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Friday, December 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Overcast
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Tunes, turkeys and more this November

Golf and a show

Vitense Golfland, 5501 West Beltline Highway (at Whitney Way), is helping families swing into the weekend with its First Friday Concert Series. Begun in June as a way to help rebrand the 52-year-old facility by offering food, drinks, family play activities and free music overlooking an outdoor driving range, the series moves indoors for the winter on Nov. 2 with an intimate acoustic performance by singer-songwriter Mark Croft. "It was a risk," admits Kelli Keyzers, the facility's event and marketing manager, about mixing live music with miniature golf - activities not typically linked. "But it's all about exposing kids to some of the city's talented artists." Past performers include Lucas Cates and the band Lube. Singer-songwriter Nick Venturella will be the featured artist on Dec. 7. Doors open at 6 pm, with music scheduled 7-9 pm. Details: 608-271-1411 or

Chemical reactions

UW chemistry professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri - renowned for his kid-tailored presentations that literally make learning a blast - will make a handful of special appearances during the next few weeks. He will be at the Waisman Center Auditorium, 1500 Highland Ave., for a "Science Is FUN!" show on Nov. 11 at 1 pm ($2/$1) (tickets are best purchased ahead of time at the Waisman Center; call 263-5837 or email with questions).

If you miss that, there's "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri" Dec. 1 and 2 at 1 and 4 pm in Room 1351 of the UW Chemistry Building, 1101 University Ave. Because of the likelihood of loud noises and a 75-minute length, these presentations are not recommended for infants or very young children. Everyone else, though, is practically guaranteed an entertaining and educational experience - but act now. To request free tickets: mail a self-addressed stamped envelope with your request to Christmas Lecture Tickets, UW Chemistry Department, 1101 University Ave, Madison, 53706. More info:

Culture bash

Members of more than 50 ethnic groups will do their best to put you in a festive mood Nov. 16-18 as they share their holiday customs during the Holiday Folk Fair International at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., in West Allis. Such designated areas as the All Nations Theater, World Café, International Bazaar, Music Pavilion and Heritage Lane will feature food, music, dancing and historical artifacts that define the season for cultures from African to Welsh. Family four-pack tickets cost $28; children under 5 are admitted free. For details: 414-225-6225 or

Technology and a turkey

A Madison Thanksgiving Day tradition continues on Nov. 22 with the fourth annual Berbee Derby. The 5K and 10K run/walk along the Capitol City Trail begins at 9 am and wraps up by noon - leaving plenty of time for gaining back all of those burned calories. The derby raises money for the Technology Education Foundation, which provides grants for the technology needs of nonprofit organizations, including last year's recipients: Cherokee Middle School, YMCA of Dane County, the Catholic Multicultural Center and the Simpson Street Free Press.

Striving to promote family fitness, derby organizers offer a "14 or under" age category and encourage families to enter as teams. "We had approximately 150 kids under the age of 14 last year," says Emily Schlueter, communications specialist for CDW Berbee. "We definitely target families. It's early enough that the whole family can come and do something healthy, then head home together and have a nice relaxing Thanksgiving." For more information or to register: 888-337-2978 or

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