Holiday traditions will come to life during the fifth annual NOLA ChristmasFest from Thursday, Dec. 21, through Sunday, Dec. 31, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

The center will be filled with decorated Christmas trees and dazzling lights. Enjoy gliding on an indoor ice-skating rink and flying down two 120-foot ice slides. There's a walk-through gingerbread house, and Santa will be ready for family photos.

Attractions include the Kringle Carousel, Winter Whirl, Blitzen Flyer, Polar Express and Snowy Summit Climbing Wall. There will be a snowball fight zone, children’s craft area and holiday movies. Early morning ice-skating lessons may be prepurchased at /

The “One Time in New Orleans” interactive center on Saturday, Dec. 23, and Saturday, Dec. 30, will offer participants a chance to share New Orleans memories on video that will be displayed throughout the event.

A raffle benefiting the mentorship group Son of a Saint will offer the chance to win a trip from New Orleans to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Day hours are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pay-one-price admission, $20, includes skating, unlimited rides and attractions. Group tickets also are available at For information about events at NOLA ChristmasFest, email

Tunes for toys

A toy drive for children in need will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart St., in Treme.

Admission is an unwrapped, newly purchased toy as a holiday gift for a child in need. And the treat in store inside includes performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, the New Breed Brass Band and students of the Trombone Shorty Academy.

Those who can’t attend may donate toys from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Friday, Dec. 22, at Whole Foods, 300 N. Broad St.

Treme holiday concert

Drummer and recording artist Joe Dyson will present the sixth annual Christmas in Treme benefit concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, at Holy Faith Temple, 1325 Gov. Nichols St. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Admission is a suggested donation of $20; tickets will be available at the temple. Parking is available at the rear on Barracks Street; enter between Marais and Treme streets.

Performers include Joe and Joel Dyson, Josh Kagler, Detroit Brooks, Brian Richburg and Friends, Percy Harrison and Edward Jackson. The Holy Faith Temple is a nonprofit church. For information call (504) 525-0856 or (504) 427-6999.

From me to you

Merry Christmas to all. Thank you for sending me information to share.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at