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This weekend: Shopping and shows

Christmas shoppers can put an arty spin on their hunt for gifts this weekend at the opening of the Winter Arts and Crafts Expo at the Evanston Art Center.

Following a silent auctions this weekend, unique, handcrafted gifts will be available for purchase Monday through Saturday at the center, 2603 Sheridan Road, until Dec. 13. Artists will be selling jewelry, ceramics, fiber, metal, glass, painting, photography, mixed media.

Proceeds from the auction go to ongoing exhibition, education and outreach programs for the Evanston Art Center.

Think it is too early for shopping? Well there is plenty of entertainment this weekend to keep busy with.

The Mudlark Theater is presenting “The Hobbit,” based on J.R.R Tolkein’s classic tale. Watch children recreate Bilbo Baggins faily tale adventure at the McGaw Y Childcare Center Auditorium, 1410 Maple Ave., for a suggested donation of $12 for adults and $7 for children. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

On Saturday catch the Three Alarm Fire Trio as they celebrate Lincoln’s bicentennial by performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Trio No. 2 in C minor, op 66. and, joined by Ravinia Festival President and CEO, Welz Kauffman as narrator, a piece commissioned “Lincoln” work. The event kicks off at the Nichol’s Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $7 for children.

For pre-schoolers, there’s a free music demonstration with The Musical Offering’s Jill Greenman. The classes promote enriching the family life by teaching families how to make music together. The classes begin on Friday and Saturday at 9:45 a.m. The class takes 45 minutes and reservations can be made with Greenman by calling 847-869-9886.

Saturday will also be the day for acrobatics. See a one-time only performance that combines dance, music, puppetry and circus acrobatics when the Actor’s Gymnasium raises money for renovations. Stop in at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St.. at 7:30 p.m. and pay what you can, with a suggestion of $25, to see the best, local, upcoming circus performers.

Friday is also the opening of the Evanston Children’s Theatre performance of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Follow the story of the man who stole from the rich and gave to the poor with the sheriff chasing after him. The show, at the Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., begins on Friday at 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $8.

On Saturday night experience Russia. Pick Stager Concert Hall, at Northwestern University, will host the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. The orchestra will play Russian treatures includes pieces by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Sergei Prokofiev. Conducted by Victor Yampolsky, student pianist Geraldine Ong leads the show as the 2008 Northwestern Concerto/Aria Competition winner. Tickets are $9 for the general public, $7 for seniors and university faculty and $5 for students.

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