5 Things To Do Today: Ukulele Festival, Groovin' Higher Orchestra, Friends of the Holidays and more ...

By Volcano Staff on December 2, 2012

SUNDAY, DEC 2 2012 >>>

1. Few instruments allow you to rock out at Christmas like a ukulele - no, really. The Ukulele Festival showcases jazz guitarist turned ukulele powerhouse Michael Powers, Monday Ukulele Ohana, other musicians, hula dancers and Hawaiian food. This is basically your only chance to pretend we live in a warm climate. Take it! Tickets are $5. The event starts at 11 a.m. at the Asia Pacific Culture Center, 4815 S. Tacoma Way.

2. If you're one of those people who lock themselves in the bathroom when you go to parties at other people's houses so you can go through their medicine cabinets in peace, the 2012 Holiday Tour of Historic Homes is the ideal way to indulge your voyeuristic habit. From noon to 4 p.m. the tour will take you through sixvproperties built between 1890 and 1940 on the west side of Olympia, as well as the pioneer Bigelow House. Tickets are $15 and include refreshments at the Bigelow House on the day of the tour.

3. They're still going strong, and still swarming The Swiss to do good, get loaded, raffle stuff off and enjoy the spirit of the season. The Friends of the Holidays benefit from 3-10:30 p.m. at The Swiss, and the T-town institution shouldn't disappoint: Mark Riley Trio, Tahoma Souls Alive, Junkyard Jane, Gin Creek, T-Town Aces, Fingertips and Tumbling Dice will all be doing their part for underprivileged families this year. Look, these times are tough for everyone, but if you can have a fun night out while also making someone else's life a little better, We call that Yahtzee.

4. For years, trumpeter Rich Wetzel and his big band Groovin' Higher Orchestra has been popping up in local bars and restaurants, introducing folks to jazz of years gone by, as well as a few current numbers. At 5 p.m. Wetzel and crew will celebrate the holidays with bag band tunes inside Stonegate Pizza.

5. The routine is simple. You look through the songbooks scattered around the joint, write down a song title and your name on a piece of paper, and hand it to the deejay. In a few minutes, you'll hear him say, "Dave, c'mon down," and the fantasy begins. You're Bob Dylan or Shania Twain - or whoever the hell you want to be. It's cheap therapy, if nothing else. The Mix in Tacoma's Triangle District will fire up its karaoke at 9 p.m.

PLUS: Several events going down today are highlighted in the Weekly Volcano's Weekend Hustle

LINK: Sunday, Dec. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area