The Daily Gamecock

Holiday events in Columbia this season

As Thanksgiving passes, families start bringing out their decorations, listening to Christmas music and getting into the holiday spirit. No doubt, the holidays bring about a sense of cheer, and along with that comes festive ways to celebrate the season. Check out some of these fun ways to spend the holidays in Columbia this season.

The Polar Express 4-D Experience

Why not throw it back to the days of your childhood and hop on the Polar Express this Christmas? The South Carolina State Museum is hosting a showing of "The Polar Express" in a way you’ve never seen it before. This will be an immersive, 15-minute adaptation of the movie, with 3-D glasses provided and 4-D experiences like bursts of air or sprays of water. The Polar Express 4-D Experience is showing through the end of the year, and showtimes vary. You can check out the State Museum website for more information on dates and times.

50th Annual Governor’s Carolighting

Each year Columbia hosts the annual Carolighting in front of the South Carolina Statehouse on Gervais Street. The event will take place this year on Dec. 1. The lighting of the State’s Christmas tree marks the start of the holiday season in Columbia. Prior to lighting the tree, there will be entertainment from various groups like a children’s choir and Fort Jackson’s Army Band. The event begins at 7 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m. Swing by to kick off the holiday season — and grab some complimentary hot cocoa while you’re there.

Carols along the Riverwalk

As the movie Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” On Dec. 2 at the Cayce Riverwalk Park, groups of carolers, church choirs and musicians will be lined up along the Riverwalk caroling for those passing by. Along with carols, there will be free hot apple cider and a pathway lit with luminaries. This event is free to the public, and will take place about a half mile from the North Avenue entrance from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"A Christmas Carol: the Musical"

The classic Christmas story by Charles Dickens is coming to life in musical form this season at Town Theatre. From Dec. 2-18, the Town Theatre is hosting showings of this popular tale — with music and choreography to add some flair to the classic story. If you are not familiar with "A Christmas Carol," it follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy man with no holiday spirit, as he learns the true meaning of Christmas through the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Thursdays through Saturdays, the show will start at 8 p.m., and there will be a matinee showing on Sundays at 3 p.m.

Holiday Parade of Lights

Each year, the Holiday Parade of Lights illuminates the night with Christmas-themed floats and performances. This year, the parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 10. The route starts near the corner of Meeting Street and 12th Street in West Columbia and continues straight down 12th street until it reaches the Cayce Municipal Complex. Get there early to grab a good spot along the parade route before the crowd shows up to watch this popular event.

With all of the events that come along with Christmas, it’s hard not to have something festive to do. So keep yourself in the holiday spirit and check out some of these events with family, friends or your significant other. Not only are most of these events free but they are fun, festive and bring people together for the holiday season.