West Columbia to hold tree lighting ceremony, annual Christmas parade

West Columbia residents are invited to start the holiday season at the ninth annual Christmas Tree Lighting event.

Winners of the “What Christmas Means To Me” essay contest will read their entries and light the tree at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The students are from Saluda River Elementary School and B-C Grammar No. 1.

Festivities will be held at West Columbia City Hall at 12th Street and Jarvis Klapman Boulevard.

The evening will feature carols sung by a choir of students from several West Columbia schools. Joe Pinner will serve as master of ceremonies, and Christmas blessings will be given by area ministers. “Sweet Adelines,” a female barbershop quartet also will be a featured musical guest.

Refreshments will be provided in the New Brookland Room at City Hall following the ceremony.

Capping off the weekend will be the annual West Metro Holiday Parade of Lights. The evening parade is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the corner of U.S. Highway 1 and 12th Street. Floats and vehicles will proceed down 12th Street and end in front of the Cayce Municipal Complex.

More than 20,000 people have attended in years past, according to the West Metro Chamber of Commerce. People are encouraged to come early and grab a spot. Bleacher seating is available in front of the Chamber office at 1006 12th St..