That annual night of indulgence is upon us, and the Eve’s debaucheries induce less regret when you precede them with something healthy and altruistic. The 11th annual Loop the Lake Foundation, Inc. run to benefit Marathon Kids is both. The 9.2-mile social run begins at 7 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31 at The Lot on Garland at Grand. To register in advance and to learn more, visit loopthelake.org. Participation is free, but a $35 contribution earns you a goodie bag including gifts from Whole Foods, Luke’s Locker and other event sponsors. Loop the Lake Foundation co-founder Don Hunter says concern about childhood obesity and associated health problems — plus his personal struggle with obesity and discovery of running as a remedy — prompted him to start the charity in 2004 (in the afterglow of completing his first marathon, he adds). He and partner Beth Crider both are avid runners and running coaches. Marathon Kids, “is a non-profit organization that encourages students and families to complete a 26.2 mile challenge over the course of a school year,” Hunter explains.
Kicking off this weekend, Jan. 2, and running through Feb. 13 is “Close Encounters of the Dirk Kind” at Pocket Sandwich Theater. Film Noir detective Dirk Spatula is called out of retirement to help find a space alien on the run. Mix in a host of vixen spies, teleportation, shape shifting, voodoo and a werewolf. Don’t forget to throw popcorn at the stage. Pocket Sandwich Theater is located at 5400 E. Mockingbird. Call 214.821.1860 or go to pocketsandwich.com for more. Tickets are $12-$25.
Running through Jan. 3, don’t miss Zingari, the Dallas-based Lone Star Circus’ tribute to the old gypsy families associated with circus. It includes aerialists, acrobats, equilibrists, jugglers, clowns and animals. It’s at Dallas Children’s Theater, located at 5938 Skillman. Go to dct.org or call 214.978.0110 for more. Tickets are $27-$48.
Also running through Jan. 3 is The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum. The next few days are your last chance to visit the arboretum’s 12 elaborately decorated Victorian gazebos. Each one is filled costumed characters, whimsical animals and winter scenes based on the Christmas carol. Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, dallasarboretum.org, $10-$15
Through Jan. 30, Bath House Cultural Center is hosting “Frida Kahlo: La Flor de la Vida (The Flower of Life),” an art exhibition that draws inspiration from the influential Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The Bath House is located at 521 E Lawther. Go to the website for more. The exhibit is free.