Columbia County will soon become illuminated with holiday cheer as official Christmas tree lightings begin this week.
- The city of Harlem's tree-lighting ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with North Harlem Elementary and Harlem Middle schools' choruses singing Christmas carols.
The 14-foot tree will be lit in front of Harlem City Hall. Free hot chocolate, cookies and popcorn will be offered to guests.
After the tree is lit, Santa Claus and his elves will visit and take pictures with children.
- The city of Grovetown's Christmas festivities begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of the city's senior center. Santa Claus will serve as the honorary tree lighter, and David Daughtry II, son of David Daughtry, a former Grovetown councilman who died in 2008, will emcee the event.
Grovetown Middle School's band and the Grove Baptist Church choir will perform. Free cookies, hot chocolate and coffee will be served.
The city's 20-foot tree and several areas at Old Wrightsboro Road near East and West Robinson Avenue will be lit up, Capetillo said.
- The county's tree-lighting ceremony, the ninth annual Christmas in America Festival, will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia County Amphitheater and Memorial Gardens.
Arts and crafts vendors will set up at 3 p.m., with entertainment beginning at that time as well. Two snow machines will be placed around the 20-foot Carolina Blue Sapphire Cypress tree, which will be lit at 6:30 p.m.
Honorary tree lighters are Lt. Edwin Larkin, commander of Warriors in Transition at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, and 2009 Columbia County Merchants Association Fair Queen Tiffany Scott. The tree will be lit at about 6:30 p.m., Adkins said.
Choruses from Bel Air, Evans, Martinez, North Columbia, South Columbia, Riverside and River Ridge elementary schools will sing Christmas songs at about 6 p.m. The Columbia County Ballet also will perform.
The festival is free, but new, unwrapped toys will be collected for the Columbia County Foundation for Children.
Free hot chocolate will be provided.
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