West Columbia Tree Lighting on a perfect night, parade is Saturday

The West Columbia Christmas Tree lighting was a rousing success and there is more holiday fun to come.

The Greater Cayce –West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Saturday. But there is a change from previous years. This year, the parade route will begin in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex at 1800 12th Street. The parade route then travels down 12th Street, from Cayce to West Columbia.

At West Columbia’s tree lighting Mayor Bobby Horton spoke, and ushered in the yuletide season Friday under a bold Carolina moon on the grounds of West Columbia’s City Hall complex. Lexington School District Two students provided music for the large crowd.

“It was a beautiful night and a display of warmth from the people to their city,” said Horton. “It was a pleasure to see everyone come out and take part in the Christmas spirit, that was so evident all around us. The Christmas tree lighting is one of the most endearing events for us each and every year.”

West Columbia’s Special events coordinator Kelli Ricard said the attendance numbers were at record proportions for the event. Others were pleased, too.

“The tree lighting went off perfectly and it was televised live on WIS-TV,” said Anna Huffman, West Columbia’s public information officer. “You really have to credit the city staff for all the preparation and

Maelle Wong, Esther Pete, Marydavis Hallman, with Mayor Bobby Horton

hard work they put in.”

West Columbia City Administrator Brian Carter said the city staff has made an effort to include every part of the community, especially the children and their parents.

“We want to have a strong relationship with Lexington School District Two,” said Carter. “We were very pleased to have the students so involved. It’s a great partnership. I thank everyone who was a part of it.”

As a part of the evening’s activities West Columbia elementary school students read their “What Christmas Means To Me” essays and poems.

The winners who read were: Elliott Bridges, third grade, Saluda River Academy for the Arts; Esther Peter, fifth grade, BC Grammar School No. 1; Maelle Wong, second grade, East Point Academy; and Marydavis Hallman, fourth grade, Pineview Elementary School.

The Christmas tree lighting also included a student artwork contest. The art contest winners were: Anthony Argoe, first grade, Saluda River Academy for the Arts: Aneth Campos fourth grade Pineview Elementary School; Emma Sturkie fourth grade Saluda River Academy for the Arts; Amelia Hall first grade, East Point Academy; Camila Costno Rodigues fourth grade, Pineview Elementary School; Kelsey Sharperson, fifth grade Saluda River Academy for the Arts; Preston Gammons, second grade East Point Academy; Sam Webster fifth grade, East Point academy, Zujeily Batista, fifth grade Pineview Elementary School

Saluda River Academy for the Arts

Anthony Argoe’s artwork was featured on the cover of the event program. And Argoe’s and Aneth Campos’ and Emma Sturkie’s artwork is being displayed on the Art on State wall, in the parking lot behind State and Meeting Streets, for the entire holiday season.

Music for the tree lighting was performed by the Saluda River Academy of the Arts Chorus, and the

Northside Middle School Chorus and Orchestra. The East Point Academy Dance Group performed, too.
Radio and television personality Joe Pinner was the Master of Ceremonies, and Dr. Brad Bessent, of First Baptist Church West Columbia, delivered the Christmas Message. Pastor Bill Egerdahl, of Grace Baptist Church delivered the Christmas Prayer.

At the conclusion of the program, a reception was held in the New Brookland Room of the West Columbia City Hall. Refreshments were provided by local West Columbia restaurants, organizations, and businesses.

Greater Cayce – West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights
The Greater Cayce – West Columbia Holiday Parade of Lights is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. As noted above, there is a change from previous years.

This year, the route will begin in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex at 1800 12th Street.
According to Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Cory Harrison, the lights parade is one of the most-enjoyed events of the season.
She said there was a high demand for registration for the parade this year.

There are more than 100 entries, including members of the West Columbia City Council and some of the city’s departments.

Harrison said the parade of lights “is a big community event that everybody comes out to see.”
She also encouraged spectators to show up ahead of time on Saturday and get a spot to sit and watch the popular nighttime  parade. Groups of people have parties – or tailgate – on the parade route.

The holiday event originally began as a daytime parade, but it was moved to the evening many years ago to incorporate the lights. More than one million lights are predicted for this year’s parade.

From the tree lighting, the decorations of local businesses and the holiday parade of lights, West Columbia comes out for Christmas. It’s a special time of the year, and that is reflected around the city.

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