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Kwanzaa 2014: The Charlotte community is invited to participate in “Kwanzaa, 2014 – A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture.”

Evening programs will be throughout Charlotte Dec. 26-Jan. 1. All events are free, and open to the public.

An African Marketplace also will be open on Dec. 30 starting at 5 p.m.

Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. It is a seven-day, nonheroic, nonreligious and nonpolitical observance.

Here is a schedule of events:

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Dec. 26:

Umoja Unity, 7 p.m. Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Montieth Drive.



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Dec. 27:

Kujichagulia, Self Determination, 7 p.m., Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center, 501 S. Bruns Ave.



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Dec. 28:

Ujima Collective Work and Responsibility, 7 p.m., Kamit Natural Foods, 2715 Tuckaseegee Road.



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Dec. 29:

Ujamaa, Cooperative Economics, 7 p.m., Main Library, 310 N. Tryon St.



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Dec. 30:

Nia, Purpose, 7 p.m., LATIBAH Museum, 5 p.m. African Marketplace, 720 Tuckaseegee Road.



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Dec. 31:

Kuumba, Creativity, 7 p.m., Crossroads Charter High School, 5500 N. Tryon St.



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Jan. 1:

Imani Faith, 7 p.m., Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Montieth Drive.



Visit us on Facebook at Kwanzaa Charlotte Twitter: @kwanzaa_clt; Instagram: KwanzaaCharlotte; or email kwanzaacharlotte@gmail.com.

Details: Elisha Minter, 704 215-2225.

Holiday theatre: Ebenezer Scrooge’s “Bah! Humbug!” opinion of Christmas changes with the help of three spirits and a ghost in “Scrooge!” Dec. 19-22. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, 300 E. Seventh St. Price: $12-$26 at www.ctcharlotte.org/store/our-season/scrooge.

Holiday concert: Handel’s “Messiah.” The Charlotte Symphony and Oratorio Singers perform Handel’s timeless choral masterwork. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Price: $34-$89. 704-372-1000. Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St. Tickets: https://tix.carolinatix.org. Event website: www.blumenthalarts.org/events-performances/coming-performances/detail/charlotte-symphony-messiah-1.

Autism workshop: “After the Diagnosis.” 9 a.m. Dec. 18. Join Autism Resource Specialist Nancy Popkin for this free informal workshop for parents and grandparents of children 8 or younger recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If your recently diagnosed child is older than 8, please contact the Autism Resource Specialist at the address listed below to schedule a free appointment. Workshop objectives include learning how autism may affect your child, as well as options and resources to support your family. For information or to register, contact Nancy Popkin at 704-894-9678 or npopkin@autismsociety-nc.org. Autism Society of N.C. Charlotte Area Services Office. 8420 University Executive Park Drive. http://www.autismsociety-nc.org/.

Women’s Basketball: Come cheer on the 49ers women’s basketball team. Noon Dec. 18. 704-687-1100. Dale F. Halton Arena, 9201 University City Blvd. $0-$5. www.ticketreturn.com or www.haltonarena.com/events.

Men’s basketball: Come cheer on the 49ers men’s basketball team. 8 p.m. Dec. 18. 704-687-1100. Dale F. Halton Arena, 9201 University City Blvd. $5-$15. www.ticketreturn.com or www.haltonarena.com/events.

Dance: Charlotte Ballet performes Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.” This holiday tradition celebrates the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Bring your family and friends along for this voyage featuring choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, live music from the Charlotte Symphony and more than 100 performers. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18-19; 2 p.m. Dec. 20-23. Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St. $25-$90. www.blumenthalarts.org/events-performances/coming-performances/detail/charlotte-ballet-nutcracker#sthash.tlnDwjbP.dpuf or https://tix.carolinatix.org.

Music: The Outervention. 8 p.m. $8-$10. Dec. 19. 704-376-3737. The Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/706561.

Weight loss: Does your teen need to lose weight or get fit? Get a free personalized consultation, exercise class and body fat composition analysis ($50 value). Saturdays 9 a.m.-noon. 704-614-6700. 3220 Prosperity Church Road, Suite 102, Charlotte. www.leanteenprogram.com.

Jazz: Eighth annual Jingle Bell Jam. Dec. 20, 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $30 advance tickets; $35 at the door. Come enjoy food and entertainment. Dancing 8:30-10 p.m. with Buff Dillard & QC Bonejazz, a blend of inspirational, neo-soul and smooth jazz. 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m., music by a DJ. Cash bar and hors d’oeuvres. Hotel room rate of $89 for party guests (reference “Jingle Bell Jam” when placing hotel reservation). 704-547-7444. Hilton Charlotte University Place, 8629 J.M. Keynes Drive. https://jbj8.eventbrite.com.

Kids: “The Story of the Little Gentleman.” Get into the spirit of the holidays with this story about the true meaning of friendship. Nobody seems to have time for the little gentleman, but he soon discovers a wonderful new friend who changes his life forever. This beautiful, funny and moving tale features live musicians and an intimate style all its own. $14-$16. 2 p.m. Dec. 21, 28. 11 a.m. Dec. 20, 27. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, 300 E. Seventh St. http://www.ctcharlotte.org/store/our-season/story-little-gentleman.


Cabarrus

Art: Classes from the Harrisburg Parks and Recreation Department will focus on the wonders of weaving and exploring folk art materials. Ages 10-17. $12. Dec. 23, 30, 8-9 p.m. Harrisburg Town Hall, 4100 Main St.

Speedway Christmas: Visitors can drive on the new 3-mile path at Charlotte Motor Speedway. A Bethlehem Village with live nativity and petting zoo, Santa, food, decorated Christmas trees and mini fair rides for kids. Drive-in holiday movies (“Elf,” “Frozen,” “A Christmas Story”) each Friday and Saturday night on the track’s giant HDTV. Dine in the Speedway Club, with a full menu featuring fresh seafood, steaks, pasta, gourmet desserts and more. 6 p.m. nightly through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 25). $15 per car when Christmas Village is closed, $20 when it’s open. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Parkway S. Tickets: http://bit.ly/1B8s7OW.

Exhibitions: “Discover Local” and “Shop Seagrove.” The two concurrent exhibitions showcase the creativity and talent of local artists, alongside the works of acclaimed potters from the Seagrove area of North Carolina. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, Dec. 17-18. Free. Cabarrus Arts Council, 65 Union St. S. http://cabarrusartscouncil.org/calendar/.

Music: Performance by Indie folk musician Paleface, a multi-instrumentalist and Avett Brothers collaborator. 7 p.m. Dec. 18, Davis Theatre, 65 Union St. S., Concord. $15.


Catawba County

Christmas concert: Musical group Puddingstone will present a Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Old Post Office Playhouse 10 S. Main Ave., Newton. Puddingstone plays a wide range of genres from Americana, such as fife and drum, to Celtic, folk, New Age, flamenco, renaissance and classical. Group members play a variety of ancient and modern instruments including hurdy gurdy, gemshorns and viola de gamba as well as electronic wind machines and drum sets.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. For tickets, call 828-464-6128 between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. To learn more about Puddingstone, visit www.puddingstone.jigsy.com.

Christmas Gospel Fest: The Newton Parks and Recreation Department will host a Christmas Gospel Fest, 3-7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Central Recreation Center, 23 S. Brady Ave., Newton. Guests are asked to bring a canned good or nonperishable food item to the event to help the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry’s efforts to provide food for families in need during the Christmas holidays. For details, contact Charles James at 828-695-4350 or Linda McCorkle at 828-465-7477.

Kwanzaa celebration: Actress April C. Turner will present Dancing Stories, a performance of African storytelling, music and dance, as part of a Kwanzaa celebration at 3 p.m. Dec. 30 in the community meeting room at the Ridgeview Library, 706 First St. S.W., Hickory.

The celebration will also include interactive storytelling, African dance demonstrations and a community drum session. The Friends of the Ridgeview Library group will provide festive punch and cookies after Turner’s performance. Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of African culture which begins each year on Dec. 26. For details or for directions, call the Ridgeview Library at 828-345-6037.

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