Thanksgiving Day Parade This parade with an inflated tom turkey, 400 cheerleaders and 200 costumed characters, will also feature 101 dalmatians. Let's hope the pups don't go chasing the Cat in the Hat balloon! Bring the kids and wear comfortable shoes. The parade winds past 25 city blocks, starting at Smith and Walker and concluding at Louisiana and Walker. Vendors will be selling breakfast snacks along the route. 9 a.m. For more information, call 468-6824, access code BANK, or visit www.chron.com/holidays. Free.
Hi/LO Houston Autorama Hey, why escape to the movies after dinner when you can ogle a Baywatch babe and see the original Rat Fink? Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, the artist responsible for the Rat Fink and innumerable custom cars, and bikinied blond Gena Lee Nolin are both special guests at the four-day auto show. (Nolin appears Saturday; the Texas Bikini Team will greet fans today.) Opens today, 5-10 p.m. Astrohall and AstroArena, Kirby at Loop 610. For more information, call 791-5006. $9.75, $4, children under 12; free, children under three.
Family fun with masterpieces from the Pierpont Morgan Library This weekend, the library offers a Discovery Tour of the biblio artifacts in "Masterpieces from the Pierpont Morgan Library." The exhibition includes fantastic hand-painted medieval manuscripts (back then, people had ideas about pig and deer that we may never fully understand; both the living and dead pigs and deer have facial expressions that defy modern interpretation), original drawings from children's books such as The Little Prince and composers' first pen-scratched scores of great works. There are drop-in workshops for budding artists all day, and at 2:30 p.m. Nanny "M" will lead a Beatrix Potter story time. 14 p.m., today, Saturday and Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. $3; $1.50 seniors, students and kids six18; free, kids five and under.
The Nutcracker More than 600,000 Texans have seen the Houston Ballet's Nutcracker -- more people than live in most Texas towns. This dazzling production is designed for the holiday crowd and features many dazzling effects along with the classical music and dance. The show opens today, 7:30 p.m., and continues through December 29. (All showtimes listed in Thrills, Dance.) Will there be a Nutty Nutcracker this year? Mark your calendar for December 29. Wortham Center, Brown Theater, Texas at Smith, 227-ARTS. $10-$60.
Christmas Party of One The A.D. Players are jumping on the comical-Christmas bandwagon, presenting the world premiere of a new musical-comedy about the sacred season. This six-story theatrical with book and lyrics by Ken Bailey and music by Gerry Poland has traveling salesmen, Santa Claus, thieves and other characters not found in the original nativity story. All this frivolity is in the service of a message of hope, but it's still a frisky romp. Opening 8 p.m. tonight. (Through December 31; other showtimes listed in Thrills, Theater.) A.D. Players Grace Theater, 2710 West Alabama, 526-2721. $19.
A Fertle Holiday! It wouldn't be Christmas in Houston without Radio Music Theatre's all-singing, all-silly show about a troubled family reunion of a big Texas family. The singing Fertle family from Dumpster, Texas, a whole clan that's played by only three actors, appear in RMT's own cabaret. Opening tonight, 8:30 p.m. (Through January 18; other shows listed in Thrills, Comedy.) 2623 Colquitt, 522-7722. $14. Reservations required.
Tolstoy Is Dead! A new play by local writer Elizabeth Gilbert, Tolstoy Is Dead! is in production at Commerce Street Arts Warehouse. Focusing on Tolstoy's devoted wife, Sonya, and her unwavering support of her husband's work, the play includes biographical anecdotes about the couple, such as the long hours Sonya spent copying her husband's nearly illegible novel manuscripts. Told as Sonya's story, the play revolves around one of the Russian writer's favorite themes: infidelity. It also includes characters from Tolstoy's short story, "Kreutzer Sonata." Directed by Vicki Weathersby, the show features veteran actress Edith Pross as Sonya and was selected as part of Stages's Women's Repertory Project. 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday through December 8. Commerce Street Arts Warehouse, 2315 Commerce Street, 788-0671. $9.99.
Downtown Houston Holiday Celebration Come see Bob, Elyse and whatever decorations she's devised for this year's holiday season. Church and community choirs will sing, and after Bob and the missus light the tree, a fireworks display lights up the night sky.5:30 p.m. City Hall, 901 Bagby. For more information, call 845-1111.
Galveston Artwalk They have them all weathers, and this Thanksgiving-weekend walk features a fine show by Oscar Earl Barbin at Barbin Gallery. The works and memorabilia on display are a tribute to the King, Elvis Aaron Presley. The pieces have never been shown before and at least one, a welded steel likeness of E, is well worth a look. Gallery reception and artwalk, 6-10 p.m. Barbin Gallery, 2301 Market Street, Galveston, (409) 762-1477.