry, furniture, paintings, sculpture and more. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $12 entrance fee.

Festival of Poets Theater (Thursday-Saturday)
Sector 2337, 2337 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Performances, screenings and readings over four nights, in addition to an afternoon of talks around the genre of poetry as performance. 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Free.  


U.S. Premiere of 'Poison Berry in My Brain'
Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette
Based on a comic of the same name, the film follows a 30-year-old unemployed woman and the voices in her head which govern her love life. The film's director Yuichi Sato will be on hand to introduce the film and answer questions from the audience. Also, attendees receive fresh sushi rolls, seasonal treats and wine and beer. 7 p.m. Friday. $30.  

Also on tap Friday:

Chef Demo and Tasting with Author of 'Vanilla Table'
Read It & Eat, 2142 N. Halsted St.
Learn everything you ever wanted to about vanilla from Natasha MacAller, former professional ballerina and author of "Vanilla Table," a cookbook focused on vanilla with over 100 sweet and savory recipes. At this free event, McAller will make caramelized garlic and ricotta custard cups and an Anna Pavlova dessert. 6:30-8 p.m. Free. 


Renegade Craft Fair (Saturday-Sunday)
Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St.
Shop for killer handmade gifts from local artists, take a DIY workshop, rock out to live music and eat at this annual holiday market. Local radio station CHIRP will play indie music, with additional pop, soul and holiday tunes from the folks at Wicker Park's Reckless Records. With 250-plus vendors selling jewelry, wallets and cute chunky scarves, it's hard to go wrong with this one. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free.   

Also on tap Saturday:

Winter Wonderfest (Saturday through Jan. 10)
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
Saturday marks the opening day for the annual family friendly indoor festival, which returns to Navy Pier for its 15th year with a Chicago Blackhawks ice skating rink and numerous attractions and rides, including a 50-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Open daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with special hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 7 and 24, and Jan. 4-7. Closed Christmas Day. $9-$10. Parking at Navy Pier is $20.

Holiday Magic
Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield
Billed as "Chicagoland’s largest lights festival,” this illuminated landscape features over one million twinkling LED lights lining the zoo’s walkways, along with nearly 550 decorated trees and a new interactive display. Sing carols to the animals, catch ice-carving demonstrations and visit the Holly Jolly Theater for live entertainment from 5 to 9 p.m. Runs 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in December; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 28-31 with festivities beginning at 4 p.m.

Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St.
The museum’s annual Christmas bazaar features the sale of traditional Scandinavian and modern handicrafts, along with traditional Swedish food and entertainment. Stop by the Children’s Museum for crafts, games and a visit from Santa Claus. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Dec 5.; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 6. $2 suggested donation includes a kaffestuga (house coffee).

Polar Palooza (Saturday-Sunday) 
Loyola Red Line Station, 1200 W. Loyola Ave. 
Bands, food, synthetic ice skating – what more is there? Rogers Park hosts the city's first Polar Palooza, which basically amounts to a big outdoor holiday party. There's also holiday shopping from socially conscious vendors, cookie decorating, a Christmas tree lot and more. Noon-8 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Free; activity tickets, $5.  


Mulled Wine Workshop 
Elixir Andersonville, 1509 W. Balmoral Ave. 
Sample several different styles of mulled wine and try your hand at making your own. Workshops at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. $11.54.

Breakfast with Santa (Sunday, Dec. 13, Dec. 20)
The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills, 3500 Midwest Road, Oakbrook
Kiddos can get a photo with Santa while chowing down on a buffet of pancakes, made-to-order Belgian waffles, fresh farm omelettes and more. Adults can enjoy the homemade hot chocolate and communal fire pits outdoors. 9 a.m.-noon. $35; $14 for kids ages 5-12; free for kids under age 5.

– Sean Keenehan contributed.

More fun holiday event roundups from 'Chicago Tonight'

Ice Skating in Chicago: Outdoor Rinks Serve Up Frozen Fun

Get the scoop on where to lace up your skates this season.

Holiday Events Guide from 'Chicago Tonight': 'Tis the Season!

A month of holiday favorites and winter delights.

Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.

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