Ready or not ... the holidays are here. A sampling of upcoming events this season.
CAROLINA CARILLON HOLIDAY PARADE: The 61st annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade will be held at 9:45 a.m.Saturday on Gervais Street in downtown Columbia. More than 100 entries will wind through downtown and in front of the State House. http://www.carolinacarillon.com
COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Highway, West Columbia. Find the perfect tree in the South Certified Shed, shop for holiday decor and gifts in the Market Pavilion or specialty food items in Five Rivers Market. There will be an antique tractor parade at 2 p.m. with Santa bringing up the rear. Free. (803) 734-2210
SANTA’S MARKET CRAFT SHOW: 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday at Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane. Complete your holiday shopping with unique gifts, decorations and one-of-a-kind crafts. Free admission; door prizes will be awarded. 772-3336; http://icrc.net
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BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday 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
SANTA’S GINGERBREAD JAMBOREE: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St. Holiday event will feature photos with Santa, gingerbread cookie decorating, story time with Frosty the Snowman, festive face painting, holiday arts and crafts and Snowville. Preregistration is required, tickets are $18 (includes general admission). (803) 779-3100; http://edventure.org
HISTORIC HOLIDAYS FAMILY DAY: 10 a.m. Saturday 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 non-member youth. http://historiccolumbia.org
CHOIR SHOWCASE AND $1 TOURS: Noon Saturday 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
SOUTH CONGAREE CHRISTMAS PARADE: 3 p.m. Saturday 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
“THE CAROLS OF CHRISTMAS”: 6 p.m. Saturday at Sutton Branch Baptist Church, 420 Sutton Branch Road, Lugoff. Christmas cantata, featuring the Jubilee, Musical and Youth Choirs and directed by Eddie J. Nelson, will feature a number of solos as well as a narration. (803) 438-4811
CAYCE HISTORICAL MUSEUM’S 25th ANNUAL HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: 6 p.m. Saturday 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. Saturday on the grounds of the Cayce Historical Museum, 1800 12th St., Cayce. As darkness falls, scenes from the great American war come to life. Presented by the 20th S.C. Volunteer Infantry. (803) 739-5385
EVENING OPTIMIST CHRISTMAS PARADE: 2 p.m. Sunday on Main Street, Sumter. Marching bands, beauty queens, holiday floats and more. This year’s theme is “What Christmas Means to Me.”
CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday at the S.C. Governor’s Mansion, 800 Richland St. Free, no reservations required.
HOLIDAY CONCERT: 7 p.m. Monday 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. Monday 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
TOWN OF LEXINGTON SNOWBALL FESTIVAL: Through Sunday in Lexington. On Saturday, 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. Sunday on Main Street. (803) 356-8238; http://lexsc.com
“THE HOMECOMING”: Through Sunday 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. Thursday, Friday; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12; youth, students and seniors, $10. (803) 359-1436; http://villagesquaretheatre.com
COLUMBIA NATIVITY FESTIVAL: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Suber-Marshall Memorial UMC, 3900 Live Oak St. More than 100 creches from around the world, living Nativity, live music, petting zoo, homemade holiday goodies and 10,000 Villages Fair-Trade gift shop. (803) 787-2497; http://subermarshall.org
“JACK FROST”: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. Dec. 12; 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 13; 3 p.m. Dec. 14, at Columbia Children’s Theatre, second level, Richland Mall, 3400 Forest Drive. With book and lyrics by Chrystal Aldamuy and music and lyrics by Paul Gilbert Lindley II, the original musical follows Jack through some trying teenage times when he only wants to do things his way, like painting holly leaves in rainbow colors, bringing snow storms to orange groves in September and accidentally inventing the aurora borealis. The solution? The Frosts and their neighbors, the Kringles (parents of Crystal), decide to switch youngsters for a while – valuable lessons are learned. Advance tickets tickets available online at http://columbiachildrenstheatre.com or call (803) 691-4548
“GOD’S GREATEST GIFT, JESUS CHRIST”: Drive-through Nativity, 7-9 p.m. through Sunday 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. Saturday 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
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, 2865 Devine St. http://devinestreetcolumbiasc.com/
CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL WINTER CHORAL CONCERT: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 at Chapin Presbyterian Church, 600 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin. Concert will feature performances from five choirs and joint Christmas caroling from all choirs. Seating will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door – adults, $10; students, $5; household, $30. All proceeds go to help further choral music education at Chapin High School.
“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
LEXINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE: 1-4 p.m. 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: 9 p.m. Dec. 17 on the Trustus Main Stage, 520 Lady St. The Mark Rapp Quartet and special guests will entertain. Tickets are $20. www.trustus.org.
GREATER CAYCE-WEST COLUMBIA HOLIDAY PARADE OF LIGHTS: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 at the corner of Hwy. 1 & 12th Street in West Columbia and proceeds down 12th Street ending in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex. http://www.cwcchamber.com/holiday-parade-of-lights.html
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, purchase your tickets in advance online at https://etickets.riverbanks.org/eTickets/LightsBeforeChristmas/tabid/161/Default.aspx
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
“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Through Dec. 20 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. 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
SWAN LAKE FANTASY OF LIGHTS: Through Dec. 31 at Swan Lake Iris Gardens, 822 W. Liberty St., Sumter. More than a million lights and 150 lighted figures. Hours are dusk until 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, dusk until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Free.
BENNETTS’ COUNTRY CHRISTMAS: Through Dec. 27 at 434 Fairfax Road, Saluda. Numerous individual displays including floats and wood art with more than 50,000 lights. Miniature Christmas village, hot chocolate and treats. Hours are 6-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 6-10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. Santa will visit Dec. 12 and 19, so bring your cameras (Dec. 12 is also free hot dog night). The display will be closed if it rains or there are heavy winds, so call in advance. Church groups and buses welcome. Power donations accepted but not required. (864) 445-0009 or http://facebook.com/countrychristmasbennett
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; ages 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