Through December, we will run a list of community holiday events each Thursday
LIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: 6-9 nightly through Dec. 30 at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (closed Thanksgiving and Dec. 24-25). Santas Village, giant snow globe, Music in Motion, Jingle Bell Bonfire and snow. $10; ages 3-12, $8 (advance tickets, $8 and $6); one free visit with Riverbanks membership card and picture ID; guest passes not accepted. Parking on the zoo side only. (803) 779-8717; http://www.riverbanks.org
HISTORIC COLUMBIA FOUNDATION HOUSE TOURS: The Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and the Mann-Simons Site will be decorated for the holidays and tours will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 30 (except Dec. 25). $6; children, $3. (803) 252-7742; http://www.historiccolumbia.org
HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON THE RIVER: 6-10 nightly through Dec. 31 at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road. Drive-through lights display features Dazzling Dancing Forest, Victorian Village with carolers, hayrides and boardwalk stroll. $10 per car, 15-passenger vans, $20; buses, $35. (803) 772-3903; http://www.icrc.net
ANN BRODIES CAROLINA BALLET PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER: 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at The Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor St. Tickets for Fridays performance $15.50; Sunday, $12.50-$20.50; available at The Township, (803) 576-2350 or Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000.
TRAIN RIDES WITH SANTA: 9:30, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 24-Dec. 15 at the S.C. Railroad Museum, 110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro. First class, $20 (all tickets); coach, $12; children, $9; age 2 and younger, free. Dont forget to bring your letters to Santa. (803) 712-4135; http://www.scrm.org
CHRISTMAS IN CAYCE: The annual tree-lighting ceremony is slated for 6 p.m. Nov. 29; sponsored by the Womans Club of Cayce, proceeds from the sale of lights for the tree are used to fund community projects and a scholarship program. Non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Food Tree. A reception will follow.
CAROLS ALONG THE CAYCE RIVERWALK: 6 p.m. Nov. 30 at the N Avenue Entrance, Riverwalk Pavilion. Area choirs and local musicians will be located along the first half-mile of the park. The Riverwalk will be lighted with luminaria and hot apple cider will be served.
CAROLINA CARILLON HOLIDAY PARADE: 9:45 a.m. Dec. 1. Parade will begin at Gervais and Bull streets, proceed west on Gervais, pass in front of the State House and continue into the Vista to Park Street.
CHRISTMAS AT KENSINGTON OPEN HOUSE: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 4101 McCords Ferry Road, Eastover. Home tours, carriage rides, period music and refreshments. $6; children, $3. (803) 968-4129
NEWBERRY CHRISTMAS PARADE: 11 a.m. Dec. 1 on Main Street, enjoy shopping and lunch downtown after the parade and then check out the Tour of Homes at 4 p.m. Tickets are $20; groups of 10 or more, $18. (803) 276-4274; (803) 276-6264
CAYCE HISTORICAL MUSEUM HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at 1800 12th St. Each room of the museum will be decorated with trees and crafts from the 18th century to the present. Live entertainment, docents in period dress and light refreshments. As darkness falls, take a War Between the States lantern tour. (803) 739-5385
HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS TOUR: 2-6 p.m. Dec. 2 at A.C. Moore Elementary School, 333 Etiwan Ave. Six homes, Doors of Sims Alley and St. Johns Episcopal Church. Advance tickets, $15; available at Piggly Wiggly (Devine Street and Forest Drive stores), Revente, Edwin Watts Golf, Just the Thing, Gibsons on Devine and at http://www.ticketleap.com. At the door, $20. Sponsored by the Shandon Neighborhood Council and the Hollywood-Rose Hill Neighborhood Association, proceeds will benefit A.C. Moore and Rosewood Elementary, Hand Middle and Dreher High as well as neighborhood projects.
GOVERNORS CAROLIGHTING: 6 p.m. Dec. 3 on the north side of the State House (Gervais Street). Sponsored by the City of Columbia, Columbia Breakfast Optimist Club, Columbia Garden Club and the Garden Club of South Carolina.
TOWN OF IRMO TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY: 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at Irmo Town Park (Columbia Avenue and Carlisle Street, two blocks of Lake Murray Boulevard). Entertainment by the Irmo Elementary 4th Grade Singing Bees, refreshments and Santa will arrive on a fire truck. (803) 781-7050
HOLIDAY BALL: 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at Greenview Park, 5700 David St. Sponsored by the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, the semi-formal event is for age 50 and older. Tickets are $12 and include dinner, live music, dancing and more. Seating is limited. (803) 545-3100
LIGHTS OF LUGOFF CHRISTMAS PARADE: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Parade will begin at the BP station, 742 U.S. 1, proceed down U.S. 1 South and turn right onto S.C. 34. Both lanes of U.S. 1 will be closed beginning at 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Lugoff Optimist Club. http://www.lightsoflugoff.com