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6 Things To Do This December In Milwaukee

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A piñata is frequently used in Las Posadas celebrations, which is a Spanish tradition that’s a big part of different Latin-American cultures.";s

The holidays are a great time to spend time with friends and family — particularly in Milwaukee where there are many holiday events. And Adam Carr knows all about it.

Carr is the deputy editor for community engagement at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, which covers the central city, a diverse group of neighborhoods on the near north, west, and south sides of the city. Carr shares some of the many community events happening this month.

1. Black Nativity
Dec. 5-15

This production of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes has become a holiday tradition in Milwaukee. Director Antoine Reynolds leads a group of local actors in a production that incorporates contemporary issues into this classic, American musical. 

2. Posada at The Farmhouse
Dec. 20

Las Posadas is a Spanish tradition that is a big part of different Latin-American cultures, and particularly popular in Mexico. It stems from the biblical Christmas story. 

"When Mary was reaching the end of her pregnancy and Joseph and her were looking for a place to stay, they were actually turned away from a bunch of different places before they found, essentially the barn where Jesus Christ in the story was birthed," Carr explains. 

Las Posadas is a bit like caroling. People go around to different places singing. But, like Mary and Joseph in the Bible, the singers are turned away until they reach their final destination. 

3. Christmas at the Basilica
Dec. 13-21

The Bel Canto Choir and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will both perform at St. Josaphat's Basilica this month for Christmas at the Basilica. 

"Any time you have an opportunity to go in there, you should take it ... It is awe-inspiring just to be sitting in that space," says Carr. 

4. Caroling on North Avenue
Dec. 13

Caroling on North Avenue is a similar musical event put on by the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. Carolers will walk along North Avenue, stopping to sing at local businesses. 

5. Milwaukee Brown Herbals Open House
Dec. 15

Milwaukee Brown Herbals is a local cooperative of businesses who make different products with herbs, like teas, creams, and oils. 

"The herb products that you see there, many of them will be homegrown ... So then, when you buy one of those products, you're supporting someone locally and actually reaping what's grown from the land in Milwaukee, as well," says Carr.  He also suggests reaching out to someone from the organization, like the folks at Alice's Garden, to RSVP. 

6. Gathering Art, Stories & Place
Dec. 17

This is an event that Carr has been working with for more than two years. The Mitchell Street Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library is hosting the Gathering Art, Stories & Place event, which invites people to engage in cross-cultural storytelling.

BONUS: First Anniversary of the Sherman Phoenix

The Sherman Phoenix is a neighborhood space with 27 tenants, including restaurants, stores, and other local businesses. It's also a venue for events of all kinds, and in just a year it has become an integral part of the Sherman Park neighborhood. 

"It kind of seems like it’s just, it’s there and it’s been around, but it’s really important to acknowledge it’s only been around for a year. In some ways, what makes it seem like it’s been around so long is that it was an experiment that’s been so successful," Carr says.

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect. Before then, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm Chicago Public Radio.
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, or NNS, is an online source for objective, professional multimedia reporting on issues in 18 central city Milwaukee communities.