1. The 6th annual WQUT Blues Christmas to benefit the Marine Corps Reserves Toys For Tots Program will occur Friday and Saturday Dec. 18 and 19 at the Down Home, 300 W. Main St., at 7:30 p.m. both nights. Friday night, it's Catfish Frye Band followed by The Billy Crawford Band, and on Saturday, it's Samantha Gray followed by Bluesman & The Blues Essentials. Admission is (at least) one new, unwrapped toy and $3 per person. Enjoy two night of great blues and help organizers make sure that as many kids as possible wake up with a new toy on Christmas morning.
2. This weekend provides anxious movie-goers their first chance to see the newest Star Wars film — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — and if you’re anything like many of the people across the world, you’ve been waiting for this moment since the movie was announced in 2012. Old favorites Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo respectively, but the cast will also include newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver. Check local theaters for showtimes.
3. For a truly special holiday outing, see Storyteller Tim Lowry in his renowned one-man show, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Dressed in Victorian costume, Lowry invokes the spirit of Mr. Dickens with his quick wit, rapid-fi re delivery and flair for the dramatic. The Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future along with Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim will return to the stage for these memorable performances, suitable for ages 10 and up. Refreshments follow the show, and reservations are strongly recommended. Shows occur Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m at the International Storytelling Center. Admission is $20.
4. The City Youth Ballet of Johnson City wraps up holiday splendor with “The Nutcracker,” presented Dec. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 19 and 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Milligan College’s Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts. The full-length ballet features a frolicking Christmas party, a timeless uncle with magical powers and a girl’s visit to the Land of Sweets. General admission tickets are available at Bear ‘n Friends on North Roan Street in the Peerless Center, Peace by Peace Studio Gallery in downtown Johnson City or at the door. For more information call 423-434-2195, www.cityyouthballet.org or find the group on Facebook.
5. The JV Squad is an eclectic Mountain Soul band featuring the powerful vocals of Jared and Vanessa Bentley, the incomparable Rob Russell on guitar, the talented fingers of Jerry Henninger on keys and the rock-solid rhythm section of Kevin Light (bass) and Mike Sams (drums). You'll get a lot of things at a JV Squad show, from a few country standards to a lot of New Orleans soul, from a heartfelt ballad to a new barn-burner, from Stevie to Tweedy, and all points in between. The JV Squad will perform Friday at 10 p.m. at O’Mainnin’s Pub & Grill on State Street in Bristol.