Celebrating the holiday season across Northern Kentucky

The holiday season is upon us, and Northern Kentucky communities are planning a slew of celebrations as interesting and distinctive as the neighborhoods themselves.
Whether you seek a cure for cabin fever or you’re on the hunt for that perfect gift, look no further than our comprehensive list of (mostly free!) events and attractions. They range from traditional Santa sessions to nocturnal shopping adventures, family-friendly festivities, bourbon-and-bacon parties and much more.

Come on out for a healthy dose of homegrown holiday cheer!


Holidays in Bellevue: As quaint settings go, it doesn’t get much better than Bellevue’s Fairfield Avenue historic district, where this season brings holiday-themed First Friday events and a Christmas Walk featuring local refreshments, gallery hop and stress-free shopping. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 27-28; Cost: Free to attend

Costumes & Candy, Barbecue & Books: Get a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic story of Scarlett O’Hara, and see costumes worn by Vivien Leigh as Gone With the Wind comes to Bellevue. Author Terry Crane will discuss Fiddle Dee Dee Recipes: A Taste of Gone With the Wind, and Twelve Oaks Barbecue will serve lunch. More than two dozen Bellevue shops will offer door prizes, assorted chocolates, goody bags and discount coupons. 12-4 p.m. Dec. 5; Cost: $25

Bourbon & Bacon: Citybeat hosts a delicious mouthful of “bourbon, bacon, beer and divine swine creations” at New Riff Distillery. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 2; Cost: $40


Robot Zoo Traveling Children's Exhibit: This hands-on exhibit at the Boone County Main Library uses biomechanics of giant robot animals to illustrate the inner workings of real animals like the common housefly and giant squid! Ages 4-12. Through February; Cost: Free

An Old Kentucky Christmas: Visit Christmas Pioneer Village at First United Church, where you can view a recreated candle maker’s shop, woodworker’s bench and other wintertime scenes from yesteryear. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 10-13; Cost: Free


Festival of Trees: Local businesses, churches, schools, clubs and other organizations sponsor this array of decorated Christmas trees at General Butler State Park. Through December; Cost: Free

Winter Wonderfest Day: Enjoy breakfast with Santa at Two Rivers Restaurant followed by a hands-on pottery workshop and a traditional holiday concert at General Butler State Park Lodge. 8 a.m. Dec. 5; Cost: Free

Cold Spring

Holidays at the Library: Card-decorating, paint-and-bake activities, family game nights and holiday story time are just some of the holiday events planned at the Cold Spring Public Library. Visit the website, and be sure to check out all the additional fun happening at nearby locations! Through December; Cost: Free


24th Annual Holiday Trains Exhibit: As if the Behringer-Crawford Museum weren’t quirky and wonderful enough year-round, the holidays bring on a transformation that includes more than 250 model train tracks with stops that invoke the spirit of Charles Dickens. Through Jan. 17 during regular museum hours; Cost: Free with museum admission

Covington Night Bazaar: Love the holidays but dread the shopping? Step inside the big tent at Roebling Point for a wholly different shopping experience. Explore unique handmade gifts and enjoy live music and a craft cocktail or two while you’re there. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 4-5; Cost: Free admission

Winterfair @ NKYCC: “Gifts of the Craftsmen” is the theme for this exhibition and sale that will take place at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center and feature American-made artisan goods of every variety. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 27-28 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 29; Cost: $7

Arrival of Old Saint Nick: Every child who gathers around the Goose Girl Fountain in MainStrasse Village will receive a gift, hot chocolate and cookies! 6 p.m. Dec. 6; Cost: Free

A Child’s Christmas in Wales: Sip a pint at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub and Restaurant as you listen to Dylan Thomas’s classic short story, read by Stephen D. Hunter. 6 p.m. Dec. 21; Cost: Free


Light Up Dayton: Bring the kids for a Santa encounter, pizza, snacks and a grand finale that will fill the Dayton sky with dozens of glowing lanterns! 2:30-5:30 p.m. Dec. 6; Cost: Free

Dry Ridge

Christmas at the Quilt Box: Enjoy holiday-themed treats in a charming sewing and quilting supply store that was named among the top 10 quilt shops in North America. Featuring more than 5,000 bolts of fabric, 200 book titles, patterns, notions, supplies and gifts. Second week of December; Cost: Free to attend


Holiday Party at Freedom Park: Come celebrate the start of the season at the Edgewood Senior Center in Freedom Park. Be part of the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree, catch a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy magic tricks from Awtnot the Elf, cheer on a matchbox race and enter an ugly sweater contest! 5:30-7 p.m. Nov. 29; Cost: Free


Holiday Extravaganza: December is jam-packed with holiday cheer in Erlanger! The Depot Museum’s special trains exhibit will run through December, while the annual tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 5 will precede a Holiday Extravaganza at the Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Library the following day. 1 p.m. Dec. 6; Cost: Free to attend


Where Are You, Christmas?: The Kincaid Regional Theatre caps off its 2015 season with the story of the Williams family as they overcome adversity to discover the magic of the holiday season. Dec. 4-20; Ticket prices vary


Chocolate for the Holidays: Ring in the holidays at the Florence Branch of the Boone County Public Library with trivia games, history and plenty of Graeter's chocolate—including chocolate Santas, snowmen and gingerbread people. 7-8 p.m. Dec. 15; Cost: Free (pre-registration required)

Tree-Lighting Community Event: More than 300 children and their families come out each year for this special celebration at Florence Government Center. Features include holiday-themed treats and games, sleigh rides, musical performances and a visit from someone jolly.... 6-8 p.m. Dec. 1; Cost: Free

Community Band & Chorus Christmas Concert: Holiday-themed vocal and instrumental performances will fill the Florence Government Center with music and good cheer. 2-3:30 p.m. Dec. 14; Cost: Free

Fort Thomas

Holiday Walk: This annual event kicks off with a tree lighting ceremony at Inverness public space before winding its way to the Fort Thomas business district. Enjoy holiday treats and special discounts from local vendors along the way. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 6; Cost: Free to attend

Fort Wright

A Civil War Christmas: Great Rebellion-era antique dolls will be on display as the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum in Battery Hooper Park takes a historic look at the holiday season. 12-5 p.m. Dec. 13; Cost: Free


Light Up Rittes Corner: Latonia Community Council and Latonia Business Council will host a ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree at Rittes Corner. The event will also feature carol singing, hot chocolate and a special visit from Santa. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3; Cost: Free


Winter Holidays Shop Day: Just in time for the holiday shopping season, you can visit a number of participating Ludlow vendors (including For the Home, Folk School and Escape Spa) for special bargains, treats with Santa and a 6 p.m. tree lighting ceremony at 51 Elm Street. 12-6 p.m. Dec. 5; Cost: Free to attend


BRICKmas Holiday Display: Newport on the Levee partners with the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana LEGO Users Group (OKILUG) to host the return of this popular holiday attraction, which gives kids and families a chance to explore large-scale LEGO displays and build their own creations. 4-8 p.m. Weds-Friday and 12-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through Jan. 1; Cost: $10 (free for children under 10)

Light Up the Levee Grand Illumination: Head to Newport’s cultural epicenter for an evening of jazzy holiday music, prizes and ice sculpting demonstrations — all of which lead up to the ceremonial lighting of a 50-ft. tree holding 1.4 million twinkling lights! 6 p.m. Nov. 24; Cost: Free

Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland: Join old Saint Nick at the Newport Aquarium as he dons scuba gear and swims with creatures of the deep. Nov. 27 through Jan. 1; Cost: Free with Aquarium admission

Sightseeing with Santa: Enjoy a 90-minute sightseeing cruise aboard BB Riverboats and get a complimentary photo with Santa. Boardings begin at 11 a.m. Dec. 5-19; Cost: $26 adults and $16 children


Christmas Town at the Creation Museum: Live nativity and a garden of lights are the main attractions as the Creation Museum puts on its free annual Christmas program. Dec. 4-28; Cost: Free

Taylor Mill

Christmas Tree Lighting: Have your photo taken with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Frozen’s Elsa, Anna and Kristoff at Taylor Mill’s annual tree lighting at Park Place Community Center at Pride Park. Watch ice sculptors wrangle a 300-lb. block and enjoy a performance by the Taylor Mill Elementary School Choir. 4-6 p.m. Nov. 29; Cost: Free

Santa’s Neighborhood Visit: Keep an eye out for Santa, who will be making his rounds to all the Taylor Mill neighborhoods. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Dec. 19; Cost: Free


Christmas on Main: Warm up after the Santa Claus parade inside the Walton Branch of the Boone County Library as Tales the Dragon performs story time accompanied by live seasonal fiddle music, children’s crafts and light refreshments. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4; Cost: Free


Lighted Christmas Parade: The streets of downtown Williamstown play host to a judged procession of lighted, holiday-themed floats during this annual celebration. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served during the awards ceremony, and all collected donations will benefit the Williamstown Food Pantry. 7 p.m. Nov. 28; Cost: Free
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