TEXARKANA, Ark. — The nutcracker's associations with timeless holiday traditions and the classic "Nutcracker" ballet accompanied by Tchaikovsky's beloved score all bring a feeling of Christmas cheer.
With that festive holiday theme in mind, the 1894 Gallery will open its "Nutcracker Extravaganza" exhibit Saturday in conjunction with the 1894 Trade Days, featuring 200 nutcrackers and figurines.
The nutcrackers and wooden sculptures will join the Trade Days' vendors and exhibits currently at the gallery.
Free to see and experience, this weekend's Trade Days event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to the dozens of nutcrackers displayed, the Texarkana Community Ballet dancers and both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will join the festivities.
Dancers are former soloists for the TCB's production of "The Nutcracker," and they'll be dressed in costume for the occasion, attending from 10 a.m. to noon. The Clauses will visit from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and give people a photo opportunity.
The nutcrackers and figurines will be displayed on tables, windows and cabinets inside the gallery, says gallery owner Georgia Hubnik. They're on sale, too, for people interested in having their own nutcracker, just in time for the winter holidays.
"Not all of them are nutcrackers. Some of them are wooden figurines that are similar to the nutcrackers," Hubnik said, noting it's a variety of themes displayed in the figures. They're not all holiday themed, but many are. The collection comes from building owner David Peavy's father, she said.
Visitors should expect the TCB dancers to visit with everyone during their stay at the Trade Days, Hubnik said.
And as for vendors, visitors will find Thanksgiving goodies made by a baker, art, jewelry and more. "We're getting more and more vendors, and it's a beautiful time of the year to be outside," Hubnik said.
With the holidays drawing near, Saturday's Trade Days are one way to get in the Christmas spirit.
"We just want people to come out and celebrate with us. It will be fun time, it will be a great opportunity to take pictures with the dancers and Santa Claus," Hubnik said.
The exhibits "Music Legends" and "Led by the Spirit," which feature local artists Eileen Stearman and Danny Helms, are now up at the gallery. Those exhibits are also free to see.
(The 1894 Gallery is located at 105 Olive St. downtown. More info: Facebook.com/1894Gallery.)