IN STEP WITH "THE NUTCRACKER"

Join the Howard County Ballet for a full-length production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." Choreographed by artistic director Kathi Ferguson, this year's performance is accompanied by the Howard County Ballet Orchestra. Featured dancers include Natasha Kiryanova as Sugar Plum and Sergei Vladimirov as Cavalier. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. James Rouse Theater, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia. $20; children, students and seniors, $13. 410-465-8233. Tickets available at Aesthetics Dance, 3240 E. Corporate Ct., Ellicott City.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE BSO

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra entertains the young and old with Kid's Christmas concerts and Handel's "Messiah." Edward Polochick leads the orchestra and the Concert Artists Symphonic Chorale in Handel's oratorio, including the "Hallelujah" chorus and "Great Amen." Solos are performed by soprano Janice Chandler, mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, tenor Don Frazure and bass-baritone Dean Elzinga. The Kid's Christmas concerts -- featuring festive favorites, singalongs and visits from Santa and reindeer -- are conducted by Lara Webber and include a visual stage show by the Ballet Theatre of Maryland. "Messiah," 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday; $22-$44. Kids' Christmas, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday; $18-$25. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. 410-783-8000 or www.baltimoresymphony.org.

TRAIN TIME

The B&O Railroad Museum finishes its Festival of Trains with a week of O-gauge trains showcased by the National Capitol Trackers in a multiloop layout. Diesel train rides are also included with admission Saturday and Dec. 26-29. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Dec. 29; closed Tuesday and Wednesday. B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., Baltimore. $8; seniors, $7; children 2-12, $5; children younger than 2, free. 410-752-2490 or www.borail.org.