A printed list of holiday events will run in The State on Thursdays.
LIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: 6-9 nightly through Dec. 30 at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (closed 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
HISTORIC HOLIDAYS PROGRAM FOR SCOUTS: Tours of HCF historic homes, visit with a Victorian Santa, holiday crafts, hot chocolate and cookies. By reservation through Dec. 22; $8 per scout, adults, $5. (803) 252-7742; http://www.historiccolumbia.org
SANTAS LITTLE HELPERS: Games, crafts, stories, visit with Santa, hot chocolate and cookies for ages 3-8 through Dec. 21, Historic Columbia Foundation Carriage House, 1616 Blanding St. Private groups of 10 or more, reservations required. $6 per child. (803) 252-7742; http://www.historiccolumbia.org
TRAIN RIDES WITH SANTA: 9:30, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays through 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
TOWN OF IRMO TREE-LIGHTING CEREMONY: 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at Irmo Town Park (Columbia Avenue and Carlisle Street, two blocks off Lake Murray Boulevard). Entertainment by the Irmo Elementary 4th Grade Singing Bees, refreshments and Santa will arrive on a fire truck. (803) 781-7050
KENSINGTON MANSION TOURS: Guided, holiday-themed tours will be held Thursdays-Saturdays, Dec. 6-Jan. 12. Times are 9:30 and 11 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $5.50; seniors, $4.50, children, $2.50. Groups of 10 or more are asked to make a reservation. (803) 968-4129
FOREST ACRES SWEET SEASONS: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 on the rooftop of Richland Mall, Beltline Boulevard and Forest Drive. Photos with Santa, face painting, magician, free desserts, beer, wine and fare from local restaurants will be available for sale, door prizes, music by Carillon Carolers, Island Close By, 7 p.m. tree lighting.
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY DROP-IN: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 6 in the squad room at the Lexington County Law Enforcement Complex, 421 Gibson Road, Lexington. Refreshments will be served and Santa will be in attendance. Accepting non-perishable food items and new, unwrapped toys for the Lexington County Sheriffs Department Holiday Food and Toy Drive.
SAXE GOTHA ELEMENTARY PTO HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA: 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the school, 100 Bill Williams Court, Lexington. Local vendors, Santas shops; table fee, $10. (803) 821-4800
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS: 7 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 8; and 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Columbia Childrens Theatre, Richland Mall, second floor, 3400 Forest Drive. Tickets are $10; $2 of the price will support Epworth Childrens Home and Pets Inc. http://www.columbiachildrenstheatre.com
LEXINGTON HIGH SCHOOL CHORAL CONCERT: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Lexington 1 Performing Arts Center, 2643 Augusta Highway, Lexington.
COLUMBIA CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: Dec. 6-9 at First Baptist Church, 1306 Hampton St. Performances at 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 7; 2 and 5 p.m. Dec. 8 and 4 p.m. Dec. 9. Free, but tickets are required. (803) 217-3250; http://www.columbiachristmaspageant.com
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Sumter Little Theatre production, Dec. 6-9, 13-16 at 14 Mood Ave., Sumter. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. on Sundays. $15; students, seniors and military, $12. (803) 775-2150
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
SANTA VISITS LUGOFF: 6:30-9 p.m. Dec. 7 at Lugoff-Elgin High School, U.S. 1. Refreshments, stockings filled with goodies for the kids, photos with Santa (take your own or let the professionals do it). (803) 438-2553
THIS MAN CALLED JESUS: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 7 and 14; 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 8-16. Christmas drama at Lake Murray Baptist Church, 1001 U.S. 378 West, Lexington. Free. (803) 356-4304; http://www.thismancalledjesus.org
FAMILY DAY: 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 8 at the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding St. Holiday crafts and activities for children. $6 for the first child, $3 for each additional child, HCF members, free. (803) 252-7742; http://www.historiccolumbia.org
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE AND ART SALE: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 8 at Art Center, City of Columbia Parks and Recreation. Painting, pottery, holiday art, show, ceramics and a reception. (803) 545-3093
PAINT WITH SANTA: 1-7 p.m. Dec. 8 at Art Smart Academy, 7320 Broad River Road. Bring three non-perishable food items and paint one free ornament (dont forget to bring kids letters to Santa). For $50, a group of four can enjoy lunch, paint four ornaments during a 90-minute session and pose for a picture with Santa; call for reservations. (803) 667-9912; http://www.artsmartacademy.com
SNACK WITH SANTA: 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at Lots for Tots, 105 South Main St., Lancaster. Proceeds benefit Lancaster Childrens Home. Cost: $5. (803) 289-1498
CHRISTMAS AT KILLIAN PARK: 4:30-7 p.m. Dec. 8 at 1424 Marthan Road, Blythewood. Food, arts and crafts, childrens activities and presents for all ages. Free. (803) 754-7980
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
HOME WORKS CHRISTMAS VILLAGE: 1-4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 9-23 at the Home Works warehouse, 2812 William H. Tuller Drive. Pictures with Santa, Starbucks coffee and candy canes. (803) 206-6974
COLONIAL CHRISTMAS IN CAMDEN: 2-5 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Kershaw-Cornwallis House and Lower Grounds, Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site, 222 Broad St. Guided tours, colonial games, scavenger hunt, refreshments, gift shop discounts. $5; ages 6-12, $3; age 5 and younger, free. (803) 432-9841; http://www.historic-camden.net
LEXINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE: 2-5 pm. Dec. 9 at 231 Fox St., Lexington. Most of the 30 historic structures in the complex will be open and decorated for the season. Free, live music, refreshments. (803) 359-8369; http://www.lex-co.sc.gov/museum
BLYTHEWOOD CHRISTMAS PARADE: 3 p.m. Dec. 9 beginning at Oakhurst Road and Main Street (near the fire station) and ending at Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School. Grand marshal will be Art Baker. Parade will feature marching bands, Scout troops, JROTC groups, dance groups, classic cars, equestrians and Santa (of course). (803) 712-3806
GOVERNORS MANSION CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Governors Mansion. Free. Regular guided tours will be available Tuesday-Thursday and Dec. 18-20 at 10, 10:30 and 11 a.m. (803) 737-1710.
WHITE KNOLL HIGH SCHOOL WINTER BAND CONCERT: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the school, 5643 Platt Springs Road, Lexington.
MIDWAY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HOLIDAY SING-ALONG: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the school, 180 Midway Road, Lexington. MES fourth grade chorus, guitar and after-school instrument ensembles perform music of the season.
LEXINGTON HIGH SCHOOL WINTER BAND CONCERT: 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Lexington 1 Performing Arts Center, 2643 Augusta Highway, Lexington.
HOLIDAY COFFEE: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, Thomas Cooper Library on the University of South Carolina Campus. The program features presentations and a tour. Free. library.sc.edu
A DEVINE NIGHT OUT: 5-8 p.m. Dec. 13 at 51 stores and restaurants on Devine Street. A free after party follows the shopping from 8-10 p.m. at Burger Tavern 77, 2631 Devine St. Live entertainment and free food and beverages. devinestreetcolumbiasc.com
WHITE KNOLL HIGH SCHOOL WINTER GUITAR CONCERT: 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the school, 5643 Platt Springs Road, Lexington.
ERNIE HAASE & SIGNATURE SOUND CHRISTMAS CONCERT: 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at First Baptist of Lexington, 415 Barr Road, Lexington. $25-$30. (803) 957-0686; http://www.fblex.org
LEXINGTON HIGH SCHOOL WINTER ORCHESTRA CONCERT: 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Lexington 1 Performing Arts Center, 2643 Augusta Highway, Lexington.
LIVE NATIVITY AND CHRISTMAS PUPPET SHOW: 6 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 in the parking lot at Sandhill Heights Baptist Church, 2992 Bowen St., Elgin. Outdoor event, bring blankets and dress for the weather. (803) 600-2086
NIGHTS OF WONDER: 6-10 p.m. Dec. 14-23 at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road. Red-Nose Express Hayride, Saluda Shoals Choo-Choo, Winter Wonder Ride (downhill tubing without the snow), holiday crafts, marshmallow roast and visit with Santa. Part of the parks Holiday Lights on the River, which runs through Dec. 31, admission is $10 per car; 15-passenger vans, $20; buses, $35. (803) 772-3903; http://www.icrc.net
BAH, HUMBUG! SCROOGES CHRISTMAS CAROL: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15; 3 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16 at Town Theatre, 1012 Sumter St. Tickets for Town Theatres Youth Group production are $10, general admission. Free photos with Santa at the Dec. 16 performance. (803) 799-2510; http://www.towntheatre.com
COLUMBIA CHORAL SOCIETY WINTER CONCERT: 7:30 pm. Dec. 14 at St. Peters Catholic Church, 1529 Assembly St. $12; seniors, $10; students, $5. http://www.columbiachoralsociety.org
HOLIDAY SHOPPING EXTRAVAGANZA: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Hampton Inn, 201 East Exchange Blvd., Fort Jackson. Shopping, free refreshments and a visit from Santa from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (803) 794-8978; www.thecaringheartfoundation.org
BOYKIN CHRISTMAS PARADE: 2-4 p.m. Dec. 16. Theres always something different at the crossroads. Looking for an adventurous couple who want to be married during the parade. A gospel concert will follow at the historic Swift Creek Baptist Church. For information about floats (entry deadline is Monday), call (803) 432-5714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PELION HIGH SCHOOL WINTER SHOWCASE: 3 p.m. Dec. 16 at the school, 600 Lydia Drive, Pelion. Performances by band, orchestra and chorus students plus and art show featuring student artwork.
WHITE KNOLL HIGH SCHOOL CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA: Joint concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Lexington 1 Performing Arts Center, 2643 Augusta Highway, Lexington.
CANDLELIGHT TOURS AND CARRIAGE RIDES: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21. Guided tours of the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion, $6; children, $3. Carriage rides through the Robert Mills Historic District, $5. (803) 252-7742; http://www.historiccolumbia.org
SANDLAPPER SINGERS: Silver Bells, Golden Harps, Brass Magic, 7 p.m. Dec. 20, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College St., Irmo. Guests will be Palmetto Brass, Southern Bronze Handbell ensemble and the Young Sandlapper Singers. $20; military, $18; students, $10. (803) 381-5481; http://www.sandlappersingers.org
BREAKFAST WITH VICTORIAN SANTA: 8-11 a.m. Dec. 23. Start off the day with a continental breakfast at the Historic Columbia Foundations Carriage House, 1616 Blanding St. Then tour the decorated halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, make a holiday craft and pose for a picture with Santa Claus. Reservations required. $10; ages 4-12, $5; HCF members, $8/$3; free for all children age 3 and younger. (803) 252-7742; http://www.historiccolumbia.org
The Town of Lexington will kick off the holiday season this year with its first-ever Snowball Festival.
The two-day event will take place on Dec. 1 and 2. It includes a 5K run, a Snow Ball formal, a cell phone walking tour of downtown Lexington, a Christmas parade, and a concert and Christmas tree lighting at the new Lexington Square.
The lineup of events is different from previous years, said Jennifer Dowden, events and media coordinator for the town. In the past, the town held the Christmas tree lighting on a Thursday night near Virginia Hylton Park and the parade on a Sunday afternoon.
This year, the tree lighting is moving to the new Lexington Square, and all the events will be on a Saturday and Sunday.
The name for the festival came from a former Lexington tradition in the 60s and 70s: the Snow Ball, said Mayor Randy Halfacre. The Snow Ball was a formal dance held every year in January at the Lexington Armory.
"It was kind of the event in this community," Halfacre said. "We want to try to bring back that era."
This year's Snow Ball will benefit the Chris Myers Children's Place, a children's home in Lexington. The ball starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Lexington Municipal Complex Conference Center. Tickets are $30.
Earlier that day, the town will hold a 5K race to benefit PattyPacks, a nonprofit that assists families of children born with congenital heart disease.
The Christmas parade starts at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2, followed by a concert at Lexington Square featuring Tara Scheyer & The Mud Puppy Band. The Christmas tree lighting and lighting on Main Street will conclude the night.
For a complete schedule, see the Snowball Festival page on the town's website.
Related Topics: Christmas 2012, Christmas in Lexington, Lexington Town Council, Snowball Festival, and Town of Lexington