What: The holiday season gets its official start with the opening of the Sacramento Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker." From the tiny cooks to the candy canes, hundreds of area children join the professional dance company in this holiday classic choreographed by co-artistic director Ron Cunningham. Don't miss the opportunity to follow Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on a magical journey through the snowflake forest to the Kingdom of Sweets.
When: 7 p.m. today; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday; continues 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays; 1 and 5 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 23
Where: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
Information: (916) 808-5181, sacballet.org
Raley's Theatre of Lights
What: " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" comes to life on the balconies of Old Sacramento in a show that combines state-of-the-art light technology with old-fashioned drama. Mark Twain narrates the live-action retelling of the beloved poem, but first recalls the calamities and revelries of Sacramento in the 1850s.
When: 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. today-Sunday. The two shows run Thursdays- Sundays through the holidays, with special shows on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.
Holiday Magic at the Sacramento ZooWhat: The staff will deliver edible gifts to the animals all day long. It starts at 10:30 a.m. with the orangutans opening stockings stuffed with edible treats and ends with the ground hornbills attacking Snoopy and Woodstock piñatas filled with crickets. The day also gives folks a chance to see Blizzard, the zoo's new snow leopard.
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Sacramento Zoo, William Land Park, near the corner of Land Park Drive and Sutterville Road in William Land Park, Sacramento.
Cost: $7.25-$11.25. Bring a new, unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item and receive $1 off admission.
Information: (916) 808-5888 or www.saczoo.org
What: Show off your pipes at the Messiah Sing-Along, presented by the Camellia Symphony Orchestra and the Music Society at Cathedral Square. Musicians will be joined by the choir of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Capella Antigua and the Valley Choral Society. Robert Johnson, artistic director of the Cathedral's Music Society, will conduct this holiday concert that features Part I of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah." The concert also includes Francesco Onofrio Manfredini's Concerto Grosso in C major and Handel's Organ Concerto in F ("The Cuckoo and the Nightingale").
When: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., concert at 7:30.
Where: Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th St., Sacramento.
Cost: $10 general, free for 5 and younger
Information: (916) 929-6655, www.camelliasymphony.org
The Found Footage Festival
What: The Found Footage Festival, with Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, showcases bizarre footage from videos tossed out by saner folks. Pickett and Prueher, whose credits include "The Colbert Report" and "Late Night With David Letterman," started collecting work training videos, exercise videos and home movies found at garage sales and warehouses, or in Dumpsters. The pair will host the screening and give a comic commentary on the work that was never meant to be shown on the big screen.
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Movies on a Big Screen at California State University, Sacramento, (Hinde Auditorium), 6000 J St, Sacramento,