Ready or not ... the holidays have arrived. Here, a sampling of upcoming events this season.
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE: Broadway in Columbia presents Cirque du Soleil’s holiday show at the Koger Center for the Arts 7: 30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, with 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 artists. Tickets $45-$58; broadwayincolumbia.com
MAIN STREET ICE: Columbia’s outdoor ice skating rink now is open in Boyd Plaza, Main and Hampton streets. Hours through Jan. 19 will be 4-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4-10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and 1-9 p.m. Sundays. Special operating hours Dec. 15-Jan. 2 will be noon-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and noon-10 p.m. Fridays. Closed Christmas Day, open until midnight New Year’s Eve. Adults, $10; age 12 and younger, active duty military and seniors age 55 and older, $8. (803) 545-3100
HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON THE RIVER: 6-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31 at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road. Midlands’ largest drive-through light show features the Dazzling Dancing Forest, animated scenes, Wetland Wonderland Walking Trail, Winter Wonder Ride downhill tubing, Santa’s Claus’et Gift Shop and more. Admission is $15 per car, $25 per 15-passenger van and $40 per bus.. (803) 772-3903; http://icrc.net
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TRENHOLM ARTISTS GUILD HOLIDAY ARTISANS MARKET: Through Dec. 20 at 4507 Forest Drive (across from Trader Joe’s). The market features a selection of paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, cards and other fine art items produced by Guild members. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2-6 p.m. Sundays. http://trenholmartistsguild.org
48th ANNUAL GOVERNOR’S CAROLIGHTING: 6:30 p.m. Monday on the north steps of the State House (Gervais Street side). Musical prelude followed by the program at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Columbia Garden Club and the Garden Club of South Carolina. WYFF-4 anchor Nigel Robertson will serve as emcee.
HISTORIC COLUMBIA HOLIDAY TOURS: Through Jan. 4 at the Historic Columbia homes (Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and the Mann-Simons Site). Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. $8; youth, $5; Historic Columbia members and age 5 and younger, free). The houses are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (last tour starts at 3 p.m.) and 1-5 p.m. Sundays (last tour starts at 4 p.m.). Closed Mondays and major holidays (Christmas and New Year’s Day). (803) 252-8842; http://historiccolumbia.org
LIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: 5-9 p.m. Through Dec. 30 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway. Music in Motion lights spectacular, Jingle Bell bonfire, nightly snowfall and you can visit with Santa from 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 23. Some of the zoo’s indoor exhibits will remain open – Gorilla Base Camp, Koala Knockabout and Riverbanks Farm. Tickets are $10, ages 2-12, $8. Riverbanks members are eligible to receive one free visit with their current membership card and picture ID; guest passes are not accepted. To avoid long lines, buy tickets in advance online at https://etickets.riverbanks.org/eTickets/LightsBeforeChristmas/tabid/161/Default.aspx
“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: on the Thigpen Main Stage at Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St. Five actors will play numerous roles throughout the performance, while creating a live musical score. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 20. Tickets are $22; military and seniors, $20; students, $15. Half-price Student Rush Tickets are available 15 minutes prior to curtain. (803) 254-9732; https://trustus.org/show.php?show_id=74
SUSTAINABLE HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: 4:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at 701 Whaley. Unique artisan gifts in all price ranges, free food tastings by Whole Foods, Rosewood Market, Spotted Salamander, Oak Table and Tazza Kitchen. Cash bar by The Whig. $5 donation at the door supports programs that educate, advocate and celebrate balanced solutions for the community. (803) 381-8747; http://sustainablemidlands.org
SPRINGDALE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY: 6 p.m. Monday at 3022 Platt Springs Road. Performance by the Springdale Elementary School Choir, hot cocoa and treats; free. Bring your own seating.
SWAN LAKE FANTASY OF LIGHTS: Monday through Dec. 31 at Swan Lake Iris Gardens, 822 W. Liberty St., Sumter. More than a million lights and 150 lighted figures. Opening ceremony 6 p.m. Monday; hours are dusk until 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, dusk until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Free.
PANDA CLAUS MARKET: 3-7 p.m. Wednesday at East Point Academy Elementary, 1401 Leaphart St., West Columbia. Food vendors, local crafters, face painting, free pictures with Santa, prize raffles and more. Free admission. East Point Academy, a charter school in Lexington 2, is the first Chinese immersion school in South Carolina. A list of participants is at https://facebook.com/events/536416409837054.
TREE AND MENORAH LIGHTING CEREMONY: 5 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Post Headquarters building at Fort Jackson. Maj. Gen. Bryan Becker, Fort Jackson commanding general, will light the tree, the 282nd Army Band will provide music for the choir and an audience sing-along and Santa will arrive in a fire truck.
“CHRISTMAS WITH THE ANNIE MOSES BAND”: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lexington Baptist Church, 308 E. Main St., Lexington. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $8. (803) 359-4146; http://anniemosesband.com
A STARRY NIGHT: 4-8 p.m. Dec. 4 in Five Points. Family-friendly event will feature carriage rides 6-8 p.m., hot chocolate and holiday treats at the fountain, DJ, dance and choral groups, Salvation Army toy drive and a visit with Santa. Stores will be open for holiday shopping. http://fivepointscolumbia.com/event/astarrynight
CAYCE TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY: 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at City Hall, 1800 12th St. Sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Cayce, proceeds from the sale of lights are used to fund the club’s scholarship program. They’re also holding a food drive, accepting canned goods and non-perishables; a reception will follow. The Lights of Cayce at City Hall will be on through Dec. 31 and some Cayce neighborhoods will line their streets with lighted trees and decorations. For information on the participating neighborhoods, call (803) 739-5385.
JUNIOR LEAGUE HOLIDAY MARKET: The 29th annual market is Dec. 4-7 at the Cantey Building of the SC State Fairgrounds. Shop for holiday gifts or enjoy speical events such as the preview party on Wednesday or PJs with Santa on Friday. General admission is $8; parking is $2. www.jlcolumbia.org
SWEET SEASONS: Forest Acres’ signature 10th annual holiday event 5:30-7:40 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, on the rooftop of Richland Mall. Food, entertainment, beer and wine, and a tree lighting at 5:45 p.m.
“THE HOMECOMING”: Dec. 4-7 at Village Square Theatre, 105 Caughman Road. Adaptation of “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” the TV movie that served as pilot for the long-running series “The Waltons.” Show times are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 5; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; 3 p.m. Dec. 7 Tickets are $12; youth, students and seniors, $10. (803) 359-1436; http://villagesquaretheatre.com
TOWN OF LEXINGTON SNOWBALL FESTIVAL: Dec. 5-7. The festival gets started at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 with a concert and carnival at Lexington Square Park (East Main Street and South Lake Drive) featuring music by Tara Scheyer and the Mud Puppy Band, magic shows, face painting, balloon animal makers, stilt walkers, visits with Santa and craft vendors. Stick around for the 8 p.m. tree lighting, hot chocolate and s’mores. On Dec. 6, the PattyPacks Warm a Heart 5K race and Lexington half marathon will start off the day with the half marathon beginning at 7:30 a.m. followed by the 5K at 8; register at http://www.pattypacks.org. Proceeds will benefit PattyPacks, a nonprofit organization assisting families who have children with Congenital Heart Disease. Meanwhile, back at Lexington Square, settle in for a pair of holiday movies, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The bill includes “The Polar Express” and “A Christmas Story.” The Lexington Christmas parade gets under way at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 on Main Street. (803) 356-8238; http://lexsc.com
WEST COLUMBIA CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at City Hall, 200 N. 12th St. Performances by the Northside Middle School mass choir and USC’s Carolina Alive. Joe Pinner will serve as master of ceremonies, the Christmas message will be delivered by the Rev. Shane Phillips and the Rev. Kenneth Taylor will deliver the invocation and closing prayer. Winners of the essay contest, “What Christmas Means to Me” will read their essays. Following the program, a reception will be held in the New Brookland room at City Hall. http://www.westcolumbiasc.gov
CAROLS ALONG THE RIVERWALK: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Riverwalk Pavilion, N Avenue entrance. Area church choirs and local musicians will be located along the first half-mile of the Cayce Riverwalk, which will be decorated with luminaria; don’t forget to try the hot apple cider.
“GOD’S GREATEST GIFT, JESUS CHRIST”: Drive-through Nativity, 7-9 p.m. Dec. 5-7 at Pine Grove Baptist Church, 836 Pine Grove Road, Lugoff. Free event will feature live scenes with actors and animals; no buses due to limited space. (803) 438-2025
LEXINGTON COUNTY CHORAL SOCIETY’S MISTLETOE: Christmas concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6 at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, 5503 Sunset Blvd., Lexington. Guest performers will be the Children’s Choir from Saluda River Academy for the Arts. Tickets are $20; age 65 and older, $15; students, $5. http://lexcochoralsoc.org
“THE NUTCRACKER”: Columbia Classical Ballet at the Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 3 p.m. Dec. 7. Tickets are $5-$32. (803-251-2222; http://capitoltickets.com
CAROLINA CARILLION HOLIDAY PARADE: The 61st annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade will be held at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, on Gervais Street in downtown Columbia. More than 100 entries will wind through downtown and in front of the State House. www.carolinacarillon.com
HISTORIC HOLIDAYS FAMILY DAY: 10 a.m. Dec. 6 at the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding St. Learn about the history of several holiday traditions while enjoying holiday crafts and activities as a family. Free for adults and Historic Columbia members, $6 for nonmember youth. http://historiccolumbia.org
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 6 in the Richland Mall Food Court, Forest Drive and Beltline Boulevard. Join Columbia Children’s Theatre and Richland County Recreation Commission for a family fun Saturday with activities, breakfast, pictures with Santa and a performance of CCT’s “Jack Frost.” Tickets are $12; http://columbiachildrenstheatre.com or call (803) 691-4548.
SOUTH CONGAREE CHRISTMAS PARADE: 3 p.m. Dec. 6 beginning at Dunn’s Chapel CHurch, 281 Chapel Road, South Congaree. Participants should arrive no later than 2:30 p.m. to get in the lineup. No entry fee. (803) 622-2015 or email email@example.com
CAYCE HISTORICAL MUSEUM’S 25th ANNUAL HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at 1800 12th St., Cayce. Each room of the museum will be decorated with trees and crafts from the 18th century to the present. There will be live entertainment, docents dressed in period attire and light refreshments. (803) 739-5385
WAR BETWEEN THE STATES LANTERN TOURS: 6-9 p.m. Dec. 6 on the grounds of the Cayce Historical Museum, 1800 12th St., Cayce. As darkness falls, scenes from the Civil War come to life. Presented by the 20th S.C. Volunteer Infantry. (803) 739-5385
CHOIR SHOWCASE AND $1 TOURS: Noon Dec. 6 in front of the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding St. Local elementary schools will provide musical entertainment for the community; free and open to the public. Check out the special $1 Historic Holiday tours during the event. http://historiccolumbia.org
EVENING OPTIMIST CHRISTMAS PARADE: 2 p.m. Dec. 7 on Main Street, Sumter. Marching bands, beauty queens, holiday floats and more. This year’s theme is “What Christmas Means to Me.”
HOLIDAY CONCERT: 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. Free performance by “Fort Jackson’s Own” 282nd Army Band. Come early for a picture and visit with Santa Claus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Koger Center box office. (803) 751-4844; http://koger.sc.edu
COLUMBIA COMMUNITY ORCHESTRA: Christmas concert, 7:15 p.m. Dec. 8 at Unity of Columbia, 1801 Legrand Road. Performance will include familiar carols and holiday favorites. CCO principal flutist Patricia Harleston will be the soloist for Busoni’s “Divertimento for Flute and Orchestra.” The audience will be invited to join in the traditional carol sing. Free, but donations will be accepted. http://columbiaorchestra.com
“THE NUTCRACKER”: Columbia City Ballet at the Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. Performances are 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20; 3 p.m. Dec. 14; 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Tickets are $15-$42. (803) 251-2222; http://capitoltickets.com
A DEVINE NIGHT OUT: Businesses along Devine Street will stay open late (5-8 p.m.) Thursday, Dec. 11, to offer specials and celebrate the season with food and beverages. Catch an after party 8-10 p.m. at Henry’s. http://devinestreetcolumbiasc.com/
LEXINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, 231 Fox St. Lexington. Many of the museum’s structures will be open and decorated in period fashion. This event will feature free apple cider and gingerbread. 803-359-8369
JINGLE BELL JAZZ: Mark Rapp Quartet and special guests come to the Trustus Main Stage 9 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets are $20 www.trustus.org.