Try This: Laugh, drink & be merry

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian Features News Coordinator



Consider boosting your seasonal spirit with two annual concerts this weekend. The 41st annual Singing Christmas Tree presents “A Joyful Night,” as the 60-voice choir sets the stage for caroling performances, pageantry, a hand bell ensemble, local children’s choirs and guest performances. Donations of nonperishable food is encouraged.

3 and 7 p.m. tonight and Sunday.

Where: Vancouver Church, 3300 N.E. 78th St., Vancouver.


Telephone: 360-574-1611.


And Big Horn Brass returns for its annual Holiday Concert, featuring guest vocalist Valerie Day in a performance of familiar, favorite holiday tunes. The ensemble features 13 brass musicians and two percussionists as they perform renditions of classic holiday tunes including a version of the tale “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Proceeds benefit the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

When: 3 p.m. today.

LifePoint Church, 305 N.E. 192nd Ave., Vancouver.

Admission: $25, $10 for students.

Telephone: 360-735- 7278.


The concerts are among several options for getting out and about this weekend.

2. Brewing holiday cheer

The second annual Vancouver Winter Brewfest features more than 38 breweries showcasing the best of their ales and lagers, brewed for winter. Visitors have a chance to sample from locals such as Loowit Brewery, Mt. Tabor Brewing and Heathen Brewery, along with 10 Barrel Brewing, Lompoc Brewing and Fort George Brewery. For those 21 and older; entry is good for both days.

When: Noon to 10 p.m. today and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Esther Short Park, 301 W. Sixth St., Vancouver.

Admission: $25 includes one mug and 10 tasting tokens, $5 for designated driver, $75 for VIP package.


3. Ring in an 1840s Christmas

You can join the Hudson’s Bay Company in celebrating the holiday inside the decorated Fort Vancouver. Visitors can join the re-enactors portraying company employees as they celebrate the holidays 1840s-style, with children’s games, music and dancing, wreathmaking and black powder demonstrations. Santa will also be making an appearance at the Marshall House on Officers Row from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the home will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hot chocolate and children’s activities.

When: Today –10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the fort, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Marshall House.

1001 E. Fifth St., Vancouver.

Admission: Fort: $3; $5 per family; free for children 15 and younger, free at the Marshall House.

Telephone: 360-816-6230.

Web: or

4. Laugh a little

The Magenta Improv Theater group wants to tickle your funny bone with its holiday version of a family-friendly comedy show done in the style of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” The group takes suggestions from the audience to create skits, with music by Bad Agent Band. There will be a special Kids Matinee Show aimed at the younger crowd.

2 p.m. today and 7:30 tonight.

Magenta Theater, 606 Main St., Vancouver.

Admission: $12, $8 for matinee, $5 for children 13 and younger.


Or head to Ridgefield for Honest Comedy, a showcase of the stand-up comedic talents of Tyler Smith, Tristian Spillman and Mike Coletta, hosted by comedian Todd Armstrong.

7:30 tonight.

Where: Old Liberty Theater, 115 N. Main Ave., Ridgefield.

Admission: $8 to $10, for 21 and older.

Telephone: 360-887-7260.


5. Return to Middle-earth

The quest continues as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the band of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) head east to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom of Erebor. But the kingdom under the Lonely Mountain and its treasure has been claimed by Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), the last great dragon of Middle-earth. Meanwhile Gandalf, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and the elves of Mirkwood face a dark power brewing in Dol Guldur. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is rated PG-13.

Where: Battle Ground Cinema, 1700 S.W. Ninth Ave., Battle Ground; Cinetopia Mill Plain, 11700 S.E. Seventh St.; Cinetopia Vancouver Mall 23, 8700 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive; various Regal Cinema locations.

Cost: Varies by location.

Telephone: Battle Ground Cinema, 360-666-7200; Cinetopia, 360-213-2800; Cinetopia Vancouver Mall 23, 360-448-4100; Regal Cinemas, 800-326-3264.


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