From Krampusnacht to creepy, red-eyed snowmen: The best December events in Akron

compiled by Danny Durst and staff

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’re probably familiar with this “12 Days of Christmas,” which doesn’t even start until Christmas Day. That’s a long ways off still—and it runs through January 6?—so to make sure you get your money’s worth, we’ve got a killer list of things to do to get you in the spirit of the season, Akron-style, so you can really enjoy yourself when you get to those 12 special days… and then some.

Author Joanna Wilson and artist Samantha Hudson at the book launch this summer.
Author Joanna Wilson and artist Samantha Hudson at the book launch this summer.

Archie the Talking Snowman
Chapel Hill Mall
Ongoing during mall hours
You think this holiday tradition isn’t an event worth talking about? Joanna Wilson would probably disagree. Make sure you have a copy of her latest book, The Story of Archie the Talking Snowman, in hand when you go. You never know when Joanna might be watching…or that other guy up north. (Story on page 15)

The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Summit Artspace
Dec. 4 – 19 with Thurs.-Sat. shows at 7:30pm and 2pm shows Sun.
Is Elizabeth Allard a modern-day superwoman of the theater? She may only be a librarian in real life. But come night, she will be taking the stage in Ginna Hoben’s one-woman show. This new holiday classic comes as a gift from Rubber City Shakespeare Company. The production is new in their season and a step away from Shakespeare. It’s nothing like that Scottish play, but be warned. It might still be a good night to spring for a babysitter.

3rd Annual Krampusnacht
Saturday, Dec. 5 at 6 pm
Don’t chance upsetting Krampus. Go to Annabell’s in costume and enjoy live music with Seance, The Hot Wings and FleischGewehR, plus a fire performance by Lita Rabbit and the Promenade of Krampus through Highland Square. Your ticket includes an authentic European buffet with bratwurst, spaetzle, sauerkraut balls, meatballs, glühwein and more.

Jeff ‘JCK’ Klemm
Saturday, Dec. 5
While JCK’s first solo album is set for launch Dec. 11, the Maid Myriad frontman is offering local music lovers a chance to drink it in almost a week early when he performs the whole album, “Burying the Shadows,” live on stage at Musica. Sancat and Hell & Highwater will open. Tickets are available at and the album will be available at when it’s released. (Catch JCK on Dec. 20 at Annabell’s for free with Ricky Miller of Red Sun Rising, Chris Bentley of The Most Beautiful Losers, Nick Wilkinson and more at Sad Songs For Sad Bastard’s By Sad Bastard’s presents ‘Holiday Tear’)

Island of Misfit Toys Family Day
Akron Art Museum
Sunday, Dec. 6
This quirky exhibition, curated by Rob Lehr, the gallery director for Summit Artspace, runs through February 28, 2016 and features blank vinyl Munny toys customized and decorated by both students and professional artists. On Family Day, for the 11th year, the museum will open its doors for free to encourage donations of new, unwrapped toys for children in need. Hours and more info at

The Arcs
Akron Civic Theatre
Tuesday, Dec. 8
Never heard of ‘em.

Annabell’s Lounge
Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 8pm
What would you get if you put a guitar and some keys in front of a couple of gypsies? If you missed the show at Annabelle’s in November or in Cleveland the night before, this is your chance to find out. If you don’t know the music, Hoseff has been compared to the sound of Frank Zappa and Gorgol Bordello. Does that help? We only hope Angie Haze will take the night away from her Angie Haze Project to relive parts of their last album.

Dr. Sketchy’s Outta This World Holiday Extravaganza
Jilly’s Music Room
Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 7:30 p to 10:30 p
Imagine yourself an alien landing on our planet smack in the middle of the holiday season. That’s the set-up for the next Dr. Sketchy’s when Nina Bellina returns to embody the aforementioned extra-terrestrial holiday guest.

Holiday Pops: Home for the Holidays
E.J. Thomas Hall
Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 pm; milk & cookies at 6:30 pm
Kids, grab your fancy jammies. The Akron Symphony Orchestra will be playing holiday favorites in the company of dancers from the Martell School of Dance. They say they’ll have music, dancers AND a visitor from the North Pole? We’re guessing one of them won’t be a penguin.

neil zazaNeil Zaza’s ‘One Silent Night’
Saturday, Dec. 12
Hard Rock Rocksino, Northfield Park
This guitar-slaying Akronite dropped a new album, “Peach,” on October 1 and then went off on a month-long tour of Asia. Now he’s back, we all get to rock in the holidays with Neil Zaza at the helm of his legendary “One Silent Night,” an evening of instrumental rock takes on traditional Christmas classics. Someone called it “Hendrix meets Beethoven under the Christmas tree,” which sounds like a winner to us.

Missle Toe at Akron Art Museum
Dec. 17 from 6:30-8:30pm
Is this really the world’s greatest Christmas band? This may be one of your best opportunities to judge for yourself. Missile Toe began celebrating the holiday season with their Pants Optional Holiday Tour back in October alongside most retailers. Akron Art Museum will host the group on one of their Free Thursdays in December. Walk through the museum while you are there, but you should probably wear pants.

Jon Mosey Trio
Jilly’s Music Room
Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8pm
It might be hard to beat a pants optional show. But there’s no reason you can’t see two bands in one night! Simply put, the Jon Mosey Trio is an Akron-based, all original Blues/Rock band. According to them, “We play the music that gets the asses a shakin’ Hell Yeah!” Any questions?

The Scintas Christmas Show
Friday, Dec. 18 – Sunday, Dec. 20
You might think you’re buying a ticket to see The Scintas sing—and you will hear their great music and hilarious comedy—but you’re going to see Dino and Jerry, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and a slew of others.

Frankie Starr Band
Mustard Seed Cafe’
Saturday, Dec. 19
This Cleveland-born bluesman got started in music at age 8, eventually playing drums in his mom’s band. He switched to guitar and has since opened up for BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray and Leon Russell, among others.

7th Annual Ryan Humbert Holiday Extravaganza
Akron Civic Theatre
Sunday, Dec. 20-Monday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 pm
It’s a country-fried Christmas at the Civic with Hillbilly Idol and Emily Bates joining headliner Ryan Humbert in a cabaret setting show to benefit Akron General’s Muffins for Mammograms Program. It’s a cause close to Ryan’s heart after his mother beat cancer. Now he wants to help other woman get screened early.

19th annual Illstyle Rockers Christmas Jam
Saturday, Dec. 26
For almost two decades, the Illstyle Rockers crew has unleashed the four elements of hip-hop in this annual Christmas Jam. That makes it an Akron institution in our book. You should plan to party accordingly.

first-night-2016-buttonFirst Night Akron
Various locations around downtown Akron
Thursday, Dec. 31
Some of our favorite live local music all on one big night in family-friendly environs from the John S. Knight Center, Akron Library and Akron Art Museum to the Civic and Greystone Hall, and many more. There’s too much to name, but you can take in performances by Brian Lisik, Theron Brown, the Gage Brothers, the Angie Haze Project, Copali, Kofi Boayke, the UA Steel Drum Band and Shivering Timbers. Plus, fun stuff like Silent Disco, lots of kid stuff and something special with Wandering Aesthetics. Get the details at

Get On Up
Thursday, Dec. 31
Akron’s retro 80’s funk band, Get On Up, helps you ring in the New Year at Tangier with their butt-shaking grooves while you prepare for the champagne toast and balloon drop. You get a deluxe bar and appetizer buffet to boot. Call 330-376-7171 for details.

The Juke Hounds
Jilly’s Music Room
Thursday, Dec. 31
Rock in the new year at Jilly’s with the horn-based Swizzle Stick Band and the bluesy boogie of the Juke Hounds. Gobble up the goodies on the buffet line all night then cap the countdown with a champagne toast with the JMR flute you get to take home with you. Details at