Senior holiday events: Several holiday events will be offered for seniors in December at the Gaston County Senior Center, 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Highway, Dallas. All events are for senior adults ages 55 and older. For details visit www.gastongov.com. Also get details or register for any events by contacting the Gaston County Senior Center at 704-922-2170.
Christmas Senior “Souper” Bingo: 6 p.m. Dec. 8. Free. Includes bingo, soup and prizes.
Senior Christmas Dance: 7-10 p.m. Dec. 12. $4 per person. Music will be performed by the Country Bucks.
Senior Christmas Open Mike Night: 6-9 p.m. Dec. 19. Free. Participants are welcome to sing, play an instrument, act, do a comedy routine and more.
Christmas Family Movie Night: The Gaston County Parks and Recreation Department will host a screening of “Arthur Christmas” for Christmas Family Movie Night at 5 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Gaston County Citizen’s Resource Center, 1303 Dallas–Cherryville Highway, Dallas. Admission is free.
Hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn, pizza and coffee will be served and a craft area will be set up for children. Guests are invited to bring a sleeping bag or blankets for the viewing. For details, call 704-922-2160 or visit www.gastongov.com.
Park opening: The city of Gastonia and the Gastonia Optimist Club held a grand opening on Nov. 15 for Phase II of Gastonia Optimist Club Park at 340 S. Vance St., Gastonia. The park is the city’s first major public-private-nonprofit partnership to build an entire park from the ground up.
Phase I, completed in November 2013, outfitted the park with playground equipment, a play area for toddlers, climbing rocks, a butterfly garden, picnic tables, a paved quarter-mile walking trail and a seating area lined with commemorative brick pavers. Phase II adds another quarter-mile of paved trail through a natural area, a place for wildlife viewing with a large seated teaching space and an area with an arbor, seating and benches.
In 2012, the Optimist Club donated the land to the city for the park. The Optimist Club raised $170,000 in public contributions for phase one and $100,000 in contributions for phase two. Several private companies donated in-kind products and services, and the city provided the planning, engineering and labor to build the park.
Toys for Tots: The Gaston County Police Department continues its partnership with the Gaston County chapter of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots Program, allowing it headquarters at 420 W. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, to serve as a drop-off point for toys for a third consecutive year. Donation boxes are in the front foyer. Last year, the department’s donation boxes collected over 200 toys.
The Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute them as Christmas gifts to less-fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
To donate to Toys for Tots, to have your business become a toy drop-off point, to find a current toy drop-off point or for more details about the program, visit www.toysfortots.org or contact the Gaston County Toys for Tots coordinator, Bill Starr, at email@example.com.
“Christmas with Santa:” The Bright Star Touring Theatre will present the family-friendly musical comedy, “Christmas with Santa” at 2 p.m. Dec. 6 in the auditorium at the Gaston County Public Library, Main Branch, 1555 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.
The Bright Star Touring Theatre is based in Asheville. The show highlights the misadventures of elves Scrunchie and Bangles who have misplaced some of Santa’s toys. The performance is free and appropriate for school-age children and adults.
Advance reservations are suggested for organized groups to ensure seating. For details, call 704-868-2164 and dial 4 or visit www.gastonlibrary.org. To request special accommodation, contact the library at least five days before the show.
Amateur Photography Competition: Entries for the Arts Council of Lincoln County’s annual Amateur Photography Competition will be accepted 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 2 and Jan. 5 at the Lincoln Cultural Center, 403 E. Main St., Lincolnton. An opening reception and awards presentation for the artists and public will be held 6-8 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Carolina Mills and Cochrane Galleries of the Lincoln Cultural Center. The show will be on exhibit Jan. 11-30 in the same galleries.
Entrants must be at least 18 years old and must not make their living at photography. Entries should be original photographs that have not been reproduced for public sale and have not been exhibited in any Arts Council of Lincoln County events in the past. Entry fee is $20 for up to three photographs with a limit of two entry fees per participant.
Categories for photographs are: plant life/landscapes, people, animal life, abstract/special effects, miscellaneous and black and white. Entries must be framed and ready to hang with wire hangers. Awards are: $125 for Best of Show and $25 for first place, $15 for second place and $10 for third place in each category. For details, contact the Arts Council of Lincoln County at 704-732-9044 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Compiled by Gina Smith