European Christmas

Article excerpt

Byline: Thomas Walter, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

European Christmas

The eighth annual Norwegian Christmas at Union Station begins Tuesday with a night full of holiday festivities. Ambassador Knut Vollebaek - along with members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and several D.C. officials - will turn on the model train display, one of the largest in the world. Tuesday's event is also the official start for the Marines' Toys for Tots gift campaign. The free celebration begins at 5 p.m. in the Main and West halls. 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. For more information and a complete holiday schedule, see

House of art

With more than 1,000 artists, Artomatic 2004 is one of this year's largest art gatherings in the District. Throughout its three-week run, artists and performers will showcase their work in hopes of creating a more vibrant art community in the city - and of course to sell their creations. Show hours are noon to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 5. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. The new art space is at 800 Third St. NE. For more information, see www.arto

Before e-mail

Remember handwritten letters? They came before text messaging, and they're now widely considered a lost art. The Folger Shakespeare Library is looking at early Renaissance letters with its newest exhibit, "Letterwriting in Renaissance England." Focusing on the materials used to create the letters, the exhibit highlights everything from the seals and foldings to the paper and inks. The exhibit opens today and continues through April 2. The library is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. 201 E. Capitol St. SE. 202/544-4600.

Dance fever

Blending traditional Spanish music, song and dance, Noche Flamenca has established itself as one of the finest examples of flamenco style. Led by dancer Soledad Barrio and artistic director Martin Santangelo, the troupe has received rave reviews for its passionate performances. Mrs. Barrio and her crew perform at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium tomorrowand Saturday. Both shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $35. 730 21st St. NW. 202/397-SEAT.

A quarter-century of African treasure

The National Museum of African Art became part of the Smithsonian Institution 25 years ago, and it is starting a yearlong celebration with a major show of masterpieces from its own collection and loans from private collectors. …