Top five things to do

Art, Music, Outdoor, Stage
A roundup of Seacoast entertainment for the weekend of Dec. 2

For the next three weeks, Seacoast entertainment will be dominated by the holidays. Don’t fight it; just pour some rum in your eggnog and ease into the festive spirit. Here are some ways to enjoy the season.

Holiday Open Studios
Button Factory Holiday Open Studios

Paintings, photography, jewelry, furniture, and more will be on display at the Button Factory this weekend.

For three decades, the Button Factory has hosted one of the most eagerly anticipated holiday events on the Seacoast. The 30th annual open studios take place this weekend, starting with a preview event on Friday from 5-8 p.m., featuring music from the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center’s jazz band, The Ambassadors. On Saturday and Sunday, painters, photographers, jewelers, furniture makers, and other artists and craftspeople will open their doors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, juried artists will have booths set up throughout the three-story building in Portsmouth’s West End. For more info, click here.

Art ’Round Town
Night Shift Steven Lush 100 Market

Night Shift by Steven W. Lush is among the works on display at The Gallery at 100 Market.

As always, the first Friday of the month brings a slate of new art exhibits to galleries in downtown Portsmouth. Highlights include “Kenley Darling: A Winter Migration,” featuring 108 cut butterfly drawings at here. Also tonight at 5 p.m. is an opening reception for the new show at 3S Artspace, “Inherent Growth + Garden of Earthly Delights,” featuring work by Rachel and Joe Montroy and Ellen Wetmore.

Holiday theater
Christmas Carol Rochester Opera House

The Rochester Opera House is one of many venues staging A Christmas Carol. courtesy photo

Tis the season for virtually every theater in the greater Seacoast to stage a production of “A Christmas Carol.” Here’s a quick rundown of some of your options for getting Scrooged with Dickens’ classic: The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth (Dec. 2-23); Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, Mass. (presented by the Joppa Dance Company, Dec. 2-4); Leddy Center for the Performing Arts in Epping (Dec. 2-11); Rochester Opera House (Dec. 8-23); Exeter Town Hall (presented by the Prescott Park Arts Festival, Dec. 9-18); Foster’s Downeast Clambake in York, Maine (presented by the York Parks and Recreation Department, Dec. 10-11); and The Old Salt in Hampton (“A Dickens of a Christmas” dinner theater, Dec. 12-15). (Catches breath.) Also, the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth is staging “A Wonderful Life” (Dec. 2-23) and “Rudolfoletto” (Dec. 10-18); Garrison Players Arts Center in Rollinsford is staging “Christmas Cabaret” (Dec. 9-11); and Patrick Dorow Productions presents Home for the Holidays at Star Theatre in Kittery, Maine (Dec. 15-22).

Vintage ice skating
A guide to the top winter recreation activities in the NH Seacoast.

Labrie Family Skate at Strawbery Banke is now open. photo by David J. Murray/

Coinciding with the launch of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, presented by The Music Hall and Strawbery Banke Museum throughout December, Labrie Family Skate at Strawbery Banke opened this morning, Dec. 2. The rink is open Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vintage Christmas includes the 37th annual Candlelight Stroll, The Music Hall’s staging of “Beauty and the Beast,” free Vintage Christmas trolley rides around downtown Portsmouth, and more. For more information on the ice rink, click here; for more on Vintage Christmas, go here.

Bringing the brass
Rebirth Brass Band

The Rebirth Brass Band brings its horns to 3S Artspace on Sunday. courtesy photo

If you’re looking for a dose of entertainment that is not tied to the holidays, head over to 3S Artspace in Portsmouth on Sunday night, Dec. 4. That’s when the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band brings its New Orleans-style jazz, funk, and hip-hop to town for a concert starting at 8 p.m. Going strong for more than 20 years, Rebirth has toured the world, released some 17 albums, and won a Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album in 2012. Local soul favorites Mother Superior and the Sliding Royales open the show. Tickets are $30; more info here.