In the Midlands, we love a good party

Columbia - The StateJune 25, 2014 

  • Favorite traditions

    Some of the Midlands most popular events are put on by the faith community — from lunch and learn series to food festivals, concerts, seasonal concerts and more. Best of all, they’re family friendly and affordable. Here are just a few.

    The sounds of the holidays are everywhere — all it takes is a listening ear! Consider The Singing Christmas Tree at Shandon Baptist Church, which features a 30-foot tree, thousands of twinkling lights and 150 singers nestled in the branches ( shandon.org). On the Fourth of July, take in patriotic music and an indoor fireworks display at the Celebration of Liberty at First Baptist Church in downtown Columbia ( fbccola.com/liberty).

    Washington Street United Methodist Church has been the venue since 2002 for the popular Christmas tradition, Sing Along Messiah. Here, the community comes together with area choirs and an orchestra to sing the oratorio penned in 1741 by George Frederic Handel. No musical experience necessary, but joy abounds. singalongmessiah.org

    At The Big Nosh, organizers like to say you can blow a shofar, bite a knish, eat a latke, make challah bread, and dance the Hora. But, wait! There’s more in store at the spring festival at Tree of Life Synagogue on North Trenholm Road. The food, from brisket and chicken soup, to pastrami and pickled beets, offers a smorgasbord of delights for those who brave the crowds. bignosh.org

    The Arts at Shandon offers a variety of arts-related events, with popular spring chambers series and performances by noted musicians at Shandon Presbyterian Church (www.shandon pres.org). And, just down the street in Shandon, the Unitarian Universalist Coffeehouse offers a great spot for listening to good and diverse musical performances ( uucoffeehouse.org).

January

World Beer Festival: Lots of breweries and lots of different beers to sample make this a popular event.

Restaurant Week Columbia: A great opportunity to sample participating Columbia restaurants, with special menu items, promotions, packages and discounts on tap.

February

Lexington’s Race Against Hunger: A family friendly run that raises money for Lexington Interfaith Community Services food bank and programs to feed the hungry.

Palladium Society's Annual Chili Cook-Off: Love chili? This event, a favorite for nearly 20 years, is your kind of place. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia.

Mardi Gras: Lots of bands, a parade and more in the Rosewood neighborhood downtown.

USC opening day: It may be February, but opening day for Gamecocks baseball always sets the stage for spring — and a season of great baseball.

March

St. Pat’s in Five Points: Among the South’s largest celebrations of all things Irish, featuring live music on several stages, a parade, walk/run and more.

Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic: This hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation show is an outdoors lover’s delight.

Carolina Cup: High fashion, tailgating and horses combine for spring’s kickoff event, at Springdale Race Course in Camden.

Run Hard Columbia Marathon: A popular event with a course that winds through downtown Columbia.

Smokin’ at the Farmers Market Commissioners Cup BBQ Cook Off and Festival: In a state known for great barbecue, this event gives the public a chance to sample some of the best at the State Farmers Market.

S.C. Cornbread Festival: Cornbread cook-offs and eating contests, live music, kids’ activities and more in north Columbia.

April

Carolina Classic Home & Garden Show: A popular vendor show for homeowners at the Fairgrounds.

Columbia International Festival: The world comes to Columbia with vendors, food, live entertainment and more at the Fairgrounds.

Bark to the Park: Bring your dog along for this fun event that raises funds to support the two-county Pawmetto Lifeline shelter.

Midlands Plant and Flower Festival: Pick up a few blooms for spring at the State Farmers Market.

Runs — and more runs: ‘Tis the season for running, and there are plenty of April events, among them the Ultimate Challenge Mud Run in Gaston; Quarry Crusher Run in Olympia; and Providence Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler and March for Babies Walk, both fundraising events.

River Rocks music festival: Live music at Riverfront Park.

USC spring football game: Fans can get a sneak peek at the team during USC spring football game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Party for the Planet and annual plant sale, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: Another favorite for plant enthusiasts, set at one of the Midlands’ favorite places.

Kids Day: Games and other family friendly activities in the heart of Lexington.

Sparkleberry Country Fair: One of Northeast Richland’s biggest events, celebrating the area’s agricultural roots.

Indie Grits: The festival includes film screenings, youth workshops, concerts, puppet shows for grown-ups, culinary celebrations and gaming get-togethers.

Artista Vista: Stroll through galleries and enjoy great art in the heart of the Vista.

Runaway Runway: Aspectacular fashion show that makes a statement ... about the need to conserve resources.Talented fashion designers turn trash into clothing – and put it on striking models to strut the runway.

May

Outdoor concerts: Free outdoor music events get into full swing this month, among them Five After Five in Five Points and Rhythms and Blooms at Riverbanks Zoo.

Garden tours: Two larger ones on tap in May are the Festival of Gardens, featuring Columbia area stops, and the Lexington County Master Gardeners Volunteers tour, with Lexington County area gardens.

Rosewood Crawfish Festival: Lots of crawfish to eat, along with live music and more in Rosewood.

S.C. Poultry Festival: Take a trip out to the small Lexington County town of Batesburg-Leesville for this family event celebrating poultry.

S.C. Book Festival 2014: This draw for book lovers, held in downtown Columbia, includes author talks, book-signings and more.

Forest Acres Festival: A family friendly event with rides, games and vendor exhibits.

Black Expo: This event includes featured speakers, vendors, entertainment and more.

June

Storyfest: An event celebrating reading for kids, with authors, storytelling, crafts and more, at the S.C. State Museum.

Southeastern Piano Festival: It’s hard to beat free music from talented musicians at this longtime piano event.

Lake Murray fireworks: Music, fireworks and a boat parade add up to a festive way to celebrate the Fourth.

Celebrate Freedom Festival & Concert: A patriotic event saluting the military.

July

Lexington County Peach Festival: Held in Gilbert July 4, this event includes a parade, live entertainment and lots of peach-themed food and fun.

Torchlight Tattoo & Fireworks at Fort Jackson: In addition to fireworks at this favorite Fourth of July event, visitors often enjoy the patriotic music of the well-known 282nd Army Band.

Jammin' In July Music Festival: A day of music in Camden, with lots of bands on tap offering something for nearly every musical taste.

August

Jubilee Festival of Heritage: A celebration of African-American art and culture on the grounds of the historic Mann-Simons site.

Main Street Latin Festival: Celebrating Latin and Caribbean music and food.

South Carolina Peanut Party: A celebration of the peanut, along with a parade, kids games, vendors, live entertainment and more.

USC football: Williams-Brice Stadium, and surrounding tailgate lots, come alive, with the Gamecocks’ kickoff of the football season, which typically occurs in August or early September.

September

Columbia's Greek Festival: There is dancing, vendors and music, but most folks come to downtown Columbia for the fabulous Greek food.

Irmo Okra Strut: Get up close with some Okra specialties at this family friendly festival in Irmo.

Columbia Italian Festival: Italian favorites, kids’ games, live music and bocce ball are features of this festival.

October

USMC Mud Run: A second mud run — still a challenge for the fittest.

Palmetto Health Foundation 5K Walk for Life: Among the largest walk/run events in Columbia, raising awareness and funds for breast cancer.

BOO at the Zoo: A celebration of Halloween and a kiddie favorite at Riverbanks Zoo.

SC State Fair: Folks from across the state come to Columbia for the rides, games, shows and, of course, the food.

Congaree Bluegrass Festival: Bluegrass bands, food and other family friendly offerings are on tap at this event in Cayce.

November

Columbia Blues Festival: Speaking of blues, this festival is perfect for kicking back and relaxing with live music.

Revolutionary War Field Days: Nearly 500 re-enactors are part of Field Days, which explores some of the key events that happened in and around Camden.

S.C. Oyster Festival: Live music, tours of historic homes in Columbia and, of course, oysters, are part of this event.

Main Street Ice: The rink in the plaza at Columbia Art Museum downtown opens Thanksgiving night for the winter season.

Governor's Cup Road Race: Hundreds of runners participate in this race through downtown Columbia.

Colonial Cup: Camden’s Springdale Race Course is the setting for this steeplechase horse-racing event. It includes vendors, terrier trials, kids activities and more.

December

Holiday events: There are more events than we have space to list, but some of our favorite holiday events include the holiday lights at Riverbanks Zoo, Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals, Carolina Carillion parade, the various Nutcracker performances, and on New Year’s, EdVenture’s countdown for kids and the Main Street Famously Hot New Year celebration.

Crafty Feast: A juried crafts fair that draws vendors from across the Southeast. Those selected to sell their wares make cool new stuff, often reusing other cool stuff. It’s kind of like a storefront for etsy.com. craftyfeast.com

Events are subject to change. Keep up with all the events and activities on tap at thestate.com/gocolumbia.

 

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