20 Family-Friendly Fall Events Around Columbia

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The temperature is starting to drop, which means fall is in the air and more outdoor activities for families to enjoy! Here is a list of fun, family fall activities in and around Columbia.

Festivals and Fairs

Chapin Labor Day Festival 8/31- 9/02 – The annual Labor Day festival kicks off with the Justin Pepper 5K Walk, Run, Ruck on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Enjoy a night concert that evening on Beaufort Street benefiting We Care at 7 p.m. featuring Tokyo Joe. On Sunday evening, Noel Lindler and the Bank Walkers concert starts at 7 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs, but no coolers are allowed. The Labor Day Parade begins at 9:30 am on Monday morning with the Classic Car Show in the Mt. Horeb parking lot. There will be over 130 vendors with a children’s play area and bounce houses. The Chapin Library Book Sale will be at the Town hall immediately following the parade and ends at 2 p.m. and the AMROC Model Train Exhibit is held in the American Legion Post 193 Building.

Midlands Food Truck Festival – 9/15 – Bring the family out to enjoy a variety of food options, meet amazing local businesses, shop in the marketplace, and have fun with free entertainment including bounce houses, photo booth, face painting, balloon animals, laser tag, stage shows, and more!

Midlands Children’s Business Fair9/15 – Join us for the Midlands Children’s Business Fair! Filled with 20 young entrepreneurs ages 6-16 showcasing their very own businesses. Come out and see their unique crafts and products. This event will be held alongside the Midlands Family Food Truck Festival!

Columbia’s Greek Festival 9/19-9/22 – Take the chance to learn more about Greek culture, do some shopping, and try out the amazing food offered at a long-time Columbia favorite! Definitely try a Baklava Ice Cream Sundae!

Irmo Okra Strut 9/27-9/28 – This free festival has been a favorite and is celebrating it’s 46th year. The festival is open to the public and starts on Friday evening with music. On Saturday morning, enjoy the parade starting at 9 a.m. The festival will have performers all day with Edwin McCain as the headlining performance for Saturday Night at the Okra Strut! 

Rosewood Art and Music Festival 10/5 – The Rosewood Art & Music Festival is a non-profit, one-day, free admittance, outdoor festival where thousands of visitors descend into the Rosewood Neighborhood to enjoy multiple stages of live entertainment, visual arts, poets, music, and more to celebrate southern arts and culture. The festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Blythewood Oktoberfest10/5 – Come out to Doko Meadows Park starting at 1 p.m. for Blythewood Oktoberfest. Admission is free. Enjoy Southern Rock and German Bands till 10 p.m., German cuisine and other food vendors, Biergarten, Almabtrieb Cow Parade, Cow Patty Bingo, Contests and fun for the family. There will be children’s games as well.Dress in your best lederhosen and dirndls and stay for the music. This event is held by the Greater Blythewood Chamber of Commerce.

South Carolina State Fair 10/9-10/20 – The always popular SC State Fair is a blast for the entire family! Make sure not to miss this one. Did you know that The South Carolina State Fair is a local, self-sustaining, non-profit organization. Since 1997, the fair has donated over $3 million in scholarships for SC students.

Boo at the Zoo10/18-10/30 – Dress up the kids (and yourself) and enjoy trick-or-treating and dancing for the kids, a marshmallow roast, foam zone, and dance party at Riverbanks Zoo. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets available on the zoo’s website and are $11 for Riverbanks members and $13 for general public. Children younger than 2 are free. This also includes admission to Dinosaurs Around the World.

Korean Festival 10/26 – The Korean Community Presbyterian Church hosts this annual festival that started in 2005 with all proceeds being donated to local charities. Held outside the church on Richland Street, the purpose of the Korean Festival is to share, promote and raise the awareness of the beauty and diversity of Korean culture. The Festival features dance and music performances, from centuries past to modern K-Pop. There are also wonderful cultural exhibits and children’s games and of course, incredible Korean cuisine. Korean favorites like kimchi, kimbap, and bulgogi are available as well as Korean ice cream and desserts! Come learn about the Korean community in Columbia and about Korean culture. All of the proceeds from the festival are donated to local charities!Festival attendees can also purchase tickets to enjoy various Korean foods served at festival tents.

Bubbie’s Jewish Food Festival11/10 –Enjoy traditional Jewish foods and baked goods from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at this annual food extravaganza.

SC Oyster Festival – 11/16 –The 23rd SC Oyster Festival takes place from 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m at the Robert Mills House and the Hampton Preston Mansion. Get your tickets to enjoy fresh oysters, food vendors, drinks, live entertainment and arts, along with crafts and other vendors. Children under 16 are admitted FREE. There are kid friendly amusements and games for the kids to enjoy (nominal fees apply) making this a great day for the entire family!

Learn and Explore

SC State Museum Second Shift Twosdays – Enjoy the exhibits of the SC State Museum after hours every Tuesday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and stay to stargaze at the observatory from open until 10 p.m. Admission is 2 for $10!

Play on the Plaza – Come out and play on Boyd Plaza with the Columbia Museum of Art every Saturday to build and create with our big blue blocks. It is perfect for guests of all ages and abilities and free to the public.

Outdoor Shopping

Soda City Market – Every Saturday, rain or shine. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Grab some coffee on Main Street in downtown Columbia while you shop for art, crafts, or fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Enjoy food from multiple local vendors and food trucks. There is always great music and some fun for the kids. 

Blythewood Farmers Market – Every Wednesday 4:00-7:00 p.m., May – October – The Blythewood Farmers market features SC Certified vendors selling fresh vegetables, baked goods, organic grits, local honey, jams and jellies, Blythewood-raised meats, fresh eggs, fresh-caught seafood, and artisan crafts! There is also plenty of entertainment including live music, kids activities, and each night a different food truck. The market is located at 171 Langford Road (next to Town Hall).

Get Out and Move

Ray Tanner Home Run10/5 – The Ray Tanner Home Run, established in 2006, is a unique event presented by Strictly Running. The Home Run features a 12K Run, a 5K Run/Walk, a 1-Mile Run and a Kids’ Fun Run. The 12K event is certified by USA Track & Field and presented in conjunction with the Columbia Running Club. 

Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon 5K +10K10/12 – This event takes place at Segra Park. Proceeds from the 2018 event raised more than $683,000, including in-kind donations, which stay right here in the community and benefit Prisma Health Breast Center. In 1991, the first-ever “First Ladies’ Walk for Life,” was held Saturday, Oct. 12, with 200 walkers.

Family Connection Columbia Buddy Walk10/20 –Family Connection of South Carolina will host its 20th Annual Columbia Buddy Walk during National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. This event is held at Saluda Shoals Park from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Columbia Buddy Walk helps fund programs through Family Connection. This is a day to celebrate the abilities of those with Down syndrome, promoting acceptance and inclusion. As more people are introduced to and interact with individuals with Down syndrome, barriers fall, prejudices diminish and doors open. The event is FREE and includes bounce houses, food, games, music and lots of fun!

YMCA Pumpkin Run 5K10/19 – This run is held at the NorthWest Columbia YMCA in Irmo. Starting at 7:45 a.m., the Pumpkin run features both a 5K Run/Walk and 1 miler. Proceeds benefit the Y’s Annual Campaign. The campaign provides financial assistance to those in our community who need the Y’s life-changing programs and services. The Y’s community support addresses many issues such as school readiness, chronic diseases and youth feeding programs. Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume for a chance to win prizes! Awards will be given to the best male and female costumes. You must be registered in the race to participate.

What events do you have planned for your family for fall? Comment and add to the list!

 

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Mee Jean Sasine
Mee Jean is a mom of three who is married to her high school sweetheart. They met at the high school they both attended in their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia and married in July 2004. Mee Jean holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia while her husband, Greg, graduated from The University of South Carolina (House Divided!). Together, they have three children: Alyssa (8), Jacob (7) and Isaac (1). Mee Jean moved to Columbia in 2002. Once wondering how she could live in a small town, she now embraces it and loves her home in Blythewood. She is a marketing analyst at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and loves being involved in the community and making Columbia the best place for her kids to grow up in. As a current classmate in the Leadership Columbia Class of 2017, she has learned so much about Columbia. Mee Jean loves going to local events with her family like the Soda City Farmers Market, Crawfish Festival and Vista Lights to name a few. She also enjoys supporting local businesses around the city. Mee Jean loves hanging out with her girlfriends (for dinner or brunch or bunco), reading, watching Georgia football, running races (whether it be 5ks or Spartans), taking pictures and making memories (lots of selfies and hashtags), shopping, relaxing with some wine by the pool and sleeping. 

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