6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6-9. $10-$15. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. 512-232-0100, wildflower.org.
The Wildflower Center's annual winter tradition lights up the gardens a few weeks before the holidays this year. Luminations features thousands of luminarias — or Christmas lanterns, which have votive candles placed in small paper bags weighted with sand — as well as plenty of performances, music and festive fun. New this year, aerial dance group Blue Lapis Light performs an enchanting site-specific work "Oneness of Being," giving two shows each night.
2. "The Animal Kingdom: A Collection of Portraits" at Davis Gallery
Opening reception 6 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7-8. 837 W. 12th St. davisgalleryaustin.com.
Internationally recognized photographer Randal Ford's latest series, "The Animal Kingdom," features compelling and intimate portraits of animals that portray a sense of power, humor and beauty as well as an unspoken kinship to the species' human relatives. Ten percent of the proceeds generated by this exhibit will go directly to the Austin Zoo's animal sponsorship program. The reception includes a book signing with the artist.
3. Ballet Austin' “The Nutcracker”
7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 23, with additional 7:30 p.m. performances Dec. 19 and Dec. 20. $15-$99. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. balletaustin.org.
Tchaikovsky's most famous work comes to life from Ballet Austin for the 56th year, featuring the dance organization's 22 full-time dancers, choreography by artistic director Stephen Mills and live accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. There's a different local famous face playing Mother Ginger in each of the 14 performances, starting with former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young and including jewelry designer Kendra Scott.
4. Cherrywood Art Fair 2018
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8-9. Free. Maplewood Elementary, 3808 Maplewood Ave. chulaleague.org/cherrywood-art-fair/home/.
Want to find one-of-a-kind handmade gifts this holiday season? The Cherrywood Art Fair returns as a two-day shopping extravaganza showcasing local artists, live music, kids' activities and great food in a family-friendly atmosphere. Artists will offer a range of goods, from skincare products to ceramics to jewelry and more. Proceeds benefit the Chula League's free after-school arts mentorship program in six East Austin elementary schools.
5. Austin Beerworks' Sputnik Launch
12:30. to 7 p.m. Dec. 9. Free. 3001 Industrial Terrace. facebook.com/events/503422770142558/.
One of the most coveted winter beers in Austin makes its high-octane return. More than 180 pounds of Guatemalan coffee beans from Cuvee were hand ground right into the Russian imperial coffee oatmeal stout, making this year's batch fresher and more intense than ever. There will be additional Sputnik variations on tap, including El Sputniko with cinnamon, cocoa nibs and ancho chilies. General admission tickets are free; VIP options have already sold out.