It's the weekend before Christmas and all through the house, the family is asking, "Can we please go out?" The season is full of sights aglow, as ballet dancers pirouette in sugar plum snow. Santa arrives by steam train chugging with cheer, and Scrooge's ba-humbugs echo for all to hear. As carols ring out with festive delight, here are Clark County holiday events for happy weekend days and nights.
• The ninth annual BNSF Santa Steam Train, featuring the 1938 SP&S 700 steam locomotive, will pull into Vancouver for a holiday celebration. Santa will greet visitors and give out gifts for children, with music, refreshments and treats surrounding the decorated train. The public can also tour the new GE 4400 diesel locomotive that will be open on the BNSF property, near the Vancouver Amtrak Station. There will be a local Toys for Tots toy drive during the event, with donations of newly wrapped toys encouraged.
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 21.
Where: Near the Vancouver Amtrak station, 1301 W. 11th St., Vancouver.
• It's also Santa's Steam Train Weekend at the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad. Travel through the wintery forests, a 330-foot rock tunnel, stop at the Moulton Station and visit the nearby falls during this 12-mile round-trip. There may also be last minute Christmas trees available for purchase.
When: 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21-22.
Where: Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, 207 N. Railroad Ave., Yacolt.
Cost: $18, $17 for seniors, $13 for children ages 5-11, $11 for ages 2-4, free for ages 1 and younger; $15 for any remaining Christmas trees.
Information: 360-686-3559 or http://bycx.com.
• Columbia Dance's 16th annual production of "The Nutcracker" will feature more than 70 local dancers as they present this holiday classic. Clara and the Nutcracker Prince must defeat the Mouse King, then travel to the Land of Snowflakes and the Kingdom of Sweets.
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 22, and 1 p.m. Dec. 23.
Where: Royal Durst Theater, 3101 Main St., Vancouver.
Cost: $18, $15 for seniors and students, $10 for children 10 and younger.
Information: 360-737-1922 or http://columbiadance.org.
• Dance Fusion Northwest will be putting a modern spin on the idea of a holiday dance production with their fourth-annual "Christmas Stories." In this fusion of dance and theater, the original tale is of a young mother and her daughter in the midst of a financial struggle who find hope on Christmas Eve. It is told through a variety of dance styles along with vocal performances. Dancers are of all ages.
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 20; 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21.
Where: Fort Vancouver High School, 5700 E. 18th St., Vancouver.
Cost: $12, $6 for students, free for ages 4 and younger.
Information: 360-521-9973 or http://dancefusionnw.com.
• Join the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers, Celtic trio Molly's Revenge and special guest vocalist Christa Burch for the eighth annual Celtic Christmas Celebration, an evening of music, song and dance with Christmas songs from around the world and holiday festivities with a Celtic twist.
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21.
Where: Old Liberty Theater, 115 N. Main Ave., Ridgefield.
Admission: $18 to $20.
Information: 360-887-7260 or http://oldlibertytheater.com.
• Love Street Playhouse and Columbia Theatre have teamed up to present "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge," a comedic holiday sequel to Charles Dickens' Christmas tale. Set one year later, it appears Ebenezer Scrooge is back to his old ways, filing suit against Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future for breaking and entering, kidnapping, attempted murder and infliction of emotional distress. London's clever barrister, Solomon Rothschild, represents the defendants.
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21; and 2 p.m. Dec. 22.
Where: Columbia Theatre, 1231 Vandercook Way, Longview.
Cost: $21.50, $16.50 for students and seniors.
• Clark County's independent theaters will be offering up some holiday favorites.Kiggins Theatre will break in its new digital projector with the remastered classics "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Irving Berlin's White Christmas." And for fans of a certain doctor, the theater will also hosting a free showing the "Doctor Who" Christmas special on Dec. 25. See website for times.
When: "It's a Wonderful Life," Dec. 20-24; "White Christmas," Dec. 20-23. The "Doctor Who" Christmas special, Dec. 25.
Where: 1011 Main St., Vancouver.
Cost: $5, free for television screenings.
• Liberty Theatre will also be showing an unconventional holiday classic, "The Nightmare Before Christmas," presented in 3-D. Jack Skellington decides to bring his Halloween twist to the Yuletide celebration. The film is rated PG.
When: 4 p.m. Dec. 20-24.
Where: 315 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas.
Cost: $4, $5 for 3-D films, $3 on Tuesday nights unless otherwise noted.
Information: 360-859-9555 or http://camasliberty.com.