‘Ugly’ sweaters, reindeer games & BJJ

COVINGTON, Ky. – It’s that wonderful time of the year: Christmas carols, spiked eggnog, twinkling lights … and invites to parties that require – no, DEMAND – that you wear the ugliest sweater in your closet.

And if by chance you have more than one ugly sweater, why not wear them to all the cool events going on in The Cov this weekend?

There’s … a holiday open house where you can meet local artists (who perhaps will deem your sweater “fun” and “quirky”) … a Sip & Shop in Latonia (and we know what happens when we sip and shop – we support local businesses big time) … two events where that ugly sweater will be de rigueur … some good live holiday music … and more.

Where artists gather

That would be at the Hellmann Creative Center for its Holiday Open House.

This is TONIGHT, from 4 to 7.

Talk with local artists and designers … check out the studios … meet community organizations … and get to know their community space.

The Hellmann Creative Center is home to the Center for Great Neighborhoods and Kentucky Refugee Ministries. More than a few artists and makers call it home too, like Katie Woodring, Jennifer Baldwin, Richard Gray, Space 3D Virtual Tour Makers, Polymath Studios, Empower Tools, and Art Equals.

You can look forward to live performances and festive music. Please be sure to wear a mask (except when you’re eating and drinking, of course). Details HERE.   

All puffed up

Artist Antonio Adams will give a Puffy Paint demo this evening at Pique gallery.

Be prepared: There’s a good chance it will stir your creative juices and you’ll wind up puff painting all sorts of holiday gifts.

Paint and some paintable surfaces will be provided but feel free to bring your own t-shirts, or your canvas of choice. And if you can’t make it in person, there’s a Zoom option. More HERE.   

Sip & Shop

… then sip a little more.

Latonia’s Holiday Sip & Shop is on Friday at Ritte’s Corner Historic District.

Squarely in Latonia’s increasingly cool and vibrant business district, you can stroll, shop, dine, and sip (which would have made for a much longer event title), but the point is you’ll find much to enjoy. More HERE.   

Toys & ugly sweaters

We hope by now you’ve gone through that seasonal closet and pulled out every single one of your ugliest holiday sweaters. You’re going to need them.

For example, on Friday, the Covington Street Hockey League is holding its 4th Annual Toy Drive & Ugly Sweater Party at Gypsy’s.

Those big-hearted guys are collecting toys for girls and boys, and they’ll be wearing their ugliest sweaters when they do. Wear yours too, because they’ll be handing out awards and prizes for participants. More HERE.

Sweaters, again …

To continue the seasonal accouterment theme … we’re guessing the garment embroidered with reindeer, sequin bells, and elves would be perfect for Braxton Brewing Co.’s Garage Beer Ugly Sweater Party on Friday.

Rock that ugly sweater – dress the whole family (even the dog) – and head on down to Braxton where Santa will snap a photo and judge the ugliest sweater of them all. Details HERE.

Move over, Rudolph …

But Braxton Brewing Co. isn’t just about the sweaters this weekend: After you shed the sweater from Friday’s event, get ready to go down in history during Saturday’s 3rd Annual Reindeer Games and Pub Crawl.

Your journey begins at the brewery, where you’ll pick up your score card (that’s right, they’re keeping score) and accumulate points while enjoying games, libations, and holiday cheer at Rich’s Proper Food & Drink, Hannaford, and Parlor on 7th.

Turn your scorecards in to any participating location by the end of the night to win brewerty swag and “fabulous” prizes from Braxton, Sonder, and New Belgium breweries. Winners will be contacted within one week of the event. Details HERE.   

Holiday Bazaar

Support local artists and find stellar gifts for family and friends (and maybe one or two for yourself).

Purple Paisley, Local Artisan Shop’s Holiday Bazaar is Saturday. Artists will be on-site with extra displays of their works just in time for your holiday shopping needs.

There’ll be a few light bites too. More HERE

A cappella holiday magic

We’re not making promises (pun intended), but the music will likely be pretty darn good.

The Nancy James Trio performs Christmas with No Promises NKY on Saturday at The Carnegie, bringing some a cappella holiday magic of the musical sort – both sacred and secular selections.

The show is a re-launch of the “Christmas With No Promise” tour.

Alicia Keys, Andy Williams, Joni Mitchell, and Dan Fogelberg will not be performing, but you’ll get to hear some of their best holiday tuneage from James and the No Promises Vocal Band, one of the region’s premier vocal jazz ensembles. Expect a few selections from their recent “Boy Band Diaries” show with the Kentucky Symphony. Masks required. More HERE.   

Blue Christmas

G. Miles and the Kentucky Cuzins will make their “Blue Christmas” concert a “jammin’ good time” on Saturday at The Band of Helping Hands.

The Band of Helping Hands supports and funds activities for children and young adults, so you’ll feel good being there and get to hear some quality tunes.

Bring a $10 donation and/or a toy to help provide a Christmas for less fortunate kids in the community.

The venue is at 3831 Decoursey Ave. More HERE.   

BJJ in The Cov

And now, for a change of pace, here’s something that’s decidedly non-festive: If you saw Jean-Claude Van Damme in “Bloodsport” way back in 1988, then you’re familiar with the concept of “kumite” (or at least Hollywood’s version of it).

While we don’t expect the combat to be to the death at Madison Theater on Sunday, the action will be no less fierce at Kumite BJJ’s Kumite II superfight event.

For the uninitiated, BJJ stands for Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling, takedowns, ground fighting, and submission holds. (Sub of the night apparently wins a flamethrower, if that sets the tone for the evening.)

Last we heard, there are 22 matches scheduled (along with food, music, and a fire show), including the main event black belt superfight between Robby Malof and John Combs.

Tickets, HERE.

Live Music

There’s … Homies For the Holidays with Beloved Youth and DJ Coco at Madison Live on Friday, HERE … Randy’s Birthday Bash! with The Recreational at Madison Live on Saturday, HERE … and Josh McIntosh at Zazou on Sunday afternoon, HERE.


And then there’s … peak Season for Covington Farmers Market on Saturday, HERE … a wine testing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight at Crafts & Vines, register HERE … Games, crafts, and books for ‘tweens and teens on Friday at the Kenton County Public Library’s Covington branch,  HERE.