Vista Lights, holiday open house, kicks off Thursday, with new features

The 32nd annual Vista Lights, the Congaree Vista’s signature open house, kicks off the holiday season on Thursday (Nov. 16) from 5-10 p.m. with artistic performances, live music, dancing, shopping, dining and the annual Vista tree lighting at 7 p.m.

“We’re so excited about what our Vista Guild members and neighborhood shops, galleries, restaurants, retailers and businesses are doing this year to get everyone in the spirit of the holiday season,” said Meredith Atkinson, executive director of the Congaree Vista Guild.

“We have a great lineup of holiday entertainment and a fabulous show leading up to our annual tree lighting at 7 p.m. We’re encouraging everyone to stroll through the Vista taking advantage of special offers and discounts at our neighborhood’s businesses.”

Vista galleries, shops and restaurants will open their doors to showcase their holiday treasures before the Vista’s tree lighting with Mayor Steve Benjamin and other Columbia City Council members. Attendees should gather around the stage and tree at Gervais and Lincoln Streets by 6:15 p.m. to see holiday music and dance performances, including:
· Trustus Theatre

· The Southern Strutt Dance Studio

· Columbia City Jazz

· Columbia City Ballet

· Palmetto Performing Arts

· Oraki Dance Company

· Unbound Dance Company

· Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker Ballet Bon Bons

· Candice Pipkin

Following the 7 p.m. tree lighting, Prettier than Matt will play on stage from 7:30 – 8 p.m. and Soda City Brass Band will play from 8 – 9:45 p.m.

New at Vista Lights 2017:
· The Vista Guild will offer wristbands to Vista Lights attendees who are 21 and older to purchase beer, which will be for sale on Lincoln Street at the corner of Gervais from 5 – 9:30 p.m. On tap for the evening are $5 drafts, including Stella Artois, Stella Cidre, Palmetto Espresso Porter and Catawba White Zombie.

· The Vista Guild will also debut its Kid’s Zone for Vista Lights 2017, with activities for children, face painting, balloon art and more on Lincoln Street. Additionally, Merry Marketplace, also on Lincoln Street, will feature vendors offering unique, locally crafted goods to kick off the holiday season.

· Parents and families can snap their own free photos of their kids while they visit with Santa on Lincoln Street near Peanut Man.

· Vista Lights attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for donation to Harvest Hope and those in need this holiday season. Harvest Hope will accept donations on Lincoln Street near Blue Marlin.

Throughout the night, many businesses will offer complimentary beverages, hors d’oeuvres and shopping discounts. Vista Lights attendees are invited to stroll through the Vista’s art galleries and businesses, restaurants and bars on this festive evening.

After the tree lighting, Vista Lights attendees are encouraged to stay on and enjoy the Vista’s nightlife with specials in many of the bars and restaurants.