The 17th annual South Carolina Oyster Festival will be held at 11 today on the grounds of Historic Columbia Foundation’s Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion. Last year, it was cold and rainy, but the mimosas were delicious. Along with 10,000 pounds of steamed and fried oysters, the festival, hosted by Liquid Assets, will also feature music, a kids area and a celebrity oyster shucking contest. Don’t worry, if oysters aren’t your thing, there will be alternatives. Guests can bring chairs and picnic blankets. No coolers or pets, though. People can also bring their own knives and gloves to shuck oysters or they can purchase utensils at the festival. Tokyo Joe, The Black Iron Gathering, The Reggie Sullivan Band, The Rival Brothers and Tom Hall & the Plowboys will perform. A portion of proceeds will benefit Pawmetto Lifeline. The Robert Mills House is at 1616 Blanding St. $10; visit www.scoyster.com
The Palmetto Concert Band will perform its fall concert at 4 today at the Koger Center. The program: “Passion in Paint,” “At the Moulin Rouge,” “Persistence in Memory,” “ L’Absinthe” and “La Fiesta Mexicana.” The Koger Center is at 1051 Greene St. Free; www.palmetto concertband.org
The holiday season is upon, and for the local entertainment calendar, this means there will be a number of productions of “The Nutcracker.” The first on the season’s schedule is produced by Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet at Township Auditorium. There is a show at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and one at 3 p.m. Nov. 25. The Township is at 1703 Taylor St. $15.50-$20.50. (Student tickets cost $12.50, but are only available at the Township’s box office.); www.thetownship.org
The Nickelodeon Theatre is holding a “Design the Sign” contest for its new Main Street building. The theater is raising money for its permanent marquee, but until it’s installed, the organization would like something temporary above its doors. Sign specification is 135 inches wide x 50.5 inches tall. The winning design will be displayed on the facade until the marquee is installed. Submissions should be emailed to Isaac@nickelodeon.org by Nov. 30. A panel of judges will select the winner based on originality, relevance to the Nickelodeon’s mission and overall appeal. The winner will receive $250 from the Nickelodeon and a $50 gift certificate from S&S Art Supply.
The South Carolina Arts Commission is accepting nominations for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The Verner Award is the state’s highest award in the arts and is presented to businesses, organizations and individuals for their achievements or contributions. Nominations can be made in six categories: arts in education, organization, government, business/foundation, individual and individual artist. The Harris Folk Heritage Award is given annually by the S.C. General Assembly to practitioners and advocates who work to preserve the state’s cultural heritage. The nomination deadline is Dec. 17. Guidelines can be found at www.south carolinaarts.com or by calling (803) 734-8696.