Vista Lights is around the corner, and that means the holidays are, too.
The 31st annual Vista Lights kicks off the holiday season Thursday, Nov. 17 with artistic performances, live music, dancing, shopping, dining and the annual Vista tree lighting. Many businesses offer discounts and complimentary samples throughout the night.
This year, more than 90 Vista galleries, shops and restaurants are participating, Vista Guild executive director Meredith Atkinson said. “We have really good participation this year. I think everyone's really excited.”
The main event is the tree lighting at 7 p.m. Every year, the Vista tries to make the tree (actually a huge holly bush) a little brighter, Atkinson said. This year’s tree will have new glowing orbs that are bright enough to add pops of color and lightweight enough to not overburden the tree.
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Before the tree lighting, there will be performances on a stage at Gervais and Lincoln streets by Trustus Theatre, The Dance Floor, Columbia City Ballet, Oraki Dance Company, Unbound Dance Company, Unleashed Hip Hop Company and Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker Ballet Bon Bons. Afterward, the Reggie Sullivan Band will play. The 282nd Army Band Victory Brass Quintet also will perform and roam throughout the Vista all evening, as will the Carillon Carolers and other musicians.
Vista Lights highlights
The Vista Guild will sell beer in the Whit-Ash parking between Lincoln and Park streets from 5-9:30 p.m. On tap for the evening are $5 drafts including Stella Artois, Bud Light, Palmetto Huger Street IPA and Conquest Medusa Stout.
Palmetto Twist (1225 Lincoln St.) is offering photos with Santa from 4:30-7:30 p.m. and sales on a variety of monogrammed and custom-monogrammed gift items.
Blue Marlin (1200 Lincoln St.) will be giving out samples of shrimp and grits under the Lincoln Street canopy.
City Art (1224 Lincoln St.) will feature artist Susan Lenz’s show “Building in Stitches” in the main gallery. Cindi Saad also will showcase her original handmade jewelry. Other gallery spaces will be open, as will the art supply store.
The Backpacker Quality Gear (1215 Wayne St.) will have refreshments and 15 percent discounts on all regularly priced merchandise as well as free gift wrapping. Open until 8:30 p.m.
One Eared Cow Glass (1001 Huger St.) will give live glassblowing demonstrations and will have light snacks and refreshments.
Pearlz (936 Gervais St.) will be giving out shrimp sliders and house chips on the street in front of the restaurant.
The Dance Floor (717 Lady St.) will have a free class sampler including shag and line dancing from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Class packages will be offered at a 20 percent discount. Visitors will be entered to win free classes.
The Peanut Man (1215 Lincoln St.) will be giving out warm praline samples, plus discounts on holiday gift orders. Children under age 12 can decorate ornaments for $2.
Southeastern Esthetics Institute (823 Gervais St.) will have $20 skin rejuvenation facials with a free microdermabrasion or chemical peel and swag bags with free gift cards.
If you go
WHEN: 5-10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17
WHERE: Throughout the Vista. Free parking is available in Vista garages at 820 Washington St. and behind the Hilton Hotel. Gervais Street, from Assembly to Gadsden streets, will close to car traffic at 6 p.m. and reopen at 10 p.m.
INFO: For a full list of participating businesses, offerings and activities, visit www.vistacolumbia.com