The holiday season kicks into high gear this week with several Christmas events in Columbia County.
The Columbia County Choral Society and the Columbia County Historical Society are partnering to present Christmas Arts in Appling.
The arts and history festival begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in downtown Appling with an art exhibition and sale, featuring works by several Columbia County artists, inside the Appling courthouse.
“There are so many wonderful things about that area,” orchestra Director Rob Nordon said. “It’ll be a lot of fun and I think people will enjoy it.”
The orchestra’s brass ensemble will perform holiday tunes at 2 p.m. and the Historical Society will hold a reception in the old jailhouse at 3 p.m. Historical society members will lead tours of the Appling courthouse and the jail from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Arts, crafts and refreshment vendors will be available, with activities all day in the Walnut Grove School, a restored one-room school.
In Evans, the Christmas season begins Saturday with the Columbia County Fox Family Christmas and Tree Lighting. The family festival begins at 3 p.m. in Evans Towne Center Park.
The county’s tree-lighting ceremony is combining for the first year with WFXG-Fox 54’s fall festival, said county Recreation and Events Manager Stacie Adkins.
“We’re expecting a good crowd,” she said.
Santa arrives by fire truck for photos with children at 3:15 p.m. and will stay until 7. The free festival features arts and crafts vendors, refreshments and musical entertainment.
The Mass Elementary School Chorus will perform just after 6 p.m. and the Christmas tree next to the Lady Antebellum Pavilion is expected to be lit at about 6:30 p.m.
The holiday spirit will continue Sunday with the 48th annual Merchants Association of Columbia County Christmas parade.
The parade begins at 2 p.m. on Evans Town Center Boulevard at Evans to Locks Road. The parade will head south onto Washington and Belair roads, ending at Belair Elementary School.
“We’re always trying to do something better every year,” said the parade coordinator, Billy Franke. “We’re just real proud of it.”
The grand marshal is Eric Beddingfield, a 2005 Lakeside High School graduate and Nashville recording artist.
Franke said he expects more than 100 entries ranging from high school marching bands and JROTC units, to scouting, church and civic groups, churches and businesses.