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South Carolina’s first couple presided over the state’s official kickoff of the holiday season Sunday night.

The 53rd Annual Governor’s Carolighting at the State House drew a crowd big enough to fill the building’s north lawn, and featured performances from musicians who came from across the state, including more than 100 kids in the Carolighting Choir.

Miss South Carolina 2019, Morgan Nichols, served as emcee for the evening. Gov. Henry McMaster and First Lady Peggy McMaster enjoyed the music, and the governor addressed the crowd, speaking of trusting in God rather than worrying.

“Jesus prayed for all of us: future generations, not just the people at the time,” Gov. McMaster said. “Jesus prayed for you and me.”

The governor’s speech was followed by a countdown to the event’s big finish: the lighting of the state’s official Christmas tree, a 35-ft. white fir from Pinetum Christmas Tree Farm in Swanton, Maryland.

Santa also made an appearance, and hot chocolate was provided for those in attendance by event sponsor, Experience Columbia SC.

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