With chances of seeing a white Christmas in Columbia County fairly low, a new festival will bring the white stuff to the area a week ahead of schedule.
A section of Evans Towne Center Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland Sunday, Dec. 16, during the inaugural Columbia County Snow Festival.
“It’s the first year of an event that we plan on doing annually,” said local promoter Joe Mullins. “We’re going to grow it into hopefully a week-long festival.”
While the snow field won’t open to the public until 1 p.m., prep work will begin at 9:30 a.m. with machines blowing snow onto a 40-foot-by-40-foot area in front of the Lady Antebellum Pavilion. Tractor trailers will carry 40 tons of ice to the park, Mullins said.
Mullins expects to have about 10 inches of snow on the ground.
“It’s real snow,” he said. “It’s ice that is shaved down and sprayed throughout the park every 10 minutes.”
A giant slide for snow tubing will open at noon, Mullins said.
Santa Claus also will be making an appearance.
Mullins came up with the idea after a trip to Tucson, Ariz., where he saw a similar event held in 80-degree weather.
Such festivals tend to be popular in warm cities, but Mullins said he hopes for chillier conditions when it takes place in Evans.
“To get the atmosphere and the feel of winter, we hope it is a cold day,” he said.
Several entertainment acts have been scheduled at the pavilion. A Christmas Carol will be performed on stage and three acts from Augusta’s 12 Bands of Christmas Festival will play.
In addition, visitors can browse from arts and crafts, food and holiday vendors.
Admission into the snow field is $5. Those who bring a nonperishable food item for Golden Harvest Food Bank can buy one ticket and get one free.
Raffle prizes will be given to ticket holders throughout the day. All other entertainment is free.
“There will be a limited number of tickets sold because the snow field is only so large, so we’ll have to cut it off at some point,” Mullins said. “(People) may want to get their tickets in advance.”
Tickets can be purchased at the the office of The Columbia County News-Times, Evans Walmart, Evans Home Depot, Evans Applebee’s, Kirkland’s Flooring and any Family Y location. Some proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the food bank.
For more information about the Columbia County Snow Festival, call (706) 854-8636.