Looking for a local holiday event or one close by? Here's a few to choose from


The holiday season has begun, and here are a few events within a short drive of Sumter. To have your event included, please send your information to pressrelease@theitem.com.

The 43rd Annual Craftsmen's Classics Christmas Art & Craft Festival will be held 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. The festival, held on the State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, features original designs and work from hundreds of talented artists and craftspeople from across America. See the creative process in action as many exhibitors demonstrate throughout the weekend. There is something for every style, taste and budget with items from the most traditional to the most contemporary. Tickets: $8 for adults; children ages 6-12, $1. For more details, call (336) 282-5550 or visit www.gilmoreshows.com.

The Jingle Bell Market will be held Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 15-18, at The Florence Center, formerly known as the Florence Civic Center, Florence. Visit Artisans Alley with one-of-a-kind artwork by numerous artists, the Christmas Craft Cove with select handmade crafts and gifts, or Jingle Belle Junction and Fa La La Farmers Market with boutiques, gourmet foods, home d cor, Vintage finds, jewelry, Christmas gifts and toys, and much more. And last but not least, the guys can gather at the Grinch's Grotto to watch a ballgame on a supersize TV or just sit back and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Admission fee is $8 for ages 12 and above.

The Daffodils & Silver Bells Arts and Craft Show will be held 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at 30 S. Artillery Drive. Please bring a non-perishable food item to help support United Ministries. Event will also help support Kat's Special Kneads Small Animal Shelter. Santa will visit on Sunday noon-3 p.m. with photos with G&W Photo Art.

Hoping for snow for the holidays? From Nov. 17 through Dec. 30, it snows every night at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens Lights Before Christmas. Featuring nearly one million twinkling lights and countless handcrafted animated images, Lights Before Christmas is a must-see. The zoo is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia. Call (803) 779-8717 or visit www.riverbank.org.

The Columbia City Ballet will return to Sumter with its award-winning performance of "Nutcracker." Executive and artistic director William Starrett brings the ballet's 51st production of the holiday classic to Patriot Hall center stage for two performances on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 3 and 7:30 p.m. "This is a production complete with astounding sets, scenery and hundreds of costumes - it's a fully professional, once-in-a-lifetime holiday event. See the real story come to life right here in Sumter at Patriot Hall," Starrett said. Tickets can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com by calling 1-800-838-3006 or at Miss Libby's School of Dance, 155 W. Wesmark Blvd.

The Town of Pinewood annual tree lighting service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, corner of Clark Street and East Avenue, Pinewood. There will be caroling and light refreshments. Call (803) 452-5878 for information.

A Sumter holiday tradition, the Sumter Little Theatre will present "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and Dec. 6-9, at 14 Mood Ave. This hilarious Christmas play tells the story of Grace Bradley, who is struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant when she is faced with having to cast the Herdman kids, who are possibly the worst kids in history. Tickets: $20 adults; $15 student/senior/military. Call (803) 775-2150 or visit www.sumterlittletheatrecom.

The Holiday Sales Show will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 12 at the Douglas-Reed House, 810 Lyttleton St., Camden. Browse through wonderful handmade gifts of jewelry, stained glass, pottery, wood items, food items and more 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1:30-6 p.m. Sunday. Call (803) 425-7676 or visit http://fineartscenter.org.

The ninth annual Town of Pinewood Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1. Departing from Manchester Elementary School, 220 W. Clark St., Pinewood, at 10 a.m. sharp, the parade will feature bands, emergency response vehicles, specialty cars and trucks, motorcycles, community entries, church organizations, beauty queens, food vendors, craft sales and much more. The "fire red" antique fire truck will escort Santa and Mrs. Claus to the portrait and gift giving location at Town Hall so be sure to bring your camera.

Lowcountry Christmas Extravaganza will be held 1-9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at Yonder Field, 180 Log Cabin Road, Bowman. The 25,000-square-foot pavilion will be filled with Christmas decorations and lights, and music from South Carolina school and church groups will fill the air. The artisan village will feature 20 local crafters presenting handmade Christmas crafts and gifts. There will be amusement rides, craft stations, a play area for children 4 and under, food trucks, train rides and more. Admission is free. There will be a $5 parking fee that will benefit the Orangeburg County Library. Wristbands available for purchase for children to enjoy the rides and craft stations. Visit www.lowcountrychristmas.net for further details.

The Evening Optimist Club's annual Sumter Christmas Parade will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, on Main Street. This year's theme is "Joy to the World."

The Town of Mayesville's annual Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8. Line-up will begin at 10 a.m. with the parade beginning at 11 a.m. Call Nancy Williams at (803) 453-5037 or Jeanie Jefferson at (803) 495-8181 for information.

The Sumter County Museum's annual Carolina Backcountry Christmas will be held 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 122 N. Washington St. Experience Christmas in the year 1800 as costumed interpreters demonstrate blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, and other traditional skills of the early 19th century. This free event will feature chestnuts roasting over an open fire and cider and cookies in the log cabin.

The most popular and talked about Christmas parade in South Carolina, the Boykin Christmas Parade, will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. Thousands of spectators are drawn to Boykin each year for this unique parade. Call (803) 424-4731.

Downtown Florence will hold its first Downtown Christmas Magic celebration 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, on the 100 block of West Evans Street in Florence. Bring the whole family out to kick off the season with free hot cocoa and s'mores stations, live holiday entertainment, a gingerbread house contest, an ugly sweater contest, the Jingle and Mingle kids area filled with crafts and games, a Santa Claus meet and greet, holiday gift market and more.