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Free carriage rides are available downtown on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. (File)
Free carriage rides are available downtown on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. (File)

“The Nutcracker” – Thursday-Dec. 9. Presented by the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara, Calif. Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave. $22-$65/general, $16/age 12 and younger. (509) 624-1200.

8th Annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival – Featuring seven films, to benefit Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education’s Fieldwork Experience programming. Purchase tickets in Sandpoint at Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters, Eichardt’s Pub, Mountain Essentials, Pedro’s and at the Ski Shack in Hayden. Individuals can also purchase tickets online at Nov. 30, 7 p.m., Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., Sandpoint. $10/advance, $12/day of event. (208) 263-9191.

Hayden Lights Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony - Parade begins at 5 p.m. and runs from Hayden Avenue south on Government Way to Honeysuckle Avenue. Christmas tree lighting cerermony follows at Hayden City Park next to City Hall. Entertainment includes perfromances by choral students from Atlas and Hayden Meadows elementaries. Saturday, 5 p.m., Hayden City Park, 8930, Hayden. Free. (208) 209-1080.

Author David Shields - Shields will give a presentation to the entire community on the social and intellectual impact of leadership through radically transgressive art, art that deeply considers the human condition, honors the quest for knowledge that transforms people, and challenges listeners to engage in life at its fullest. Q and A at Gonzaga, 1-2 p.m.; reading/speech at 6 p.m. in the Wolfe Auditorium. Today, Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Ave. Free admission to all events. (509) 328-4220.

Santa Express – Through Dec. 23. With the help of Santa’s elves (volunteers), young shoppers ages 4-12 choose gifts priced from 50 cents to $8 for everyone on their list and wrap each gift so it’s ready to go under the tree. Vanessa’s Village, located in the entry of Santa Express, welcomes shoppers of all ages. Fundraiser for Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, a safe shelter for kids who are at risk of neglect or abuse. Open Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., through Dec. 23. Downtown on the skywalk level of Crescent building, 707 W. Main Ave. varies. (509) 448-2900.

Free Carriage Rides – Fridays, 3-8 p.m. and Saturdays-Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Presented by Spokane Teachers Credit Union. Corner of Wall Street and Main Avenue. Free.

Breakfast with Santa - Enjoy a pancake breakfast and a variety of fun-filled children’s games, crafters and other activities, have your picture taken with Santa. Hosted by Spokane Valley Rotary Club. Proceeds benefit Rotary College Scholarships Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and other Rotary service projects. Registration encouraged. Dec. 1, 9-11 a.m., CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley. $5/person at the door. (509) 688-0300.

Military Veterans Christmas Potluck Lunch - All Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine and Navy veterans are invited. Spouses, guests and significant others are also welcome. All veterans are requested to bring a hot dish, a salad or a dessert.The only cost to the veteran is a recommendation that a new toy be brought to the lunch for a boy or a girl, aged from 9 to 12. Representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign have been invited, and all toys will be donated to Toys for Tots.The Fleet Reserve Association is a national military veterans organization whose members served in the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy. Spokane’s FRA branch is called Branch 38. Saturday, Noon., North Hill Masonic Lodge, 706 W. Garland Ave. (509) 327-2068.

First Sundays at McCroskey House - Enjoy brunch/lunch at the historic Garfield McCroskey house. Ten percent of the day’s proceeds will be donated to Seedlings Child Care Center. Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Garfield McCroskey House, 803 N. Fourth St., Garfield. $8/adults, $5/children ages 11 and younger. (509) 635-1459.

Priest River’s Christmas on Main - 26th annual event on main street includes games, food, prizes and Santa Claus. 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Beardmore Block, 119 Main St., Priest River. (208) 448-2721.