QUAD CITIES – Holiday markets, seasonal performances, and shadows of times gone by combine to make a day trip to the Quad Cities well worth the cost of gasoline.
A number of shopping opportunities present an excuse to get away from it all by the Mississippi River. Luring shoppers are:
n The German Christkindlmart Holiday Market, which is open through Dec. 23 at the German American Heritage Center, 712 W. Second St., Davenport, Iowa. Finds: Imported items from Germany.
n The annual Christmas Craft Show runs today through Sunday at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 Sixth Ave., Rock Island. Finds: Hand-crafted merchandise from more than 180 vendors.
And then there are the fun and games:
n Keep winter in mind Dec. 15 for Frost Fest at Modern Woodmen Park, 209 S. Gaines St., downtown Davenport. This is good for kids, with a chance to meet Santa Claus, play board games, work on crafts, and watch films.
n Posada Navideña at the Quad City Botanical Center, 2525 Fourth Ave., Rock Island, is a traditional Mexican holiday celebration. Plans for the day include food, hot chocolate, breaking piñatas, and music.
Visitors who prefer to relax might want to try one of the holiday shows. Here is a sampling:
n “A Christmas Story: The Musical” runs through Jan. 5 at Circa ‘21, 1828 Third Ave., Rock Island. Call 309-786-7733 for reservations.
n “A Christmas Survival Guide” is Dec. 5 to 8:. This is a Quad City Music Guild show at Prospect Park Auditorium, Park 16th Street and 30th Avenue, Moline. Call 309-762-6610 for tickets.
n Christmas at Augustana is a musical treat Dec. 6 and 7. Performances are by six bands and choirs at Centennial Hall, 3703 Seventh Ave., Rock Island. Call 309-794-7306 for tickets.
n And there is the old favorite, “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 14 and 15 at the Adler Theatre, 136 E. Third St. in Davenport. Call 563-326-8500 for tickets.
Sometimes a look into the past is inviting. Visitors can check out a 19th-century Christmas at the Deer Family Homes. The doors will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Expect to see carolers, Santa Claus and living-history volunteers. There also will be make-and-take home projects.
The Butterworth Center is at 1105 Eighth St., and the Deere-Wiman House is at 817 11th Ave. in Moline. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. The buildings will be decorated in the style of a Victorian Christmas.
Whether it’s theater, history, shopping or special events, those looking for something special can head south where the choices are numerous this time of year.