Holiday Events

Holiday Events

Saluda Shoals Park

The Polar Express 4-D Experience | Nov 5, 2016 through Jan 1, 2017

You’re invited on an extraordinary 4-D adventure this holiday season at the SC State Museum on The Polar Express! When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Show Run Time is 15 minutes. More here.

The Star of Bethlehem | Nov 5, 2016 through Jan 1, 2017

This full dome planetarium experience at the SC State Museum takes viewers back in time to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to investigate fascinating ideas about the “Christmas Star.” The show presents historical and scientific facts to unravel this 2,000-year old mystery through a special audiovisual display featuring popular Christmas carols. Run Time is 25 minutes. More here.

Laser Holidays | Nov 5, 2016 through Jan 1, 2017

Visit the SC State Museum for this exciting and unique way to celebrate the season! A display of colorful and dramatic laser lights is choreographed to a mix of holiday music favorites, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Deck the Halls,” “White Christmas” and more. Show Run Time is 30 minutes. More here.

AllSouth FCU

Historic Holiday House Tours | Nov 18 – Dec 31

During this special time of year, the Historic Columbia invite families, school groups, tourists and the community to visit their historic properties for guided tours. Their house museums are decorated and offer a glimpse into the lives of three different holiday social scenes set in 19th and early 20th century Columbia. Enjoy the greenery and decorative faux food throughout each house while guides provide stories of holidays past. More here.

Heck the Dolls With Chardonnay | Nov 18 – 20, Dec 9 – 11

Heck the Dolls with Chardonnay is the touching story of Sue, a bored and lonely resident of Aged Oaks Retirement Home. When Sue is visited by Emma, her teen-age granddaughter, Sue takes Emma and the audience on a raucous trip down memory lane as she recalls the holidays of her past. The audience quickly discovers that Sue and her old best friend Becky were the Lucy and Ethel of their days. Sue’s flashbacks, which are reenacted on the stage, remind us that the stresses of the holidays usually result in the best and funniest memories of life.  More at the Chapin Theatre Company website.

Blossom Shop

Main Street ICE | Nov 26 through Jan 18, 2017

Head to Boyd Plaza for Main Street ICE! The City of Columbia’s outdoor ice skating rink, located at the corner of Main and Hampton streets, returns for another year of fun for the whole family. Open from Thanksgiving Day until January 1, 2016. The rink will be closed on Christmas Day and will be open until 12 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. Open Monday – Thursday 4pm – 9pm, Friday 4pm – 10pm, Saturday 10am – 10pm, and Sunday 1pm – 9pm. More here.


North Pole Night Downtown | Dec 9, 16, & 23

Visit downtown Newberry on Fridays in December to experience an evening at the North Pole! Starting at 6pm and lasting until 8pm Santa play in Memorial park in their faux snow machines. The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce office will also be open in Community Hall for Storytime with Mrs. Claus. You won’t want to miss this special Newberry holiday event! Contact the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism office at 803-321-1015 for more information or click here.

Lancaster’s Christmas Events | Dec 10

Don’t miss this Annual Christmas parade that will begin at 6pm in the Cultural Arts District in Historic Downtown Lancaster! Lancaster’s Grand Marshal, Buford Varsity Ladies Softball State Champions, will lead the parade beginning on Main Street, at Springs Street, and continuing through historic downtown, then exiting onto Williams Street. Get your seats early and get ready for some holiday fun! More information on Lancaster events here!Lexington County Recreation

A Christmas Carol: The Musical | Dec 2 – 18

Come to Town Theatre to see this PREMIERE performance of the classic holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge is a prosperous curmudgeon who believes personal wealth is far more valuable than the happiness and comfort of others. With an infuriated “Bah! Humbug!” Scrooge summarizes his feelings of Christmas tidings and charitable giving, but he’s forced to face his selfish ways when the ghosts of Christmas reveal his Past, Present and Future. Scrooge recognizes his faults and reconnects with those that mean the most to him. Through the music of Broadway’s Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens, this A Christmas Carol has fantastic new life – just like Scrooge himself! Thursday – Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm. Tickets on sale Nov 25. More here.

Southern Bedding

Christmas Candlelight Tours | Dec 3 & Dec 10

A Southern-style Backcountry Christmas comes to life during Historic Brattonsville’s annual Christmas Candlelight Tours! Through candlelit vignettes, costumed interpreters will recreate Christmas of the backcountry settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Learn of Christmas traditions old and new, relax around the campfire and enjoy musical entertainment. Children will enjoy hands-on activities and visits with Father Christmas. Food, hot drinks and baked goods will be available for purchase. Adults $10; Seniors $8; Youth 4-17 $6; 3 and under and Culture & Heritage Museum members free. Event is from 3-9pm.  Info here.


Train Rides with Santa | Dec 3, 10 and 17

Come join the folks at the South Carolina Railroad Museum in Winnsboro for their annual Train Rides with Jolly Old St. Nick! Santa will be happy to take your children’s Christmas wish lists back to the North Pole with him so bring them along!  Saturdays. More info here.

Frankie's Fun Park

Florence Festival of Lights | Dec 9

The third annual Florence Festival of Lights will be held December 9 and 10, and on December 16, 17, and 18 at 5:30pm at Hoffmeyer Place. This premiere light display and holiday event will be fun for the whole family! After you drive through these stunning holiday lights, stroll through Santa’s Village to spread more holiday cheer with a cup of hot chocolate, a visit with Santa himself,  or a balloon animal from Todd’s Twisted Balloons. More here.

Family Medicine Centers

Christmas at the Barn | Dec 9-10

Held at Harmon’s Tree Farm located at 3152 Augusta Highway in Gilbert from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. Features live Christmas music, a nativity, a bonfire, hot chocolate, s’mores, a photo booth and so much more. Admission is free! For additional information call 803.996.8802 or visit website here.

Columbia Christmas Pageant | Dec 9 – 11

Event will take place December 9 at 7pm, December 10 at 2pm and 5pm, and December 11 at 4pm at First Baptist Columbia. Tickets are free, but you need a ticket to enter. More here.

The Singing Christmas Tree | Dec 9 – 11

Shandon Baptist Church will hold this free event. A cast of 400, including a full orchestra, and a 25-foot tree holding 130 singers and over 50,000 lights make for an incredible holiday experience for all ages! December 9 at 7pm, December 10 at 2:30pm and 5:30pm and December 11 at 2:30pm and 5:30pm. All seating is general admission. Free tickets available online beginning November 1 and on Sunday mornings in the Gathering Place at Shandon Baptist Church beginning November 6.  See their Christmas calendar.

Candlelight Tour of Homes

40th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes | Dec 10

Tour begins at Camden Archives Museum (1314 Broad St.) from 3-8pm

The Camden Junior Welfare League presents the 40th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes on December 10, 2016. Join us in Historic Camden, SC to take a self-paced tour through some of the city’s oldest homes and Historic sites decorated beautifully for the season. This is a Holiday tradition you don’t want to miss! The event will take place rain or shine. The Tour begins at the Camden Archives Museum which is located at 1314 Broad Street. You may purchase tickets at the museum the day of and/or pick up your Tour booklet. Purchase tickets in advance here!

New this year, we’re celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Tour with a kick-off event the night before, on December 9th! This event will be held at the Kershaw-Cornwallis House with amazing food from Aberdeen Catery, live music from the Reggie Sullivan Band, and a silent auction full of items you don’t want to miss! Come celebrate the 40th Anniversary and the League’s mission to improve the lives of children in Kershaw County!

For more information and to purchase tickets for both events, visit: You do not want to miss this exciting weekend! We look forward to sharing our beautiful city with you!

Great Southern Homes

8th Annual Van Wyck Christmas Parade and Candy Toss | Dec 10

This fun family event will start at 12 noon at the intersection of Steele Hill Road and Old Hickory Road in Van Wyck. Santa will arrive at the Community Center Building for photographs after the parade, where you can also enjoy Van Wyck Express train rides and Wilbur’s Last Ride BBQ. Bring your camera for pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Christmas at the Park | Dec 10

The holidays are a great time for everyone to get together and renew friendships and meet new folks too! This event takes place at Blythewood Park at 126 Boney Road. Food, music, arts and crafts, gifts from the tree and Santa pictures! More here.


Newberry Christmas Tour of Homes | Dec 10

The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce invites you to join them for the annual Christmas Tour of Homes from 4-8pm. Tour several beautiful private homes of Newberry, fully decorated for the holidays! The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Newberry will also be on the tour in celebration of the advent season. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chamber at 803-276-4274.

Lancaster Christmas Parade | Dec 10

The City of Lancaster will hold their annual Christmas Parade at 6pm on Main Street, in the Cultural Arts District in Historic
Downtown Lancaster. The Grand Marshal, the Buford Varsity Ladies Softball State Champions, will lead the parade. This year’s theme is “Ugly Christmas Sweater” – you won’t want to miss this holiday tradition!

Homegrown Hospitality

Cayce-West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights | Dec 10

The Greater Cayce-West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights is one of the most anticipated holiday parades in the Midlands! Starts at the corner of 12th & Meeting Street in West Columbia, proceeds down 12th Street and ends at City of Cayce Municipal Complex. This beloved night time parade begins at 5:30pm. Come grab yourself a viewing spot early!


Santapalooza | Dec 10

1403 N. Lake Drive Lexington, SC 29072 | (803) 359-9091

Visit Wingard’s Market for Santapalooza from 11am – 1pm, where the kids can meet Mrs. Claus, ride the Santa Train, enjoy hot apple cider and cookies and pick out a fresh North Carolina Fraser Fir Christmas tree! Don’t forget your camera for beautiful family photo ops throughout the Garden Center that you will treasure for years to come. Free admittance. Overflow parking available at Pilgrim Lutheran Church. More here.

Lancaster 2016 Christmas Parade | Dec 10

Beginning at 6pm on Saturday, December 10th in the Cultural Arts District in Historic Downtown Lancaster, you are in for a treat. Lancaster’s Grand Marshal, Buford Varsity Ladies Softball State Champions, will lead the parade beginning on Main Street, at Springs Street, and continuing through historic downtown, then exiting onto Williams Street. Set up on these streets with your chair for a good view.  More here.

The Offering | Dec 10 – Dec 11

This Modern Christmas Experience presented by Worship East will take place December 10 and 11 in Worship East at Riverland Hills Baptist Church. FREE Tickets are required for this event. Tickets will be available online. More here.

Twin Peaks

Holiday Open House | Dec 10 – Dec 11

Lake Murray Country Visitors Center will hosts this Annual Open House on December 10 from 10am-3pm and December 11 from 12-4pm. The theme for the 2016 Holiday Open House is “Past and Presents.” Come enjoy light refreshments and holiday music as we get the Lorick Plantation into the holiday spirit. More here.

The Nutcracker | Dec 10 – Dec 18

at Koger Center for the Arts {1051 Greene St.}
Columbia City Ballet presents Nutcracker, Columbia’s holiday family tradition, has the distinction of being Koger Center’s first Nutcracker production and longest consecutively running annual arts event. With many snow-filled performances, including four matinees, Nutcracker is designed to accommodate the entire family’s holiday schedule. More here.
SC Agritourism

Christmas in Hopelands | Dec 10 – Dec 26

The 25th Annual Christmas in Hopelands is an enchanting walk-through exhibit in Aiken that features over 2 miles of lighted pathways, with over 100,000 twinkling lights and holiday displays. The Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, Doll House, and Carriage Museum will be open and decorated, refreshments will be served in the Hall of Fame courtyard and outside of the Guest Cottage, you can roast marshmallows, holiday entertainment will be provided by schools, community groups, and church choirs each evening, and on select nights, Santa or Mrs. Claus will be inside The Rye Patch for photos! You must use the shuttle service to the gardens, which runs continuously from 5:45-9pm. For more info call 803-642-7631. Free admission charge. More info here.
City of Aiken

Summerville Christmas Parade | Dec 11

Sponsored by Summerville DREAM, the Annual Christmas Parade starts at 2pm. It is a free, public event that brings the community together to spread Christmas cheer! Community members are encouraged to promote their organization, school or business to help celebrate the holiday. Spread Christmas cheer by dressing in holiday costume, handing out candy, etc. Only participants in the holiday spirit will be allowed to take part in the procession!  More info here.

Blythewood Christmas Parade | Dec 11

This year’s Blythewood Christmas Parade is presented by Blythewood’s Transfiguration Church.  All funds raised will go to the Christian Assistance Bridge in Blythewood, an organization devoted to supporting those in need in the community.  The 21st annual parade will take place December 11 at 3pm. Registration forms for participants, as well as sponsorship forms, may be found on the town’s website. The deadline for parade entries is December 7. More here.

Picket Fence

Christmas Open House | Dec 11

Come experience Christmas traditions of the past as the Lexington County Museum hosts its annual open house from 1-4pm. This event will feature live music, free refreshments, a cooking demonstration, and a blacksmithing demonstration. Many of the museum’s 30 historic structures will be open and will feature period Christmas decorations. More here.

Love Feast: Choir & Orchestra | Dec 11

A Christmas celebration rich in Christian community Shandon United Methodist Church, filled with beautiful music by the Chancel Choir and orchestra, with sharing of bread, coffee and warm fellowship. More here.

Bill's Pickin Parlor

Summerville’s December Third Thursday | Dec 15

In Historic Downtown Summerville from 5pm – 8pm enjoy seeing Summerville all dressed up for the Holidays! Have you ever heard Storyteller Tim Lowry’s A Christmas Carol?  If not, you’re missing a very special holiday delight. Tickets will be on sale soon for this one of a kind walking tour that will be held on December 15th. More here.

A Night Out at Trenholm | Dec 16

Catch the holiday spirit and enjoy a festive night out at Trenholm Plaza from 5pm – 7pm. Enjoy hot chocolate, coffee, treats, discounts + promotions, plus carriage rides, carolers & more. Rosso Trattoria will be out front, so be sure to sample some of their delicious house-made tiramisu, plus they will have an amazing assortment of wines to purchase at great prices. It’s sure to be a wonderful night!

Ethan Allen

Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides | Dec 16 historic-columbia-carraige-ride

Take a tour of the decorated, candlelit halls of Historic Columbia’s historic houses – the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion. Before or after your house tour, enjoy a carriage ride through the Robert Mills historic district. Carriage rides run from 5:30pm until 8:30pm and the house tours start at 6:00pm! *Carriage Rides are considered an ‘add-on’ to the Candlelight Tours, so guests need to purchase the Candlelight Tour in order to book a Carriage Ride. Purchase Candlelight Tour ticket(s) here!! More here.

Grill Marks

Santa’s Christmas Party | Dec 17

During this performance by the Columbia Marionette Theatre, Santa’s head elf decides to throw Santa a rockin’ holiday surprise party in celebration of the season, but Santa is on vacation and is nowhere to be found! Will he make it back in time to enjoy his own festivities? With dancing snowmen, figure skating, and Jack Frost’s own puppet show-within-a-puppet-show, this fun-filled performance will put audiences of all ages in the holiday spirit! At the Columbia Marionette Theatre at 11am.  More here.

Candy Cane Hunt | Dec 17

Held at Crooked Creek Park from 3:30pm – 4:3pm for ages 2 – 8. Cost is $2 per child. Join us on the CCP Disc Golf Trail for a one-of-a-kind candy cane adventure! Santa and his elves will be hiding candy canes along the trail at Crooked Creek Park. Children should bring a basket or bag for their candy canes. There will also be prize candy canes hidden along the trail. Donate a new unwrapped toy and you’ll get to decorate a festive cupcake! More here.

2nd Annual Night Before Christmas | Dec 17

Ynotu2, a nonprofit that provides job and life skill development for disadvantaged job seekers, early childhood intervention and community outreach is organizing this holiday event. To be held at EdVenture Children’s Museum from 6 – 9pm for undeserved youth in the Columbia area. This event is NOT open to the public, as registration of your children is required, as they need to calculate the number of toys and food needed. Register here! Enjoy a seasonal atmosphere, vendors who will provide you with resources on programs, story time (celebrity guests will read a portion of the classic book “Twas the night before Christmas”, toy giveaway (while supplies last), educational challenge sessions, and Santa’s Workshop (Arts and Crafts for Kids) presented by Richland County Library. More here.

SC Farmers Market

“Love is Born” | Dec 17 & Dec 18

This Living Nativity narrated drama (no speaking parts) will be held at Living Springs Lutheran Church (4224 Hard Scrabble Rd.) on Saturday and Sunday, December 17 & 18, at 7:00pm. It’s free and for the entire family! Pause from a hectic holiday pace to witness a 30-minute Living Enactment Of God’s Gift Of Love For You…the Birth Of Jesus! Bring A Lawn Chair…hot drinks provided! More here.

Holiday Memorial Service | Dec 18

This Christmas event will take place at Riverland Hills Baptist Church at 5:00 p.m. in the Worship Center. More here.

Wreaths Across America | Dec 17

Fort Jackson, along with many others across the United States, will be honoring the lives of those who served our country at over 1,100 locations. Two locations in the Columbia area will be participating in the national event, both the Fort Jackson National Cemetery and the Tree Site at Strom Thurmond Building for Survivor Outreach Services. More here.

Sing Along Messiah

Sing-Along Messiah | Dec 19

Visit Washington Street United Methodist Church at 7pm on Monday, December 19th for a joyous night of worship, instrumental music, and singing. Messiah, by G.F. Handel, is perhaps the best known and most popular oratorio ever written. Sing-Along Messiah was founded in 2002, on the principle that everyone in the metropolitan Columbia area, and anyone willing to travel to Columbia, should have the opportunity to sing some part of Messiah at least once a year. No Christmas season is ever truly complete without it, as the event is compromised of a 20-member professional orchestra, a core choir to lead the singing of the choruses and a professional conductor. One component that makes Sing-Along Messiah unique and gives it its identity is that the 600+ people who attend the event are invited to join in the singing! It is the only annual sing-along presentation of Messiah in South Carolina and is presented to the public without an admission charge, so don’t miss it! More here.

Christmas Party at The Woody | Dec 23

Eat, drink and be merry at the Naughty or Nice Christmas Party at The Woody in the Vista! Dress in your seasonal best, put on your dancing shoes and come let loose before settling down with your family and in-laws this Christmas.

Christmas Eve Service with Lord’s Supper | Dec 24

Service will take place at First Baptist Irmo from 4:30 – 5:30pm in the Church Sanctuary. 

Children’s Christmas Eve Service | Dec 24

Service will take place at 5 pm in the Worship Center at Riverland Hills Baptist Church. Come celebrate Christmas with your entire family as the Sixth Grade Crossover Ministry presents “The Christmas Story.” You will want to make this a family tradition as you help your children understand the real meaning of Christmas. Service is appropriate for children of all ages. More here.

Summerville Dream

Christmas Eve | Dec 24

Join your friends at Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine Street, for worship services that will truly bring your spirit aligned with the Reason for the Season!


2:00 p.m., Sanctuary


5:00 p.m., Sanctuary


7:00 p.m., Dunn-Smith Ministry Center


9:00 p.m., Sanctuary. Inspiring services filled with beautiful greenery, wonderful music, glowing candlelight and warm fellowship.

WOW! New Year’s Eve Carnival | Dec 31

Bring the kiddies to this family-friendly event with games, entertainment, food vendors and more.  Held from 6pm – 10pm at Main and Hampton Sts. in downtown Columbia.

Laurel Crest

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party | Dec 31

Make your way to The Woody in the Vista’s New Year’s Eve Fest! Featuring a champagne toast at midnight and party favors, including a mask, and The Woody Ball Drop with cash at midnight! Call 803.309.1283 or 803.309.2941 to get your tickets.

Essex Homes

New Year’s Evening with the Newberry Opera House| Dec 31

Starting at 8pm, celebrate the going of the old and the coming of the new with food, dancing and fireworks! Newberry natives Reggie Deas and Deas Guyz return to play your favorite rhythm and beach hits of yesterday and today. Get a taste of Newberry in one night with food from local restaurants. Food and beverage are included. More here.

New Year’s Eve Dance Party at the Pickin’ Parlor | Dec 31

Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor located at 710 Meeting Street in West Columbia is the perfect place to ring in the New Year! Doors open at 7pm, catered dinner will be served.  Bob Strickland & Freestyle (with guest performers) will begin playing at 8pm, and the dance party will begin! $25 per person.  Website here. Call them at 803.796.6477 with any questions.

Twisted Spur Brewing

New Year’s Eve at Noon | Dec 31

EdVenture Children’s Museum’s doors open at 9am with activities celebrating New Year’s Eve around the world! As the countdown to noon begins, a giant illuminated ball descends and lands at the foot of EDDIE, kicking off the biggest mid-day celebration in town! Join them for a juicebox toast at noon. Free with membership or regular admission. Event lasts until 1pm. Website here.

Famously Hot New Year | Dec 31

Ring in 2017 on Main Street at South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve party! Join thousands of people in downtown Columbia for this free party and enjoy live entertainment until after midnight, free parking in downtown city garages, artists, clowns, jugglers and other buskers, free WiFi, food court and “Comfort Zone,” featuring food trucks and vendors, beer, wine and champagne and seating, special COMET services and park-and-ride locations, Budweiser alert cab, midnight countdown, the largest NYE fireworks display in the two Carolinas and much more! Kids will love the City of Columbia’s NYE Carnival for kids with rides, games and face painters, and the Main Street Ice Skating Rink on Boyd Plaza, in front of the Columbia Museum of Art. More info here.

Beef Jerky Outlet

Christmas Lights

holidaylightsbanner copy

Saluda Shoals

Holiday Festival of Lights | Nov 11 – Jan 1

Each year, thousands of families create lasting memories at the Holiday Festival of Lights, where millions of multicolored lights illuminate the sky throughout 52 enchanting nights. Journey through three miles of over 700 magical light displays of all shapes and sizes. Park your car and enjoy family activities, shopping, food, entertainment, and so much more! More here.

Main Street Lights | Nov 18 – Dec 31

Newberry claims to have more lights than any other downtown in South Carolina! Take a drive through downtown any evening this holiday season and be dazzled by the amazing light displays, especially around the old courthouse.  And on the Friday before Thanksgiving, November 18th, 2016, begining at 6:00 pm, the downtown area will be transformed into a mini-festival. Local vendors will be selling and giving away a variety of goods, from fresh wreaths and garlands, to free hot chocolate and popcorn. We’ll have new additions to our Downtown décor including a new ornament “sculpture” in Astwood Park as well as old favorites like our faux snow machines in Memorial Park. The Official Tree Lighting Ceremony of Main St. Lights begins at 6:30 pm, accompanied by local choruses and a special guest from WISTV News. Help us light our Community Christmas Tree, located in front of Community Hall, through festive song and fellowship. More here.

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks | Nov 19 – Dec 30

From 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The zoo will sparkle with nearly 1 million lights, countless animated images, visits with Santa (on-site beginning at 6pm each night through Dec 23), holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire & more! Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for children ages 2 to 12 and went on sale November 1st, so get yours now. Visit for  More Info . *Closed Nov. 24, Dec. 24, and Dec. 25th.

Holiday Lights on the River | Nov 23 – Dec 31

Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park is the largest drive-through lights show in the Midlands. This dazzling light show will be open from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM and will feature over 400 animated displays.  Look for our Merry Christmas Columbia light display this year!

Holiday Lights Activities Every Night! (except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas)
Fun-filled family activities offered at Holiday Lights on the River include:

  • Hayride shuttle to the Wetland Walking trail
  • Saluda Shoals train
  • A laser light show along the wetland trail
  • Tube slide
  • New! Ice skating rink
  • Crafts
  • Santa’s Claus’et Gift Shop
  • Roast marshmallows

Enjoy the  walking trail along the boardwalk (purchase hot chocolate, hot cider, or other concessions for your stroll) that hosts a laser light show, and of course don’t miss the opportunity to get a photo with Santa (fees apply) from December 9 – 23. Holiday Lights on the River

NEW ENTRANCE for 2016!  
There’s a brand new Holiday Lights entrance off St. Andrews Road! All Holiday Lights traffic will enter Saluda Shoals Park at the east entrance located between Wendy’s and Aldi Foods at 6071 St. Andrews Road and exit onto Bush River Road. Holiday Lights visitors will enjoy an all new route this year.  There will be no Holiday Light entrance on Bush River Road.  

Holiday lights admission is $15 for cars, $25 for 15 passenger vans, and $40 for buses. For more information, More Info or call (803) 772-3903.

Roper Mountain Holiday Lights | Nov 24 – Dec 30

Roper Mountain Holiday Lights is the only not-for-profit holiday lights event in the Upstate, and 2016 marks the 25th year of this great event! Open Thanksgiving night through December 30, enjoy strolling through WinterWonderland, with its lighted walking trails, Santa Claus, balloon artist, concessions, giant holiday greeting cards created by local area students, see team mascots and performances by school groups, and drive through displays like Candy Cane Lane, Santa’s Sleigh and the Caterpillar. More here.

50th Annual Governor’s Carolighting | Dec 1

The Governor’s Carolighting will be held from 7-9pm and will feature a variety of musical groups prior to the lighting of the SC State Christmas tree, including Fort Jackson’s own 282nd Army Band. This year’s Carolighting event will correspond with First Thursday on Main, creating an entire evening of holiday activities in the capital city! More here.

Fantasy of Lights

Fantasy of Lights in Sumter | Dec 1 – Dec 31

Part of Sumter’s annual Poinsettia Festival, this is one of South Carolina’s largest Christmas light displays! The Fantasy of Lights takes place at beautiful Swan Lake Iris Gardens, one of the finest botanical gardens in the United States. Over 1 million lights and 150 twinkling figures light up the 150 acres of gardens! The gardens will be open from dusk until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from dusk until 9pm Sunday – Thursday throughout the entire month of December. You will be amazed as the sun goes down and the gardens come alive with breathtaking light displays symbolizing the holiday season, as well as seeing some of your favorite cartoon characters: Blues Clues, Barney, Bob the Builder, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, and more. The Pilot Club’s floating Christmas tree is an annual favorite, along with Santa, angels, and characters of song and story. Santa’s Village will be at the Heath Pavilion on Friday and Saturday nights (through December 10) with entertainment and refreshments. Kids can bring letters to Santa, and the Santa Express will send them straight to the North Pole! Opening ceremony on Dec 1 at 6pm. Drive-thru the Gardens; park and walk areas available. Admission is free. For more information visit website or call 803-436-2640.

Night of a Thousand Candles | Dec 1-3, 8-10, 15-18

See Brookgreen Gardens come to life amid the soft glow of more than 5,500 hand-lit candles and countless sparkling lights from 3 – 10 p.m. Walk the paths with a warm cup of cider, hear the sounds of hand bells ringing, carolers singing, and celebrate the season with family and friends.The 80-foot-tall fir tree decorated with 70,000 lights will be lighted in ceremonial fashion at 5:45 p.m. every night. More Info.


Florence Festival of Lights | Dec 9-10, 16-18

Beginning at 5:30pm at Hoffmeyer Place. Join us for the third annual Florence Festival of Lights to be held on December 9th and 10th and December 16th, 17th, and 18th.  This premiere light display and holiday event will be fun for the whole family.  After you drive through these stunning holiday lights, stroll through Santa’s Village to spread more holiday cheer with a cup of hot chocolate, a visit with Santa himself,  or a balloon animal from Todd’s Twisted Balloons. More Info.
SC Farmers Market

Christmas In Hopelands | Dec 10, 11, 15-23, 26

The 25th Annual Christmas in Hopelands is an enchanting walk-through exhibit that features over 2 miles of lighted pathways and holiday displays. There is no admission charge. Over 100,000 twinkling lights are a must-see during the Christmas season. Santa or Mrs. Claus will be inside the Rye Patch for photos. Be sure to purchase your s’mores kit for $5.00 at Citizens Park before you hop on the shuttle. Once you get to the gardens, head to the Rye Patch to roast your marshmallows. Parents must accompany children at all times. Shuttle departs from Citizens Park: 1060 Banks Mill Rd  More Info.

Harborside Lights | Dec 12

See the Village Green and Town Center glow with thousands of twinkling lights and luminaries. Lake Carolina’s Harborside Lights celebration brings holiday tradition and family fun together. Enjoy musical entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, photos with Santa, holiday treats, millions of twinkling lights, over sixteen hundred luminaries and dozens of decorated trees at this annual holiday celebration! If you can’t make it for Harborside Lights, the community is lovely and decorated beautifully throughout the season. More Info.


Elgin LightsElgin Lights | Dec 15 – 24

From 6-9PM. Truly a labor of love by the Towns family of Elgin. See hundreds of antique tractors including a 1909 working steam engine, miniature trains and memorabilia and forty thousand lights. Families are invited to get out of their cars and walk around and/or take a hayride through the woods. Working blacksmith. Take pictures on 1939 John Deere tractor and Christmas-themed photo props. Four buildings – known as the “Elgin Smithsonian”! Free admission; donations appreciated with all proceeds given to Camp Kemo. The farm is located at 2433 Charlie House Circle in Elgin, SC. (803) 408-0131. Website Info.

Holiday Workshops

Holiday Workshops

Seasonal Craft | Nov 1, 15, 22, 29 – Dec 6, 13, 20

On the above dates at Crooked Creek Park from 4-5pm. Create different seasonal crafts (ornaments, plate for Santa, scarecrow/snowman, snowman). Craft supplies and snack are provided. Ages 3-9. $5. Call 345-6181 to reserve; seats fill up fast. View the Activity Guide here.

Make It Merry Ornament Event | Nov 12

Make a Christmas ornament for your tree at Michael’s on November 12th from 1pm – 3pm. Enjoy some hands-on family crafting! Grownups and kids will work together to design and create colorful thumbprint ornaments. Buy the ornament and the rest of the supplies are free. Website here.

Frankie's Fun Park

michaels-wreath-classMake It Merry Wreath Event | Nov 19

On Saturday, November 19 from 1 pm – 3pm. Create a traditional wreath featuring a cheerful red Cardinal or a winter-white wreath with pristine Poinsettias. Buy the wreath base, and the rest of the supplies are free. More Info.

Ethan Allen

Advent Workshop | Nov 20

Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church will hold this workshop from 3 – 5pm, which will feature crafts for all ages in preparation for the Advent Season! For more information call 803-772-0794 or visit website.

Free Cookie Decorating Class | Nov 29

Come to Michael’s and create classic holiday treats with gingerbread shapes and icing. Supplies not included. Class time is 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Cost of supplies up to $5. More Info.

Blossom Shop

Kid’s Club- Sprout Stocking| Dec 3

michaels-sprout-classCome to Michael’s and your kids can craft while you shop! Kids 3 and up can enjoy a quick project and take home a finished masterpiece. Sign up in store or online, or just drop in. $2 per project, supplies included. From 10 am – 12 pm. Parent or guardian must remain on premises during the event. More Info.

Build and Grow: Christmas Ornaments | Dec 3

Bring your children to Lowe’s at 10am to make a beautiful ornament for your Christmas tree! Registration opens November 21st. Free. Website here.

Mann Tool Holiday Open
House and Learn-to-Turn Event
| Dec 10lowes-build-grow

Come in from 9am-1pm and turn your own ornament with the guidance of a Palmetto Woodturner. The fee is only $5 and all proceeds go to Epworth Children’s Home. While you’re here, see the selection of amazing hand-crafted ornaments donated by members of the Palmetto Woodturners. All proceeds from ornament sales also benefit Epworth. It’s a fun event for a great cause!

Essex Homes

Nature’s Ornaments | Dec 15

Enjoy this workshop designed for ages 2-5 at Riverbanks Zoo from 10 – 10:45am. Use natural materials to make holiday decorations that you can share with your family and friends! This session is focused mainly on fun and creativity and sharing with others for the holidays. More information here.

Christmas Centerpiece Design Class | Dec 19

The Floral Design School of Columbia will hold this class, where you will make a fresh, beautiful and long-lasting centerpiece for your holiday table! The casual and fun class welcomes you to bring your own beverages to drink as you design. Class will be held from 6-8pm at 302 Senate Street in Columbia. Registration fee is $45 and includes all materials and instruction, so sign up now as there is a limited number of participants. Call (803) 730-5096 or check their Facebook page.

AllSouth FCU

Winter Break ART Camp | Dec 27 – 30

Want to get your child out of the house and have them enjoy art at the same time?  Bring them to a 4-day Winter Break Art one-cola-artCamp. This camp is designed to allow your child to experience pottery as well as mixed media art. From 9am – 12pm they will be very busy creating art. Camp is Tuesday-Friday December 27-30 and will be held at the Columbia Art Center, 1928 Calhoun Street.  The age limit for this camp is ages 5 – 9.  Minimum of 4 and maximum of 10 allowed in camp.  Registration fee of $65 is due by December 9. Students should bring a snack for mid morning break. Questions contact Brenda Oliver at or 545-3093. More Info.

Richland County Adult Activity Center

These classes offer a fun new craft that anyone can do. You can make a special holiday gift or just learn a new hobby:

Crocheting: Thursdays from 10am – 12pm. Free. Have you ever wanted to learn how to crochet? Their instructor will help you learn.

Basket Weaving: Tuesdays from 10am – 12pm. $10/month. Would you like to learn the art of basket weaving to create beautiful works of art using pine straw and other natural materials? This class is for you! More Info.

New Start Homes

Delicious Dishes!

deliciousdishes copy

Brie Tartlets With Grape Relish

Brie Tartlets With Grape Relish Ralph Anderson; Mindi Shapiro Levine

Brie Tartlets With Grape Relish
Ralph Anderson; Mindi Shapiro Levine

Add a touch of France to your holiday hors d’oeuvre, by using Brie as the filling in these tartlets. Grapes make an elegant topper, adding color to this simple recipe. We say oui oui!

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 (15-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
1/2 (8-oz.) Brie round, rind removed
3/4 cup seedless red grapes, chopped
1 green onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs


1. Place walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
2. Unroll piecrust on a flat surface. Cut into 24 rounds using a 2-inch round cutter. Press rounds into bottoms of ungreased miniature muffin cups (dough will come slightly up sides, forming a cup). Prick bottom of dough with a fork.
3. Bake at 425° for 6 to 7 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans, and cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.
4. Meanwhile, cut Brie round into 24 pieces. Stir together grapes and next 4 ingredients.
5. Arrange pastry shells on a baking sheet. Place 1 Brie piece in each pastry cup; sprinkle Brie pieces evenly with toasted walnuts.
6. Bake at 300° for 4 to 6 minutes or just until cheese begins to melt. Top tarts evenly with grape mixture. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

Sheri Castle, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Southern Living  NOVEMBER 2007

Laurel Crest 

Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear

Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear Ralph Anderson; Mindi Shapiro Levine

Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear
Ralph Anderson; Mindi Shapiro Levine

Baked pancetta on top of Bartlett pear slices, crumbled goat cheese, and a drizzle of honey makes an easy, salty-sweet appetizer recipe that tastes delicious and looks gorgeous!

12 thin slices pancetta (about 1/3 lb.)
1 Bartlett pear
1/2 (4-oz.) package goat cheese, crumbled
Freshly cracked pepper
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

1. Arrange pancetta slices in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
2. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack using a spatula. Let stand 10 minutes or until crisp.
3. Core pear with an apple corer. Cut pear crosswise into 12 thin rings. Arrange on a serving platter. Top evenly with pancetta and goat cheese; sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle with honey just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Sheri Castle, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Southern Living  NOVEMBER 2007

Grill Marks

Caramelized Onion-and-Apple Tassies

Courtesy: Southern Living

Courtesy: Southern Living

Be sure to press the cream cheese pastry dough all the way up the sides of the mini muffin cups so the tart shells will be deep enough to hold a generous amount of filling.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Asiago cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups diced sweet onion
1 3/4 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples (about 2 large)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon table salt
4 bacon slices, cooked and finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves


1. Beat first 2 ingredients and 1/2 cup Asiago cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed until blended. Shape mixture into 24 balls; place on a baking sheet. Cover and chill 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; add onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Add apple and next 4 ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat, and cool completely.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Place dough balls into cups of a lightly greased 24-cup miniature muffin pan; press dough into muffin cups, forming a shell. Sprinkle bacon into shells; top with apple mixture, mounding mixture slightly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Asiago cheese.
4. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack, and sprinkle with thyme.

Southern Living,  SEPTEMBER 2013

Twisted Spur Brewing

Herb-and-Potato Chip-Crusted Beef Tenderloin topped with Cherry Chutney!

Herb-and-Potato Chip-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Amy Burke

Herb-and-Potato Chip-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Amy Burke

Add a little crunch to a juicy beef tenderloin with a flavorful coating of panko breadcrumbs, kettle-cooked potato chips, and fresh herbs. Top each serving with a bit of Cherry Chutney and blue cheese crumbles.

1 (4- to 5-lb.) beef tenderloin, trimmed
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 cups crushed, plain kettle-cooked potato chips
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Garnish: fresh sage


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Sprinkle tenderloin with 2 tsp. salt. Let stand 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sauté panko, garlic, 1 tsp. pepper, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a skillet over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Let cool completely (about 10 minutes). Stir in potato chips and next 4 ingredients.
3. Pat tenderloin dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. pepper. Brown beef in remaining 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Transfer tenderloin to a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Let stand 10 minutes.
4. Spread mustard over tenderloin. Press panko mixture onto top and sides.
5. Bake at 400° for 40 to 45 minutes or until coating is crisp and a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 130° (rare). Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish, if desired.
Note: For medium-rare, cook tenderloin to 135°; for medium, cook to 150°.

Cherry Chutney 

Chunky Cherry Chutney is a slightly sweet condiment used to enhance your favorite dishes. Made with red bell pepper, green onions, and dried cherries, try this over beef tenderloin or pork.

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in bell pepper and green onions; cook, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes or until browned and tender. Stir in cherries, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, 2 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Southern Living, DECEMBER 2011

Little Pigs BBQ

Onion Pudding

Courtesy: Better Homes and Gardens

Courtesy: Better Homes and Gardens

Onions, cheese, garlic, and olive oil combine in this delicious holiday side-dish recipe.

2 medium onions, cut into 8 wedges each, root end attached
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
clove garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large skillet cook onions in hot oil 5 minutes over low heat; season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and garlic; cook 8 minutes more or until onions are tender. Remove from heat; set aside.

Grease 10 to 12 (5- to 7-ounce) baking dishes with the remaining butter. In bowl, combine eggs and milk; whisk in flour. Add cheese and the snipped sage; combine. Spoon onion in dishes; pour egg mixture over. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove; let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with fresh sage leaves. Serves 10 to 12.

Better Homes & Gardens

SC Agritourism

Unique Holiday Desserts!

Blackberry-Apple Pie

This apple-and-berry-packed pie is extra-tasty because of the white-Cheddar cheese crust that provides a sigh-worthy companion for the sweet fruit filling.

Blackberry-Apple Pie Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

Blackberry-Apple Pie
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded white Cheddar cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Blackberry-Apple Pie Filling
1 tablespoon sparkling sugar


Stir together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup ice water over flour mixture, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened and dough is crumbly but forms a ball when pressed together, adding more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary (up to 1/4 cup). Divide dough in half. Place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape each dough half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 2 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400°. Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around rolling pin. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Press dough into pie plate; trim off excess crust along edges. Brush edges of crust lightly with egg; reserve remaining egg. Spoon Blackberry-Apple Pie Filling into crust, mounding filling slightly in center.
Roll remaining dough disk to about 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 9 (1-inch-wide) strips. Arrange strips in a lattice design over filling; gently press ends of strips into bottom crust; crimp edge of crust. Brush lattice with reserved egg; sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400° on lower oven rack 45 to 50 minutes. Cover loosely with foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly. Cool on a wire rack 2 hours.

Try This Twist! Cranberry-Apple Pie: Substitute Cranberry-Apple Pie Filling for Blackberry-Apple Pie Filling. Prepare as directed.

Blackberry-Apple Pie Filling

Make ahead: Prepare through Step 2. Chill up to 1 week. Stir in berries before spooning into crust.


3 pounds Granny Smith apples
3 pounds Braeburn apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1 (12-oz.) package frozen blackberries (2 cups)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Peel apples, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges; toss with sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apple mixture, and saute 15 to 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Toss frozen blackberries with 1 Tbsp. flour, and stir into apple mixture. Use immediately.

Try This Twist! Cranberry-Apple Pie Filling: Omit blackberries and 1 Tbsp. flour. Reduce remaining flour from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup. Stir in 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries just before removing apples from heat in Step 2.