Holiday kickoff: Enjoy it this weekend in the Q-C!

Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2012, 9:19 am
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By Laura Anderson Shaw,
How is it possible that Thanksgiving is just one week away?It seems as if just yesterday I was complaining about the blistering heat.

The days to come will no doubt be spent cleaning my house and readying ingredients for our Turkey Day feast. But before I find myself knee-deep in that to-do list, I have created another -- a list of fun things to do this weekend before I'm forced to drag out the cleaning supplies and apron and play Martha-ella, a cross between Martha Stewart and Cinderella.

If you're looking to be entertained before you have to entertain -- or you simply want to put off doing laundry -- here's a list of things to do this weekend that don't require a washing machine, vacuum or duster:

"A Nice Family Gathering"

I like to say my family puts the "fun" in dysfunction, but I certainly don't feel so bad about my relations after seeing "A Nice Family Gathering," playing tonight through Sunday at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre in Geneseo.

In this "Everybody Loves Raymond" meets the old HBO series "Six Feet Under" comedy, the audience gets a front-row seat to see how the Lundeen family stays together as it falls apart.

I caught the show last weekend, andChristopher Tracy put on an especially stellar performance as Carl Lundeen, a journalist and truck driver in a small town in Minnesota who happens to also be haunted by his recently deceased father, Dr. Carl Lundeen, played by Andy Davis.

Liz Blackwell also delivered an exceptional performance as Carl's mom, Helen, a forgetful and often confused woman who misses her husband and the father of her children.

While her forgetfulness can be heart-wrenching at times, it also can be hysterical. Ms. Blackwell morphs into a young Betty White on stage, delivering lines that hark back to the "Golden Girls" days when Ms. White played Rose Nylund in that sitcom.

The cast also includes Michael, played by Justin Raver; Jill, played by Dianna McKune; Stacy, played by Dana Skiles; and Jerry Myers, played by Gregg Neuleib.

Let Carrie blow you away

Blond bombshell Carrie Underwood will take Moline's i wireless Center by storm Friday night with her "Blown Away Tour."

The 29-year-old Oklahoma native last performed at the i wi on Oct. 15, 2010, and she's back this weekend with special guest Hunter Hayes.

According to a press release,Ms. Underwood has sold more than 14 million albums worldwide, including her 2005 debut, "Some Hearts," which moved more than 7 million copies and was voted No. 1 Country Album of the Decade by Billboard.

Her hits include "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Before He Cheats," "So Small," "Last Name," "Just a Dream," "Cowboy Casanova," "Temporary Home," "All-American Girl," "Undo It," and "Mama's Song."

The winner of five Grammys, she is the first-ever female artist to win back-to-back Academy of Country Music awards for Entertainer of the Year (2009 and 2010). She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008.

I'll be sittin' pretty at the show to review it. I can't wait!

"Home for the Holidays"

Bundle up and set your eyes on the sky Saturday morning at the annual Festival of Trees Holiday Parade.

It will step off at 11 a.m. at 3rd and Pershing streets in downtown Davenport. The parade will feature several helium balloons, including Amelia Earhart and a Cupcake Nutcracker; several bands; floats; tractors; antique cars; the Tom Getz Distinguished Clown Corps; and, of course, Santa Claus.

"It kicks off the holiday season in the Quad-Cities," according to an email from Deb McDaniel, Festival of Trees staff director. It's a free, "guaranteed fun experience."

General admission to the Festival of Trees, a showcase of holiday trees and decorations created by local designers that raises funds for Quad City Arts, will open at 9 a.m. Saturday. The festival will run through Nov. 25 at the Davenport RiverCenter.

While you're in downtown Davenport Saturday morning, pop over to the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport, where you'll get free admission!

'Tis the season

Some folks crank out the holiday tunes and start decking their halls almost immediately after the turkey leaves the oven on Thanksgiving. If that's the way you roll, you can get in the spirit a wee bit early at the annual Lighting on the Commons in downtown Moline and the Holiday Pops concert at the i wireless Center Saturday.

The Lighting on the Commons will take place from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at John Deere Commons, 17th Street and River Drive, Moline. The event will include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus; a lighting ceremony; fireworks; children's crafts; refreshments; horse-drawn wagon rides; and performances by the Moline Boys' Choir, Community Outreach and Elysian.

The Holiday Pops concert, which will feature special guest Mark Wood, co-founder of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who's in residence as a Quad City Arts Visiting Artist,will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the i wi.

Led by guest conductor Michael Gagliardo, the performers will include the Quad City Symphony Orchestra; the Sanctuary Choir of First Presbyterian Church, Davenport; the Holiday Pops Children's Chorus; and for the first time, the Holiday Pops Youth Orchestra.

The concert will feature holiday favorites and a number of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's greatest hits.

Get your comic on

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, really, it's the third annual QC Planet Comic and Arts Convention!

Catch artists, creators, vendors, dealers and more at Skellington Manor in downtown Rock Island from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Roughly 500 people hit the convention last year, snagging comics, caricatures, action figures and more. It was there that Tim Johnson, who owns Mellow Blue Planet Comics & Collectibles in Rock Island, one of the event's sponsors, said the convention "encourages reading and artwork."

If you have pressing chores to tend to this weekend, by all means, hunker down and get to work. As for me? The cleaning can wait.

The itinerary: Nov. 15-18

-- "A Nice Family Gathering," 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, The Barn Theatre, HK Robinson Drive and S. Stewart Street, Geneseo. Contains adult humor; suitable for ages 13 and older. $8 tonight, $10 Friday-Sunday. (309) 944-2244,

-- Carrie Underwood and Hunter Hayes, 7:30 p.m. Friday, i wireless Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline. $43.50-$63.50. (800) 745-3000,,

-- Festival of Trees Holiday Parade, 11 a.m. Saturday, downtown Davenport. Free.  

-- Lighting on the Commons, 3:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, John Deere Commons, 17th Street and River Drive, Moline. Free.

-- Holiday Pops Concert, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, i wireless Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline. $15-$47, (800) 745-3000,,  

-- QC Planet Comic and Arts Convention, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Skellington Manor, 420 18th St., Rock Island. $2. (309) 788-1653,


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.

(More History)