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Under the Twinkling Lights

Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul Park

5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14

Tohono Chul Park

7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Oro Valley

742-6455; tohonochulpark.org

Tohono Chul Park, one of Southern Arizona's top outdoor attractions, rarely opens its doors for nighttime visitors. But when it does, it's usually for an exceptional event. This weekend is the final edition of this year's Holiday Nights, which for three hours on Friday and Saturday transforms Tohono Chul's botanical gardens into a brightly colored winter wonderland that spokeswoman Marcia Ring describes as "magical." Nearly 1 million twinkling lights adorn the park's many trees and plant life, creating sparkling canopies that guests can walk under and bask in, all while listening to live music from a trio of acts. "We're only open a few nights—probably about 10 times per year," Ring said. "When you're actually in it, it's just stunning." This weekend's musical lineup features the Domingo DeGrazia Spanish Guitar Band, Way Out West and Genny Gaus and the LPs, as well as a magic show from the Brothers Macabre. The acts perform continuously and simultaneously throughout the night, allowing patrons to stroll from one stage to another while enjoying the scenery and some complimentary cocoa and Christmas cookies. Tohono Chul's garden bistro is also serving a special holiday buffet that can be purchased separately from the park admission. Park members can attend Holiday Nights for $10, while nonmembers pay $15. The cost is $2 for children younger than 13. Reservations can be made in advance and tickets will also be available at the park entrance.—B.P.

An Afternoon at the Races

Tucson Speedway Reindeer Rumble

2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 (gates open at noon)

Tucson Speedway

11955 S. Harrison Road

762-1600; tucsonspeedway.com

It's got a new name, but Tucson Speedway is the same familiar paved racetrack that has hosted NASCAR-style auto racing for more than 45 years. Now in its second year under new management, Tucson Speedway is deep into its 2013-14 schedule and is holding a holiday-themed slate of races that will also help collect donations for area food banks. "If people bring food here I'll give them $5 off their ticket," track co-partner John Lashley said. "Think about that; for a 60-cent can of peas you can get a discount on seeing some great racing." Adult tickets (before the donation discount) are $12, and are $10 for seniors and military. They're $6 for children ages 11 to 16, and kids 10 and younger get in free. Saturday's schedule will feature all of the racing class mainstays that have used the track since it was known as Tucson Raceway Park, including the Super Late Models, Late Models, X-Modifieds, Sportsmen Pro Stocks, Hornets and Beginner Start Stocks. "I think the best racing is the pro stocks," Lashley said. "There's 22 of those guys (racing). At the checkered flag you could throw a blanket over the top four; it's supercompetitive." Tucson Speedway has traditionally been a venue for night racing, though the 2013-14 events between November and March are being held during the day to keep fans from having to weather the desert's cool winter temperatures. The day schedule includes the Arizona Pro Stock Championship on Jan. 25, as well as a three-day event in February.—B.P.

Winter Theater

It's a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play and O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi

7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13; 3 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14; 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15

Scottish Rite Cathedral

160 S. Scott Ave.

742-9079;waypoint-theatre.org

It's that time of year, everyone. It's Christmas/Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa/Nondenominational Winter Holiday time in the city! And with the winter weather, which is usually sunshine here in Tucson anyway, comes the season's festivities. This weekend, the Waypoint Theater will host two special theater events: It's a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play, based on the Capra movie classic, and O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, based on the literary work. The first of the events, the live radio play, will use a "plethora of Foley sound effects," according to Melanie David, coordinator for the event, and bring "44 characters to life." Foley sounds are the fake sound effects used in movies to enhance the audio. When the hero throws a punch at the villain and you hear that loud smack of the punch, you have Foley to thank for it. The second of the events, the adaptation of the O. Henry classic, "introduces newlyweds Della and Jim as (they) seek the perfect Christmas gift for each other (and experience) a strange twist of fate in this tenderhearted Christmas love story for all ages," according to David. Tickets range from $11.95 to $21.95 and the cost covers both shows. For more information, including specifics on ticket pricing, visit waypoint-theatre.org.—I.G.

Bringing the Heat

Africa Night Dance Fusion

9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 14

Solar Culture

31 E. Toole Ave.

888-1262;solarculture.org

In honor of another place where there's a lot of winter warmth, Solar Culture and the Diaspora Showcase will be presenting a dance party to keep your feet moving: the Africa Night Dance Fusion concert.

The concert will feature a cool blend of African soukous music, hip-hop, electronica and R&B. If you're looking to heat things up this coming weekend, this may be your perfect opportunity.

The concert's featured performers include the band Rockers Uptown and DJ Boss Ross. Rockers Uptown, a reggae outfit based in Tucson, by their own decree "were here at the start of the local reggae music scene." With past gigs playing alongside greats like Burning Spear, Eek-a-Mouse and Inner Circle, the band has a long list of credentials and many years of experience to get you skanking and bobbing.

DJ Boss Ross rounds out the lineup with a more modern vibe. Hip-hop and R&B will abound. So for those of you who prefer the dance club to live music, Ross has you covered.

Admission is $8 at the door. Solar Culture is downtown, at the northeast corner of Toole and Stone avenues. For more information, go to solarculture.org or email diasporashowcase@juno.com.

I.G.

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