Best Bets: Parade, Bentleyville and More

By Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune

‘Tis the season to get ‘nice-icle’

Duluth’s only parade with a custom theme song kicks off the holiday season with a line of clever floats, marching bands, waving people and mascots.

The annual Christmas City of the North Parade, with an origin story dating back to the late 1950s, starts at 6:25 p.m. in front of the Fitger’s complex, then travels west on Superior Street to Fifth Avenue West.

According to parade lore, Merv Griffin recorded the “nice-icle” theme song at a local radio station as a favor to the station manager in the 1960s. Prepare to have it stuck in your head for the rest of the season.

And weather, nothing. This thing goes on no matter what the wind is doing to your cheekbones. But, if it’s too much, you can always watch it live on KBJR-TV.

Christmas City of the North Parade is at 6:25 p.m. Nov. 17 in downtown Duluth. Free, open to the public.

The annual Christmas City of the North Parade starts at 6:25 p.m. Friday in downtown Duluth.

Bentleyville: It’s (almost) lit

It’s like you’ve seen it ramping up: a structure here, a series of lights glowing over there. But this week it’s the real deal: Bentleyville Tour of Lights opens at Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday. You know the score: light displays paying homage to seasonal characters, as well as favorite local structures, marshmallowing roasting opportunities, sugar cookies, hot chocolate. And the main event: Santa Claus.

Remember, locals: For best results, visit on a weekday and/or close to closing time.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights opens at 5 p.m. Saturday and is open 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Dec. 26. Tickets: Free, open to the public. Donations accepted.

DSSO considers ‘Reformation’

A Twin Cities-based opera singer who has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Berkeley Repertory, Theatre de la Jeune, Guthrie Theater — and had a minor role in the movie “Drop Dead Gorgeous” — is one of the featured soloists for the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra’s Reformation concert on Saturday at Symphony Hall.

Jennifer Baldwin Peden, soprano, will join the DSSO Chorus and baritone Andrew Wilkowske for Brahm’s A German Requiem. The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5.

DSSO’s Reformation concert is at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Symphony Hall. Tickets start at $20, available at (218) 623-3776 in addition to Ticketmaster outlets including the DECC box office and Ticketmaster.com.

Take it With You gets more musical

Here’s something to not be thankful for: it’s already the end of the Take it With You season.

The finale of the fiction podcast set in a very Duluth-y place called Duluth is “Thanksgiving: The Musical.”

Blake Thomas and his motley crew of bar friends, enemies and neighbors are telling the Thanksgiving story as you’ve never heard it before. Or so they say.

Episodes include a plot, lots of music — even more, probs, for this one — and conversations with local business people, musicians and/or politicians.

Take It With You’s “Thanksgiving: The Musical” is at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at The Underground, 506 W. Michigan St. Tickets: $15 at duluthplayhouse.org.

Get Pert’ Near Sandstone

Pert’ Near Sandstone, which now re-includes a founding member Ryan Young of Trampled By Turtles, returns for a show Saturday at the Red Herring Lounge.

The Minneapolis band is known for its old-timey bluegrass sound and isn’t afraid to throw a clogger on stage if the mood fits.

The band spent part of the summer playing in Europe.

Kind Country, a band that plays American standards, is also on the bill.

Pert’ Near Sandstone plays at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Red Herring Lounge, 208 E. First St. Tickets: $10 advance at ticketfly and $15 at the door.

Warren Nelson sets Sigurd Olson’s words to music

“Song for the Wild,” billed as a concert celebrating stewardship of planet Earth, is the latest show by Warren Nelson — the Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter-entertainer who created Big Top Chautauqua.

For this show, Nelson features the wilderness writing of Sigurd Olson set to music. Saturday’s performance at Sacred Heart Music Center features Nelson, Jack Gunderson, Ed Willett, Betty Ferris, Otis McLennon and Liesel Wilson.

“Song for the Wild” is at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Sacred Heart Music Center, 201 W. Fourth St. Tickets: $15 in advance at sacredheartmusic.org; $20 at the door.

Ojard plays CD release show for ‘Butterfly Dances’

A 9-year-old who has been playing piano for the past six years will release his debut album “Butterfly Dances” during a CD release show on Friday at Beaner’s Central.

Ojard, who composes his own music, combines piano and electronics on his work. Samples are available on his Facebook pages.

Edward H. Ojard’s CD release show is at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Beaner’s Central, 324 N. Central Ave.

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