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Friday, December 27, 2013

A Procrastinator's Guide to Enjoying the Last Holiday Weekend in the Capital District

Sure, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Boxing Day are over but there's still some holiday magic left in the season with Kwanzaa ongoing and New Year's Eve/Day around the corner. Plus, if Walmart has the right to start putting up Christmas items in July, I think we can still be in a Christmas state of mind - at least through this weekend.

There are a few regional traditions and fun activities that you can still do including the Polar Express leaving Saratoga Springs, the North Pole near Lake Placid, the Capital Lights in the Park in Albany, Ice Skating at the Empire State Plaza, and First Night events in Saratoga Springs. Not to mention, as far as I'm concerned, there's still time for a Peppermint Pig or two.

Polar Express

This activity started in the area a few years ago in which children - and young at heart adults - can don pajamas, drink hot cocoa and meet Santa on a train bound for North Creek. The round-trip excursion is going on tonight, Saturday, and Sunday with 5:30pm and 7:30pm departures from Saratoga Springs. Tickets: $20 to $35.

North Pole

Santa's Workshop in Wilmington, NY is open year-round but the reindeer, giant pole of ice, and Santa's elves are particularly magical this time of year. The 2013 Winter Village of Lights is open from 4:30pm to 8pm this weekend and Monday. Tickets: $10.75, Children under 2 are free.

Capital Lights in the Park

This is the 17th year that Washington Park in Albany has been lit up with festive holiday lights ranging from cute, themed, and entertaining to lovely sponsor ads. Proceeds go to the juvenile prevention programs for the Albany Police Athletic League. Carriage rides are available. Hours are Sun.-Thurs.: 6pm to 9pm, and Fri/Sat: 6pm to 10pm. Admission for cars: $15.

Empire State Plaza

Winter-cooperating and weather-permitting, the ice rink is open to the public with free skating throughout the season and free skate rentals on Fridays. Today (Fri. Dec. 27) Olympian Paul Wylie will be doing a workshop from 4pm to 6pm.

Saratoga Springs' First Night

If bars or house parties for ringing in the New Year are not your thing, this may be a good option in which you pay a flat fee and get to enjoy a myriad of activities, events, and music in downtown Saratoga, with CDTA transport. And, if you missed the Last Run in Albany (or the Santa Speedo Sprint), you can do the First Night 5K. First Night Tickets: $15, Children 12 and under are free with a GE voucher.

Peppermint Pig

An old Victorian tradition that was revived by the Saratoga Sweets shoppe which brings good luck in the New Year by hammering a pretty pink pig. And don't forget the pig puddle.


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