Rising star Malakai Robson opens for Eugene Smith as the Duncan Showroom hosts ‘Last Performances of the Decade: A Celebration’ on Dec. 31. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Lexi Bainas column: Family outings and year-end celebrations: we’re winding down 2019

The rush and fuss of Christmas is over, and you’ve probably hit every mall and Boxing Day sale that you’ll ever want so why not give those artistic tendencies a bit of room to move?

A surprising number of artists, artisans, galleries and cooperatives are featuring great local work this week, so why not take time out and make the rounds of a few of them?

***

Imagine That! Artisans Designs is celebrating its 26th year with a showcase of work by selected artists from Sunday, Dec. 29 to Friday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The craftsmanship, the diversity, the beauty, the practicality: all are hallmarks of the work you will discover at Imagine That!” says the group’s Katie Daniel.

***

From Sunday, Dec. 29 to Tuesday, Dec. 31, the Rainforest Arts 2019 Christmas Show/Sale winds up with the decade’s final offerings of painting, sculpture, photographs, pottery, jewelry, cards and more by local artists.

“Over 50 local artists represented: more art, less driving!” they say. This non-profit volunteer-run gallery is operated by the Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society.

***

Family drives are also popular during this time of year.

If you’re in Youbou Saturday, Dec. 28 there’s a family funday at the Community Hall from 1 to 3 p.m.

Activities include family bowling, and parent supervised play in the gym.

The cost is $3.50 per person or $12 per family and includes shoe rental.

***

The wild birds at 1877 Herd Rd. are hosting Hoo-ville at The Raptors on Sunday, Dec. 29 from noon to 3 p.m.

There’s 15 per cent off hands-on encounters, plus crafts for kids. You can make your own bird feeder and Kyle talks about Ravens in the Winter. There’s hot chocolate and cider by donation. Owls will be flying during every demonstration, which take place at 1:30 p.m.

Entry is $18 for adults, $16 for students/seniors, and $10 for kids.

***

In addition, there’s a free Family New Year’s Eve Celebration Tuesday, Dec. 31 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Cowichan Community Centre.

They’re offering something for the whole family, including skating, face painting, a bouncy castle, a photo booth, and other new attractions. An early countdown will take place just before 8 p.m., complete with noise makers, prizes, and the always popular balloon drop. Please note: each skating session has limited capacity and will be on a first come, first served basis.

This event is sponsored by Tim Hortons.

Skate No. 1 takes place from 3 to 4 p.m.; Skate 2 is from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. and Skate 3 is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

***

At Cowichan Lake, there’s also lots of fun offered on New Year’s Eve.

Cowichan Lake Rec is offering its popular Family New Year at Cowichan Lake Sports Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Vicki Wingo Ordano says: “We will have skating, crafts, sports, games, and a balloon drop at 6:45 p.m. Skate rental is included and the concession will be open. Please register in advance at 250-749-6742 ext 0.

The cost is $3.50 per person, or $12 per family.

***

In downtown, at the Duncan Showroom, an event called Last Performances of the Decade: A Celebration takes the stage Dec. 31.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. as everyone gets ready for the evening’s festivities.

“We are having a contributing appetizer/dessert buffet with some basics already in place,” says Longevity John Falkner of the Showroom.

“We’re going to celebrate the last day of the decade by having Eugene Smith take the year out for us in his finest form, Malakai is also going to perform and because the last Tuesday of the month is For the Love Of Words (FLOW), all readers will have a chance to say goodbye to that ‘hard to categorize’ decade.”

Malakai kicks it off at 7 p.m. with FLOW taking the stage at 8, and Eugene Smith starting at 9.

Tickets are $25 each or $20 if you bring food/dessert.

Chances are, the record player will be on and dancing might ensue till after midnight (maybe), Falkner says.

***

Mbira Spirit is presenting their joyous music in a New Year’s Day show at the Duncan Showroom, starting at 3 p.m.

“It’s 2020! Let’s Dance a Plenty!” says Falkner. “A fantastic show for all ages and sure to bring some inspiration to starting the New Year on the right foot or the left. Come dance and find your groove, bring some friends and family, too.”

Children are welcome and sure to enjoy the African rhythms that are woven into some all-time, classic favourites.

Tickets available at the Duncan Showroom and Little Zimbabwe Farm and are $20 per person or $5 for children.

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