Palmetto Parent 2010 December Issue : Page 17

The Columbia Christmas Pageant In what has become a Christmas tradition for many Mid-lands families, First Baptist Columbia’s 23rd Annual Colum-bia Christmas Pageant brings music, drama and much more to the stage. “They’re going to be enthralled with the overall produc-tion,” Media Minister Sylvia Rish said. The event includes as many as 500 performers of all ages. It opens with what Rish said is the more secular version of the show. “That transitions us into what the real meaning of Christ-mas is about,” she said. The story of Jesus’ birth, life and death is told through the second part of the production. Between the segments, Dawn Smith Jordan performs a slate of songs that Rish said have become audience favorites. The extensive production is the church’s gift of the season, Rish said. “It’s a wonderful gift that our church is able to give not just within the community, but the entire state,” she said. Though five live performances will be presented to as many as 20,000 in attendance, the show will reach an even wider audience when it is replayed on WLTX TV on Christmas Day. The pageant lasts approximately 90 minutes and pre-show entertainment will be offered as guests arrive. Free tickets are available through the church. “Tickets are required so we can make sure all 15,000 don’t show up for the same performance,” Rish said. The show is suited for all ages and many children are actu-ally part of the production. “A family would feel comfortable here,” Rish said. “We call it a South Carolina tradition because we’ve got people who have not missed a year. It has become part of their family.” If you go: The Columbia Christmas Pageant is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, at 2 and 5 p.m. Dec. 11 and at 4 p.m. Dec. 12. Free tickets are required. Call 217-3250 or visit The show will be aired on WLTX TV, Channel 19, on Christmas Day. Visit the church website for details. The Lights Before Christmas Riverbanks Zoo offers Columbia a rare experience with snow, along with dazzling lights and so much more. The Lights Before Christmas runs nightly, except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, through Jan. 2. The event is much more than the name implies. “It snows every single night in several locations,” River-banks Zoo spokesperson Lindsay Burke said. Snow machines throughout the zoo bring an added touch to the animated light displays located around every turn, in-cluding such special displays as the Music in Motion Lights Spectacular, a 10-minute show choreographed to music. The program repeats throughout the evening. “The focal point is a 20-foot tree that has 30,000 LED lights,” Burke said. While walking through the park, visitors can view the Holiday Card Walk, featuring oversized cards created by local schools. At the Jingle Bell Bonfire, hot cocoa will be available and visitors can try their hand at toasting marshmallows. The youngest visitors can hear seasonal stories read aloud in the Congo Classroom and then take time to visit with Santa. “Santa will be here every night through Dec. 23,” Burke said. Parents are asked to bring their own cameras for photos with Santa. Although there is plenty to see and do throughout the zoo, Burke said the event will take place after the bedtime of most animals, so plan on returning for a daytime visit to see them. Riverbanks Zoo is encouraging families to join in making Christmas a little greener by making the switch to energy efficient LED lights. Visitors can recycle their incandes-cent Christmas lights at the event. In return for each strand recycled, visitors receive a coupon for $3 off a strand of LED lights. There is a limit of five coupons per person. If you go: The Lights Before Christmas is 6 – 9 p.m. nightly through Jan. 2 at Riverbanks Zoo. The event is closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31. Admission is $8 each for adults and $6 each for ages 3 – 12. Zoo members receive free visits. Tickets are available online at Palmetto Parent 17 December 2010

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