Go, See, Do | A menorah on a drone, KU Holiday Vespers, Watkins Museum Tails and Traditions and more

photo by: Journal-World File Photos

Left to right: Watkins Museum of History; KU Chabad menorah lighting ceremony; KU Holiday Vespers.

There’s been a balloon menorah, an ice menorah and a glow-in-the-dark menorah. But this year, the menorah is going to fly.

You read that right. It’s going to be flying up in the sky.

Chabad of KU, a campus Jewish community center, will celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah on Sunday with the lighting of this flying menorah. The public is invited to the free event to help kick off the eight-day holiday, which runs from Sunday through Dec. 10.

Along with the lighting of the menorah, drinks and snacks will be available. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.

photo by: John Young

Big Jay and Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel light a nine-foot-tall menorah outside the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire Street, in 2014. This year, the menorah will fly on a drone.

Each year, Chabad changes up the way it lights the menorah to keep it interesting. This year is the first time it will fly in the sky on a drone, Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel said.

“The idea is spreading the light everywhere we can, and one of the ways we’re doing that is bringing the lights up in the sky,” he said. “It’s going to be 100 feet in the air, spreading that light.”

Tiechtel said the annual celebration of the holiday is another chance for the community to come together in light of the attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in October that left 11 people dead and several others wounded.

The theme of the event is “stronger together,” he said.

“Hanukkah is a time when we rejoice in the freedom and liberty the Maccabees fought for and that we enjoy today in America, where we can publicly celebrate our values,” Tiechtel said. “We pride ourselves on being a resource for anything Jewish, and we are excited about sharing the holiday joy and light with all our neighbors and friends.”

Here’s what else you can go, see and do this week:

KU’s Holiday Vespers

photo by: Mike Yoder

The KU Symphony Orchestra and KU Choirs perform “There Shall a Star from Jacob” during the annual KU School of Music Holiday Vespers Sunday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2015, at the Lied Center.

The KU School of Music’s choirs and symphony orchestra will get the audience into the holiday spirit this weekend during the 94th annual Holiday Vespers.

The KU choirs, conducted by Paul Tucker and Mariana Farah, and the KU Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carolyn Watson, will perform seasonal favorites, classical works and an audience holiday sing-along, according to a news release.

Some of the choral songs include “Gloria,” “Ave Maria” and “O Holy Night,” along with some contemporary holiday songs.

The KU Symphony Orchestra will also perform Antonín Dvorák’s “Slavonic Dance No. 8,” Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s waltz from “Sleeping Beauty,” Hector Berlioz’s “Hungarian March,” Johann Strauss’ “Radetzky March” and George Bizet’s “Les Toréadors” from “Carmen” Suite No. 1.

The vespers will be held 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive. Tickets are $13.50 for adults and $11 for seniors, youth and students.

Watkins’ Tails and Traditions Festival

For the sixth year, the Watkins Museum of History will offer family-friendly holiday fun with the annual Tails & Traditions Holiday Festival.

The museum, 1047 Massachusetts St., will host the event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, coinciding with the Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade downtown.

The event will offer hot chocolate, pastries, and holiday-themed crafts available for people coming downtown to watch the parade, according to a museum news release.

Additionally, the Lawrence Community Handbell Choir will perform a holiday concert on the first floor at noon, followed by the Lawrence Civic Choir at 1 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Poetry readings for charity

One of the best parts of the holiday season is the opportunities to give back to the community in fun and interesting ways.

Humanities Kansas encourages Lawrence folks to do that while also enjoying the poetry of one of Kansas’ most accomplished poets.

Kevin Rabas, a professor at Emporia State University and the Kansas poet laureate, will be reading at 5 p.m. Thursday at Ladybird Diner, 721 Massachusetts St.

Rather than paying to enter, visitors are encouraged to bring canned food to donate at the door. All of the canned goods will be donated to Just Food, a local food bank. The event is part of the Bards Against Hunger, a national project dedicated to using poetry to fight hunger.

Final Fridays

The monthly arts and culture event Final Fridays returns to Lawrence again this weekend.

A list of all of the arts events in town can be found on the Explore Lawrence website.

If you have an event you think I or the Lawrence community should know about, please send the information to me at dlysen@ljworld.com. To follow my event coverage and experiences, follow me on Twitter @DylanLysen.