PORTAGE PARK — The Patio Theater is bringing back holiday cheer with its winter wonderland movie series that kicks off this weekend.
The Christmas program at the historic theater at 6008 W. Irving Park Road will feature family-friendly movies, performers and puppeteers and more holiday fun, owner Chris Bauman previously said.
It all begins at 7 p.m. Saturday with a showing of “Bad Santa.” The theater’s annual “Frozen” holiday tradition returns at 3:30 p.m. Sunday and will show both movies in the Disney series. Puppeteers of the characters, Elsa and Anna, will make the rounds in the theater, which will be decked out with Arendelle decorations, Bauman said.
The event is part of holiday fun that kids can cherish, he said.
“Even seeing my kids run around with 50 to 100 other kids and Elsa … it’s so good for them,” Bauman said. “Those kids are gonna remember that.”
Other movies that will be shown this month include “A Christmas Story,” “Home Alone,” and “Gremlins.” You can see the full schedule at the Patio Theater’s website.
The theater team is adding some new twists and events to its holiday schedule this year.
Indie news show Chicago Corner will host its first annual holiday food and toy drive at the theater 7 p.m. Dec. 23 before the double feature showing of “Home Alone” and “Solstice.” Anyone who brings a canned good or toy will get free admission to the event.
The toys and food will be delivered on Christmas Eve to the Chicagoland Toy Drive and the Greater Chicago Food Depository for families in need.
Also new this year: table seating areas on the main floor for the movie showings, Bauman said. The table areas will accommodate up to four people. Accessibility is first come first served with no special ticket necessary.
“We are experimenting with different ideas and are excited to see how our guests react,” he said of the new concept.
Folks can reserve a table by asking a staff member when they get to the theater for a reservation tabletop display, he said.
Apart from holiday events, Bauman has been getting ready for more shows and events at the theater in 2023. Some music acts are already scheduled for February and March, according to the theater’s event page.
The Patio will also be participating in the new Civl Fest in February. Organized by the Chicago Independent Venue League, the 16-day event will have local concerts at various independent venues across the city that will fund staff, mental health programs and venue safety initiatives, according to the festival’s website.
Bauman, who used to be a concert promoter, also owns the Avondale Music Hall and other music venues in the suburbs under his music management company Zenith Music Group. As the Patio’s reputation grows, he hopes its roster can also expand.
“We’re going to be having some amazing talent starting to come back through here again … everyone who has performed here, some are gonna be returning,” he previously said. “But we are also going to be bringing a lot of new talent that hasn’t performed here because they’ve heard about it.”