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ALTON - The second annual “Christmas By The River” interactive walkthrough event is returning to the Alton Amphitheater soon on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The free interactive walkthrough experience features special guests and scenery such as Buddy the Elf, Whoville, Santa’s Workshop, A Christmas Story, Frosty the Snowman, and more.

“Every scene, we have actors there to do an interactive scene from famous Christmas movies,” Jaynanne Calaway-Habeck with Masterpiece Arts Sanctuary said.

“We come up with new ideas all the time,” she added. “Two of the scenes are the same as last year - Santa’s Workshop and Whoville … but then we have three brand new scenes: we have the Island of Misfit Toys from the movie ‘Rudolph,’ and we have Buddy the Elf From the movie ‘Elf,’ and then we have a Christmas caroling scene where people will be able to sing with us.”

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Laura Wind, the creative director for the Masterpiece Arts Sanctuary, writes original themes for the actors to perform using the movies’ characters and scenery, rather than just copying scenes directly from the movies.

Calaway-Habeck said the event’s second installment is already shaping up to be even bigger than the first.

“We have twice as many sponsors as we did last year, Mayor Goins is co-producing it with us,” Calaway-Habeck said. “We have about 40 actors and even more volunteers.”

There are also additional guides on hand this year so that even more groups of visitors can make their way through the interactive walkthrough.

Masterpiece Arts Sanctuary is a certified nonprofit organization geared towards teaching kids ages 8-18 to perform in live productions and eventually other forms of performing arts. To learn more about the nonprofit, visit their Facebook page.

Those interested are highly encouraged to RSVP to avoid long wait times by emailing masterpiecearts1@gmail.com. For more details about the second annual “Christmas By The River,” see the full interview with Calaway-Habeck is available at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.

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