Big weekend

Published 11:22 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Downtown area has a full schedule

A big weekend of events in downtown Suffolk will focus on exposing visitors to all the sights and sounds of the holidays.

“A Storybook Holiday,” the city’s open house for downtown, takes place Friday through Sunday and promises to be a feast for all the senses.

Downtown merchants, restaurants, galleries, museums and venues have joined together for the event, which is part of Suffolk’s “Shop, dine and play locally” initiative, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

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Suffolk residents and visitors are being encouraged to support the downtown area’s owner-operated businesses, as well as the arts and cultural community, during the event.

Participating merchants and other organizations will offer discounts, seasonal snacks and other special treats designed to entice new visitors and customers throughout the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, a free trolley will travel along a looped downtown route, with seven different stops at or near the 19 different participating locations. The trolley will operate from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Participants include Amici’s Italian Restaurant, Cordially Invited, Embroidery Etc., Grits & Gravy, Jester’s, Mosaic by Holland’s, outRAGEous Tea Room, Primo 116 Bistro Italiano, Richardson & Nash Clothiers, Riddick’s Folly House Museum, Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, Shooting Star Gallery, Suffolk Art Gallery, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk Tire & Auto, Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, Suffolk Visitor Center & Gift Shop, The Plaid Turnip and UniquelyLeo’s.

Each participant, according to Klink, is offering some special enticement to visitors.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, for example, will host caroling with the Suffolk Children’s Chorus near the second-floor art galleries at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and Nathan Richardson will read O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” and other seasonal favorites at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Suffolk Art Gallery.

There will be cider and cookies, cupcake specials, specially priced prix fixe menus and dessert specials at shops and restaurants, and some shops will be offering special weekend discounts.

The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society will hold its 35th annual Candlelight Tour of historic homes, museums and churches in the downtown area on Saturday and Sunday, with tours offering a look into some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for well-behaved children and may be obtained downtown at the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum and the Suffolk Visitor Center or at A. Dodson’s on Bridge Road.

Also this weekend, the SCCA will host its popular annual performances of “The Nutcracker” by Ballet Virginia International. Performances begin at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and tickets are still available. A special “Sugarplum Tea” at 1:30 p.m. both days will give children and adults a chance to walk through an enchanted forest and meet the cast of the ballet.

For more information about the SCCA events, call 923-2900 or visit For more information about the Candlelight Tour, visit

For more information about the Holiday Open House, including a printable flyer that lists all of the special events and discounts available during the course of the weekend, visit