'Tis the season for holiday events: What to do in Sumter


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.

Hoping for snow for the holidays? 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.riverbanks.org.

The Midlands' largest drive-through lights display, Holiday Lights on the River will be held through Dec. 31. Every year, Saluda Shoals Park comes alive with colorful lights and more than 400 animated light displays of all shapes and sizes. Visit www.icrc.net for details or call (803) 772-3903.

The Celebrate the Season Holiday Driving Tour will be held seven days a week from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 30, with the exception of Dec. 24, 25 and 26. Enjoy the dozens of spectacular, animated light displays that wind through the Old Santee Canal Park and Santee Cooper's headquarters. The tour starts at 1 Riverwood Drive, Moncks Corner, and ends at the park. Admission is $5 per vehicle, and proceeds benefit Berkeley County charities. Visit www.celebratetheseason.org.

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.

The living history craft class, Pottery, Glazing and Candlestick Making, will be offered by the Sumter County Museum, 122 N. Washington St., on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for ages 8-17. Cost is $25 for museum members and $30 for non-members.Experience Christmas crafting during a simpler time - the year 1800. Costumed interpreters will teach students how to create period candlestick holders out of local clay and how to make hand-dipped candles. After enjoying period games, cider and cookies will be provided in the log cabin on the museum grounds. The main museum building, the Williams-Brice House, will be decorated for the season.

The annual Holiday House Tour and Tea, presented by the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. On tour this year are the homes of: Emily and Daly Ward, 2301 Clematis Trail; Lynn and Keith Charpentier, 5 Mill Run; Tracy and Thomas McLaughlin, 24 Warren St.; and Kimberly and Cal Land, 617 Henderson St. In addition to touring the homes decked in holiday splendor, ticket holders can enjoy a tea from 3 to 5 p.m. at Alice Boyle Garden Center, 842 W. Liberty St. Advance tickets are available at Swan Lake Visitors Center, 822 W. Liberty St. Tickets can be purchased the day of the tour at tour homes or starting at 11 a.m. the day of the tour at the garden center.

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 Holly Hill Christmas Festival featuring crafts, children's activities and more will be held Friday-Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1. All activities take place at the Train Depot, Visitor Center, Downtown Holly Hill, 8603 Old State Road SC 29059. Friday's hours are 2 to 8 p.m. with Saturday's events beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, including an activities and events schedule, visit www.hollyhillchristmasfestival.com.

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.to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call (803) 425-7676 or visit http://fineartscenter.org.

The 65th annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade will begin at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Gervais and Bull streets and proceed west on Gervais, Columbia. The parade will pass in front of the Statehouse and continue into the Vista to Park Street. The parade will feature floats, marching bands, classic and vintage vehicles, Santa and more. Call (803) 545-3100 or visit www.carolinacarillon.com.

Christmas Days Bazaar featuring crafts, food and more, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Summerton.

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.

While you are out viewing the holiday lights, don't forget to add the Swan Lake Fantasy of Lights to your list. Open nightly Dec. 1-31, the lights are on from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with the exception of opening night of Dec. 1, which starts with a 6 p.m. ceremony. Swan Lake-Iris Gardens comes to life with a twinkling holiday display featuring more than one million lights. Visit www.sumtersc.gov/fantasy-of-lights.

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 Orangeburg County Christmas Parade will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, in Downtown Orangeburg. Call (803) 534-6821 for details.

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.

Support small businesses and celebrate the holiday season at the annual Christmas at Patriot Hall 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. There will be music, food, vendors and lots of shopping. Take pictures with Santa from noon to 4 p.m.

The Sumter County Museum's annual Carolina Backcountry Christmas will be held 2 to 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 Holiday Parade of Lights, the only "nighttime" parade in the Midlands, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex, 1800 12th St., and proceed down 12th to 12th Street and Highway 1 in West Columbia. There will be floats, bands, animals, fire trucks and more. Call (803) 794-6504 or visit cwcchamber.com/holiday-parade-of-lights.html.

The Elloree Christmas Parade will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Call (803) 897-2821 for details.

The Orangeburg Civic Ballet will present "The Nutcracker" at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, at MLK Auditorium, 300 College St. NE, Orangeburg, on the S.C. State University campus. Call (803) 533-0017 or email orangeburgcivicballet@gmail.com.

The Santee Christmas Parade will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, at Santee Town Hall. Call Joanie Pinter at (803) 854-2152, extension 203, for details.

The Town of Bowman will hold its Christmas parade at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, along the main street. Call (803) 829-2666 for more information.

The Nutcracker will be presented by the Dance Place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Wood Auditorium, Camden. Cost is $15 per adult and $10 per child. Call (803) 425-7676 or visit http://fineartscenter.org.

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.

The Camden Community Concert Band Holiday Show will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, at Camden High School.

The Vance Christmas Parade will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, in the town of Vance. Call (803) 492-3114 for details.

The Branchville Christmas Parade will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16. Call (803) 274-8820 for details.