Editor’s note: To have holiday event information included in the Aiken Standard’s holiday events roundup, email [email protected].

Despite many annual traditions being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still many events coming up in Aiken County during the holiday season.

The North Augusta Christmas Tree Lighting will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in  Calhoun Park, 100 W. Forest Ave., North Augusta. The lighting will happen around 6:10 p.m., and North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit and his grandson will flip the switch. There may be an appearance by Santa, if he is not too busy. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.

The 29th annual Christmas in Hopelands kicks Tuesday at Hopelands Gardens, 135 Dupree Place. The free event will run from 6-9 p.m through Dec. 23, and also will be open Dec. 26 and 27. Visitors walk through the gardens to view more than 100,000 twinkling lights spread over 2 miles of lighted pathways and holiday displays. The shuttle service from Citizens Park will not be offered this year. Parking will be available in the field next to the Green Boundary Club, 780 Whiskey Road.

Luminaries will be set out for the Night of 1,000 Lights Thursday to light the streets of downtown Aiken beginning at 6 p.m. Participating shops will stay open late and offer holiday treats, drinks and music for a festive evening out, according to the city calendar.

The fourth annual Festival of Trees will kick off with a lighting of the trees at 4 p.m. Friday at the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum, 406 Park Ave. S.E. Local businesses and organizations will have decorated trees that will be on display at the depot through Saturday, Jan. 2. The depot is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Residents can vote for their favorite trees through Friday, Dec. 18, and the winner will be announced in the Aiken Standard on Sunday, Dec. 20.

The 32nd Downtown Aiken Tree Lighting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 on Newberry Street. Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon will count down to the lighting. There will be a live musical performance from local artist Tim Gidley and an appearance by Santa Claus. Face coverings and social distancing are required.

The Graniteville-Vaucluse-Warrenville Volunteer Fire Department will hold the annual GVW Christmas parade at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Parade participants will line up in the parking lot of Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, 1120 Weldon Way, Graniteville, before proceeding down Highway 191 all the way to the traffic light at Highway 421 in Warrenville. Awards will be given for best religious float, best commercial float and best non-musical group. Plaques will be given to the school bands who participate and Santa will be on hand to deliver candy and wish everyone a merry Christmas. Due to COVID-19, social distancing and masks are encouraged.

The movie “The Polar Express” will be shown at the City of Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum, 406 Park Ave. S.E., on Saturday, Dec. 5, and Sunday, Dec. 6. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the movie starting at 6:30 p.m.; Reservations must be made in advance. Participants are encouraged to wear pajamas, bring pillows and blankets, and popcorn will be available. Participants are asked to bring their own hot chocolate.

The Jackson Christmas parade will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 on Highway 125 in Jackson. Those who may be vulnerable to the coronavirus are asked to watch the parade from their cars. The lineup for the parade will start at 12:30 p.m. behind Jackson Middle School, 18731 Atomic Road, Jackson.

Children will have the opportunity to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus during Breakfast and a Book with the Clauses will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Lessie B. Price Aiken Senior and Youth Center, 841 Edgefield Ave. N.W. Mrs. Claus will read a holiday story and a free book will be given to each family in attendance. There will be breakfast and an opportunity to make holiday crafts. Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when attendees are eating and drinking. A socially distanced photo opportunity with Santa will be available. The cost is $5 per person. Families must pre-register before Dec. 9. Registration can be done in-person at the Lessie B. Price center, the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center, 1700 Whiskey Road; or at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center, 400 Kershaw St. Registration can also be done online at cityofaikensc.gov/prtregistration.

The ninth annual Santa at the Depot event will be held from 10 a.m-1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at the City of Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum, 406 Park Ave. S.W. Reservations must be made in advance. Children can visit with Santa, and there will be Christmas music. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera. 

There will be multiple opportunities to see Santa in downtown Aiken on Saturdays and Sundays during December. The man in the red suit will be downtown for photos and mingling in businesses from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays, according to the Aiken Downtown Development Association.

Christmas parades in Aiken and North Augusta have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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