‘Tis the Season in The Bend
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There is so much to do during the holiday season. Finding the perfect tree, decorating and wrapping presents for loved ones are on everyone’s to-do list this time of year. If you’re around The Bend during the holidays, make sure to carve out time for these events too.

Events in Downtown South Bend

First Fridays – Downtown for the Holidays

When: 5-8 p.m. Dec. 7
Details: Live holiday music on the Gridiron, a station to write letters to Santa, live reindeer. Holiday photo ops and giveaways await at this major holiday event. Santa will make his grand entrance to downtown around 6 p.m., followed by the tree lighting and a firework show. Free cookie decorating in the DoubleTree by Hilton atrium.

Holiday Light Parade

When: 7-8 p.m. Dec. 14
Details: Lighted floats will parade down Michigan Street as part of the “Downtown Delights” themed weekend. Santa’s House and tree sales will be open from 5-9 p.m., while cookie decorating takes place at the South Bend Museum of Art.

Santa’s House & Workshop

When: Dec. 7-24
Where: The Gridiron
Details: Look for the little red house and you’ll soon find Santa. Bring your camera for a photo op. And don’t forget the wish list.

Cookie Decorating and Gingerbread Village at South Bend Museum of Art

When: Dec. 7-24
Where: South Bend Museum of Art
Details: Stop by the South Bend Museum of Art while you’re downtown visiting Santa for free cookie decorating and to vote on your favorite house in the Gingerbread Village.

Visits with The Grinch and Rudolph

When: Dec. 7-24
Where: South Bend Chocolate Café
Details: Snag a photo with the Grinch and Rudolph during your visit downtown.

Hours for Santa’s House and cookie decorating are as follows:

5-9 p.m. Dec 7, 14 and 21
Noon-6 p.m. Dec. 8, 15 and 22
Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 and 23
3-7 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20
Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 24

“Elf” at Century Center

The classic holiday movie “Elf” will be shown Dec. 22 at the Bendix Theatre inside Century Center. Admission is free with donation of a canned food item or $1 to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

Holiday Historical Walking Tour

Explore South Bend’s unique history Dec. 9 with a unique holiday twist. Take a trip through time with free, self-guided tours of 14 historic homes and businesses in the West Washington National Historic District.

Winter Wonderland in Mishawaka

Head to Merrifield Park on Dec. 8 for the annual Winterfest celebration. There will be free ice skating, hot chocolate, visits with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides and a non-perishable food drive.

Battell Community Center is the host for Holiday Fun Night on Dec. 21. Toys for Tots and an appearance by Santa kick off the event, where you can donate an unwrapped toy and get your photo taken. There will be a free holiday movie as well.

There’s also more to do than shop for gifts at University Park Mall this holiday season. Photos with Santa are available until Dec. 24, pet photos with Santa are happening again Dec. 9 and there is a Disney Junior Holiday Fun event planned for Dec. 21.

Holiday Extravaganza at Four Winds Field

Join Stu, Swoop and Mrs. Claus on Dec. 8 at one of the best ballparks in minor league baseball as they get ready for the holidays by decorating ornaments and cookies, plus more activities.

Holiday Lights at the Zoo

Visit Potawatomi Zoo between Nov. 23-Dec. 23 for The Gift of Lights. More than a million lights are wrapped around trees and free-standing displays throughout Indiana’s first zoo.

Holiday performances

Live theater performances around the holidays include “A Nice Family Christmas” and “The Christmas Schooner” at the South Bend Civic Theater. Headlining shows at Morris Performing Arts Center during December are “The Nutcracker” ballet, “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas”, South Bend Symphony Orchestra presents “Home for the Holidays” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas Show – Live!”

For more things to do in The Bend, check out our events calendar.