Ultimate Guide to Holiday Events Around Columbia

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While the weather outside is still trying to figure itself out, the holiday season in the Midlands is warming up. From holiday parades to tree lightings, craft fairs, magic shows, and more – expect to find many opportunities to make holiday memories.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the festive fun coming up in the weeks to come.

The Christmas Classic

Dates: November 12-14, 2021

Time: 10 a.m.-8 p.m (Fri), 10- 6 p.m. (Sat), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun)

Location: SC State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Dr, Columbia, SC 29201

Cost: Adult online tickets are $6 (+fees and taxes) before Nov 12; $7 (+fees and taxes)after. Adult tickets are $8 at the door; Children ages 6-12 tickets are $1; children under 6 are free. Enjoy all three days with a free Return Pass.

Details: The Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Art & Craft Festival returns to the SC State Fairgrounds! Enjoy aisles full of handcrafted treasures – pottery, jewelry, fine art, home decor, glasswork, furniture, clothing, specialty foods, and so much more! Hundreds of talented artisans, with unique finds for every style, taste,and budget. Treat yourself to something special, and come celebrate the season with us!

Christmas Craft Show and Holiday Market

Dates: November 13-14, 2021

Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m (Sat), Noon-4 p.m. (Sun)

Location: South Carolina State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Hwy West Columbia, SC 29172

Cost: Free admission and free parking

Details: Over 150 Vendors and Crafters are gathering for one of the Midlands’ largest craft shows! 

Christmas Lights in the Vista

Dates: November 18, 2021

Location: Vista Community, Downtown Columbia

Details: Join us for the 36th Annual Vista Lights! This is the neighborhood’s signature open house which has ushered in the holidays in Columbia for more than 30 years.

More than 60 galleries, shops, and restaurants will safely open their doors to showcase their holiday treasures and delicious dishes. Make your plans and reservations now! COVID-19 protocols are in place. Please social distance from others and wear a mask when necessary.

The Vista Guild is also organizing live entertainment and performances to get attendees in the holiday spirit as we light the Vista’s tree at the corner of Gervais and Lincoln Streets.

Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo

Dates: Select dates between November 20-December 30, 2021

Time: 5-9 p.m.

Location: Riverbanks Zoo, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia 29210

Cost: If you have a membership, your first visit is free. Otherwise, tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for kids ages 2-12. Children younger than two are free.

Details: Enjoy a dazzling display of more than one million twinkling lights, an animated story tree, Jingle Bell Bonfire, and more.

Governor’s Carolighting at the State House

Date: November 21, 2021

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: SC State House, 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Free 

Details: This year marks the 55th annual Governor’s Carolighting at the State House. This special event heralds the official start of South Carolina’s yuletide season with the lighting of the State’s Christmas Tree. The program features performances from artists from across South Carolina, the Governor’s seasonal message and more!

Sleigh Bell Stroll

Date: November 22, 2021

Time: 6 p.m. -8 p.m.

Location: Saluda Shoals Park East, 6071 St. Andrews Rd

Cost: $5/Per Person, 2 and under free

Details: Join us for a fun and festive four-mile family fun walk amid the sparkling light displays of Holiday Lights on the River!

Sleigh Bell Trot

Date: November 23, 2021

Time: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Location: Saluda Shoals Park East, 6071 St. Andrews Rd

Cost: Trot Early Bird by 11/12: $30 per person
11/13–11/22: $35 per person. 11/23: $40 per person
(Military discounts are available)

Details: See the lights at the Sleigh Bell Trot! Join us for this unique, nighttime four-mile timed run taking place amid the festive light displays of Holiday Lights on the River.!

Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park

Dates: November 24-December 31, 2021

Time: 6-10 p.m.

Location: Saluda Shoals Park East, 6071 St. Andrews Rd

Cost: $25/car, $50/12–15 Passenger Van, Trucks w/ Trailers & Limos, and $75/Bus (16+ Passengers).

Details: The Lights at Saluda Shoals is a nightly drive-thru event that features more than three miles of Christmas lights. Enjoy other holiday light activities included in admissions like hayrides and the winter wonder tube slide.

Santa’s Clause’s Gift Shop will be open for holiday shopping. Concession, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. From December 10-23, Santa will be visiting and be available for professional photos.

Country Christmas Celebration

Date: November 28, 2021

Location: South Carolina State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Hwy West Columbia, SC 29172

Cost: Free

Details: Come out and celebrate a country Christmas by shopping our local holiday décor and craft vendors and our selection of live Christmas trees!  Children will also have the opportunity to write letters to Santa, take photos with Santa Claus, and create some DIY crafts. Our Christmas tunes will be on and food trucks will also be there to serve you.

Experience Chanukah! 

Dates: December 1, 2021

Time: 6-7 p.m.

Location: Richland Library Northeast, 7490 Parklane Rd Columbia, SC 29223

Cost: Free

Details: Special Event Outdoor Storytime and Craft hosted by special guest Devorah Marrus of Chabad who will share the traditions of Hanukkah in a fun-filled night for all ages! Dress for the weather! Registration required.

Christmas in Cayce Drive Through

Dates: December 2, 2021

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Location: Cayce City Hall Complex, 1800 12th Street, Cayce 29033

Cost: Free

Details: Sponsored by The Woman’s Club of Cayce, this drive-through event includes musical performances and a visit from Santa Claus. See thousands of lights and animated displays. The Woman’s Club of Cayce is also sponsoring the 19th annual “Cayce Cares” food drive to assist God’s Helping Hands and the Scooter Scott project, and ask that you bring canned goods and non-perishable food items. The Drive Through begins at 6:00 pm, so come early!

Christmas Craft Fair

Dates: December 2-3, 2021

Time: 4-8 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join us at the Icehouse Amphitheater Pavilion for a Christmas Craft Fair featuring fresh produce, unique gifts, local vendors, food, and more!

Carols Along the Riverwalk

Dates: December 3, 2021

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Location: Cayce Riverwalk, 201 N Avenue at the intersection of Axtell and N Avenue

Cost: Free

Details: The sounds of the holidays flow through the trees during this reverse caroling event, where several local church choirs and musicians will be located throughout the first half mile of the Riverwalk. Parking will be made available at Brookland Cayce High School with free trolley rides provided to and from the entrance of the Riverwalk.

Tree Lighting & Movie

Dates: December 3, 2021

Time: 6:30-10 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join the Town of Lexington as we sing Christmas carols, light the tree, & take pictures with Santa at Icehouse Amphitheater. Stay to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol (G) that will begin at 7:30 p.m.!

Columbia Classical Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Date: December 3-5, 2021

Time: 10 a.m. (Fri), 2 p.m. (Sat-Sun), 7:30 (Fri)

Location: Koger Center for the Arts, 501 Greene Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Tickets range from $8 to $18.

Details: The Nutcracker Ballet is a worldwide Christmas favorite. 

Christmas Traditions Open House

Dates: December 4, 2021

Time: 6-9 p.m.

Location: Cayce Historical Museum, 1800 12th St, Cayce, SC 29033

Cost: Free

Details: The sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas will abound at the Cayce Historical Museum’s annual Christmas Traditions Holiday Open House. Each room will be decorated with trees and crafts from the 18th century to present. The event will also feature live entertainment, docents dressed in period attire, and light refreshments.

Snowball Festival

Date: December 4, 2021

Time: 1-9 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join the Town of Lexington for this year’s Snowball Festival Carnival at the Icehouse Amphitheater! It will feature face painting, balloon artists, letters to Santa, rides + more! Make sure to stay and watch The Grinch (PG) which will begin at 6pm.

Santa Train

Date: December 4, 11, and 18, 2021

Time:10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Location:110 Industrial Park Road Winnsboro, SC 29180

Cost: $15 – $135 (children under age 3 are considered lap infants and do not need tickets unless they need their own seat)

Details: Ride the train with our favorite visitor from the North Pole. Enjoy the scenery as Santa walks the length of the train talking to families and posing for pictures. The train does not return until Santa has talked to everyone on the train.

Carolina Lights

Dates: December 4-26, 2021 (Closed Christmas Day)

Time: 6-9 p.m. (Sun-Thu), 6-10 p.m. (Fri-Sat)

Location: SC State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia 29201

Cost: Pay at the gate with cash or a credit card (Visa or Mastercard). It is $20 per car, $35 for a mini bus (9-24 passengers) and $70 for vehicles over 25 passengers. From September 8- December 3, 2021, save 25% on advanced car passes purchased online.

Details: This year is the 3rd annual drive-thru light show at the state fairgrounds. Carolina Lights will take place at the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park (at the SC State Fairgrounds). You can enter at Gate 6 on George Rogers Boulevard.

Snowball Parade

Date: December 5, 2021

Time: 3-5 p.m.

Location: Town of Lexington, 111 Maiden Lane, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join the Town of Lexington and the Lexington Jaycees for the annual Christmas Parade down Main Street! Get in the Christmas Spirit by watching an array of parade floats make their way through downtown!

The Magic of Christmas

Date: December 10-12, 2021

Time: 2 p.m. (Sat-Sun), 7 p.m. (Fri-Sat)

Location: 1301 Columbia College Dr, Columbia, SC 29203

Cost: Adults $20; Children 18 and under $10

Details: The Wagsters are coming home for the holidays! After 1000 live performances in Myrtle Beach, Merlin Award Recipients, magic’s equivalent to the Oscar, Brandon & Hannah Wagster are returning to Workshop Theatre to celebrate the most magical season of all with “The Magic of Christmas”!

Appearing and disappearing for one weekend only at Columbia College’s Cottingham Theatre, witness the impossible and escape your reality as you experience impossible illusions, breathtaking sleight of hand, hilarious comedy, dazzling costumes, and even a visit from Old Saint Nick, all wrapped up in the true meaning of Christmas.

Holiday Parade of Lights

Dates: December 11, 2021

Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Location: All along 12th St, Cayce, SC 29033

Cost: Free

Details: This annual event is one of the most anticipated holiday parades in the Midlands! This beloved night-time parade is hosted by the Greater Cayce West Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Follow https://www.cwcchamber.com/ for updates and more information.

Columbia City Ballet Nutcracker

Date: December 11-12, 18-19, 2021

Time: 3 p.m. (Sat-Sun), 7:30 (Sat)

Location: Koger Center for the Arts, 501 Greene Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Tickets range from $25 to $52.

Details: Nutcracker, Columbia’s holiday family tradition, has the distinction of being Koger Center for the Arts’ first Nutcracker production and longest consecutively running annual arts event.

A Magical Cirques Christmas by Broadway In Columbia

Date: December 14-15, 2021

Time: 7:30 P.M.

Location: Koger Center for the Arts, 501 Greene Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Tickets range from $38-$58.

Details: Experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists from all corners of the world, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live. Get into the spirit of the season with this merry treat that’s perfect for the entire family. 

Karaoke-Palooza! 

Date: December 20, 2021

Time: 6:30- 7:30 P.M.

Location: Richland Library Online

Cost: Free

Details: It’s a fun-filled holiday sing-along. Gather the whole family for Jingle Bells, On the Twelve Days of Christmas, and more. Registration is required.

Know of an event not listed? Tell us about it and we’ll add it to the list! 

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