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It's a jolly Holly Day at the Clay Center Friday

Lawrence Pierce
"Year of the Girl: 1912-2012" is part of the Clay Center's holiday tree exhibit, "Traditions: A Celebration of Heritage," opening Friday. Created by Bobbi Galloway and Girl Scout Troup 2874, it includes ornaments with Girl Scout badges on them.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For 14 years, dating back to the days of Sunrise Museum, families have found fun on the day after Thanksgiving with the annual Holly Day event. Now held at the Clay Center, it not only provides family-friendly activities but also serves as the opening of the annual holiday art and planetarium shows.Holly Day itself runs noon to 4 p.m. Friday, though the center is open for its regular 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours.In the "Holly Field Day," children can play Stocking Stuffing and try to toss "coal" (bean bags) into stockings at 12:30 p.m., participate in a tree-decorating relay at 1:30 p.m. and play Pass the Ornament at 2:30 p.m.Art activities run noon to 4 p.m. Reindeer hat and holiday card crafts are free; ornaments cost $2 each to make.At noon, Earth City, in the Avampato Discovery Museum, will have a holiday lighting ceremony. "Shivering Science" demonstrations are at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The main man, Mr. Santa Claus himself, visits at noon, 2 and 3:30 p.m.Art exhibitThe art gallery's holiday exhibit is "Traditions: A Celebration of Heritage." On display through Dec. 30, it features decorated trees as well as fine art works by emerging West Virginia artists. "This year, our theme is traditions, focusing on holiday traditions," said Clay Center lead educator Kayte Brannon, who is overseeing the exhibit. "It's everyone's take on tradition. It's a lot of fun with a lot of whimsical trees and a lot of really neat ideas."Among the trees is Janet Hager's "Holiday Barbies Through the Years.""Apparently, they've made one holiday Barbie a year since 1988," Brannon said. "This artist is displaying them all on one tree."Other tree designers are Bob Henry Baber, Dan Connery, Chris Dutch and Robin Hammer, the Fioravante family (Penny, Gianna, Angelo and Marcus), Bobbi Galloway and Girl Scout Troop 2874, Joshua Jones and Cindy and Butch Walton.
The fine arts portion has works by Laura Alvis, Samantha Mosby Belcher, Adrian Blackstock, Ian Bode, R. Michael Bowen, Glen Brogan, Kelly Bryant, Rob Cleland, Mary Grassell, Rebecco Recco and Megan Schultz.Also opening in the gallery on Friday is the "WV Contemporary Quilt Invitational" organized by the Kanawha Valley Quilters Guild. It's on display through March.Planetarium show"Reason for the Season" is the annual holiday planetarium show. While it does look at some of the different religious celebrations that occur this time of year, the focus is on astronomy.
"It talks about the astronomical origins behind the season," said ElectricSky Theater manager William Rouse. "The scientific cause of it."The show itself is 20 minutes and is followed by a 20-minute star talk. See it at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Jan. 6 (noon and 2 p.m. on Sundays).Other activitiesIt's not exactly holiday related, but the giant screen film also fits the season. "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in the early 1900s. On the voyage, the ship became trapped in ice, beginning a 17-month quest for survival.In his review of the film, Gazette writer Bill Lynch called it "a thrilling yarn and a real treat for history buffs and fans of true-life adventure." Showings are at noon, 1, 3 and 4 p.m.The Mylan Explore-Atory has the interactive exhibit "Roll, Drop, Bounce: The Science of Motion." Visitors can learn about Newton's Laws of Motion, kinetic and potential energy and other physics phenomena by building mini-cars, launching a catapult and more.
Holly Day activities are included in museum admission of $7.50 for adults and $6 for children. Admission to the galleries, film and planetarium show is $14.50 for adults and $12 for children. Call 304-561-3570 or visit Amy Robinson at or 304-348-4881.
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