Dark Charge, tree lighting & Christkindlmarkt

COVINGTON, Ky. – With Thanksgiving leftovers consumed and Uncle Bert and Aunt Marge out of the guest bedroom, it’s officially Christmas season (tho we recognize that some big-box retailers started force-feeding us a red-and-green diet way back in September).

Just in time then, to shop and sip your way through The Cov this weekend. We’ve listed some pretty spectacular events that not only serve up a good time but also present opportunities to support local organizations, artists, and crafters.

Sippin’ & shoppin’ at Baker Hunt

This evening’s Sip & Shop at Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center checks all the boxes for an excellent holiday event. It features “festive libations,” snacks, and creations from more than 30 local artists and craftspeople for your shopping pleasure.

But that’s not all …

While you sip, snack, and buy original local art (for yourself or to gift to the lucky ones on your holiday list), you’re also supporting art for kiddos, because proceeds from ticket sales support the Center’s art programming in schools.

And there’s this: If you bring a toy, Baker Hunt will donate it to Welcome House (another great Covington organization).

The event runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., so head that way now. Each ticket sale comes with a free drink ticket. (Can this event get any better?)

Gala & Blanton’s bourbon (a complete set)

Now that we have your attention … you’re going to want to get Friday night’s Esperanza Latino Center 2023 Gala  at The Radisson Hotel on your calendar.

Located in The Cov, Esperanza is a spectacular resource for the entire region. Its staff provides essential services to the Latino community by way of assistance with job applications, document interpretation, translation, federal program enrollment, and facilitating connections with legal aid, housing professionals, and school and university administrators, not to mention providing or connecting families with food, clothing, and diapers. They also offer English as a second language classes, adult computer training, and summer camps for kids. A whole lot of really important stuff.

So purchase your ticket and support Esperanza and the Latino community.

As for that raffle we mentioned, buy a ticket and you’ll have a chance to win eight bottles of Blanton’s single barrel bourbon, and – get this – the individual letters below the horse emblem on each bottle spell out “Blantons.” How cool is that?

If you can’t attend the event but still want to support Esperanza (and maybe win all that bourbon), you can still purchase Blanton’s Bourbon Raffle Tickets online.

Light it up

Don’t fret if you missed last night’s tree lighting at Rockefeller Center.

Sure, it’s fun to sip hot chocolate, watch ice skaters fall on the ice rink, and count down the lighting of that towering evergreen – but on Friday there’s an equally fabulous tree lighting right here in The Cov.

Christmas Tree Lighting & Carols at Trinity Episcopal Church is the church’s annual courtyard tree lighting and kicks off with live music by the Independence Freedom Singers.

Once the tree is lit, enjoy a dessert bar. The event supports Go Pantry’s food drive for children, so please bring applesauce cups, fruit cups, Poptarts, granola bars, canned chicken, or microwave popcorn … or show up with all!

Block party!

Bourbon and beer collide in the best way possible at Braxton Brewing Co.’s Dark Charge Winter Block Party! on Saturday.

Braxton says this day-long event is its favorite of the year. Maybe it’s your favorite too -- after all, bourbon barrel-aging is in Braxton’s DNA, so you’re going to be sipping some good brew.

As with any worthy block party, there will be plenty of music and food.

Think you’re funny?

The 24-Hour Comic Event at Pique Gallery on Saturday is the place to stretch your comedic muscle (and wit).

The event is free and all are welcome to this open-ended art space. Simply bring your own art and drawing supplies and create a comic book within 24 consecutive hours. (Or just write or draw comics as long as you want during that time.)

Pique will provide some snacks and drinks, but bring some for yourself as well as money to buy empanadas or pizza.

Meet the artists (buy art)

From small stocking stuffers to large statement pieces, you’ll find original, local-made gifts at Saturday’s Holiday Bazaar at Purple Paisley, Local Artisan Shop.

You’ll also get to meet many of the artists on hand with extra displays of their artwork.

With so much to browse, no doubt you’re linger. But don’t fret – if shopping makes you thirsty and hungry, you’re in luck because light refreshments will be available.

Christkindlmrkt in the Village

Evoking memories of long-ago yuletides (we’re talking centuries), the MainStrasse Christkindlmarkt in MainStrasse Village on Sunday borrows from the traditional holiday markets of Germany.

Did you know that some historians insist that Christkindlmrkts’ place in Germany’s culture is on par with what the French banquette’s to France and the dragon boat festivals to China?  That these markets should be inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible heritage list?

The market’s significance, these historians said, wasn’t so much about buying an ornament as it was about the sensory experience: The smell emanating from the local food vendors booths, the sight of twinkling lights and handmade crafts, the sound of seasonal music, and the gathering of people.

You’ll get that vibe on Sunday.

While you’ll easily find plenty to eat or drink at Christkindlmrkt, you realize, of course, that you are in a stellar food and libation zone, so have a sip and a bite at any of the fine MainStrasse establishments. Event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., so it’s entirely possible – and highly encouraged -- to shop and dine all day.

Live music

Tonight: The Missy Werner Band at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant … Alex Poteet at Smoke Justis … Taylor Henry at Juniper’s.

Friday: Homegrown Concert 2023 with Cat Country 94.1 at Madison Theater … Normundy & FiveByFive with Feral Friends at Madison Live … Jim Hart Trio at Juniper’s … Leroy Ellington at Smoke Justis.

Saturday: Estrada Do Sol at Juniper’s … Marc & Doug at Smoke Justis.


Tonight: Cat Trivia Night with Kittens at Purrfect Day Cat CafĂ© … Feud Fridays at Frosthaus.

Friday: Holiday Scavenger Hunt at Kenton County Public Library.

Saturday: Holiday Plates at Kenton County Public Library … Holiday Celebration (with Santa & Mrs. Claus) at Kenton County Public Library … Santa Bags at Kenton County Public Library.