SALT LAKE CITY — With Thanksgiving Day fast approaching, you're probably busy wondering how soon you should start prepping the turkey, how many pies it will take to make everyone happy and where in the world you stored that gift from your in-laws that has yet to be put to good use. But don't let the stress of the holidays keep you from enjoying all of the activities the Beehive State has to offer this weekend, ranging from Christmas-themed events such as "Elf The Musical" to performances from singers Katy Perry, Billy Joel and Jewel.
Feast with the Beast
What could possibly be more fun than having a food and family overload on Thanksgiving Day? How about watching cute animals enjoy a Thanksgiving meal of their own? Before diving into your turkey and mashed potatoes, head over to the Hogle Zoo and watch zookeepers feed animals pumpkins and turkey-shaped pinatas from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 2600 Sunnyside Ave., $10.95 for children 3 and up, discounts for seniors 65 and up, free for children under 2 (801-582-1631 or hoglezoo.org).
Katy Perry probably won’t enter the Beehive State on a robotic-looking tiger like she did during her 2015 Super Bowl halftime performance, but the singer's upcoming concert is bound to have its own dynamic flair to match hits such as “Firework” and “Roar.” The pop singer will take the Vivint Arena stage Friday, Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m., 301 South Temple, $47.50-$147.50 (vivintarena.com).
Lights at Temple Square
Now that Thanksgiving is approaching, it’s acceptable to show off those shiny ornaments and strings of bright lights you’ve had stored away in your closet — although most stores started doing this the minute the calendar flipped to November. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, many places throughout Utah will showcase Christmas lights and displays. Beginning Friday, Nov. 24 and going through Jan. 2, 2018, you can stroll through a lit-up Temple Square and explore all of the lights, nativity scenes and decorations. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 23, free concerts will also take place at various locations throughout Temple Square. Visit lds.org/events for more information. For a comprehensive list of Christmas lights and displays, check out this Deseret News article.
"Elf The Musical"
You’re nothing but a cotton-headed ninny-muggins if you don’t make some time in your schedule to see the touring production of “Elf The Musical” this week. Buddy the Elf will bring the joy of Christmas to the Eccles Theater stage in this musical adaptation of the popular Will Ferrell movie from 2003. The musical marks the first professional gig for Heather Jeffries, a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, who plays the secretary of Buddy’s father in the production. Come watch Buddy’s journey from the North Pole to New York City Nov. 24-26, times vary, 131 Main St., $30-$90 (801-355-2787 or arttix.org).
Note: If you’re unable to attend “Elf The Musical,” you can always prove you’re not a cotton-headed ninny-muggins by attending a special screening of the movie “Elf” Nov. 26 and Nov. 29 at select Cinemark Theatres, times vary, $6.75-$9.50 (cinemark.com).
No Christmas season is complete without the cherished tradition of a Messiah sing-in. Grab your score of Handel’s “Messiah” and head to Abravanel Hall to join the Utah Symphony and Messiah Chorus in the singing of one of the world's best known choral works. Among the solo artists performing this year is Abigail Rethwisch, who impressed audience members with her soaring soprano voice earlier this year on the Utah Symphony’s Great American Road Trip. Come sing the “Hallelujah” chorus Nov. 25-26, 7:30 p.m., 123 W. South Temple, $14-$39 (my.usuo.org).
Jewel’s upcoming performance at the Eccles Theater will be a homecoming show of sorts. The singer-songwriter was born in Payson while her father was attending Brigham Young University, but it wasn’t until living in Alaska that the artist began singing. The folk/pop singer told the Deseret News that at age 6, she would travel on a dog sled with her parents to native villages and other remote places to perform for people. At 21, Jewel rose to prominence in 1995 with her debut album “Pieces of You” that included the hits “Who Will Save Your Soul” and “You Were Meant for Me.” The singer will take the Eccles stage Monday, Nov. 27, 8 p.m., 131 Main, $25-$95 (live-at-the-eccles.com).
The Piano Man's coming to town for the first time in several years. Not only is “Piano Man” Billy Joel’s moniker, but it’s also the title of the song that has become the singer-songwriter’s defining anthem. But Joel has a slew of other hits, including “Uptown Girl,” “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Only the Good Die Young” — all of which Joel will certainly perform at Vivint Arena Wednesday, Nov. 29, 8 p.m., 301 South Temple, $49-$150 (801-325-7528 or vivintarena.com).