Area displays light up the holidays

Staff photo by Karen Klock
Kitchings' light show on Hopeland Farm Drive
Staff photo by Karen Klock Kitchings' light show on Hopeland Farm Drive

Across the city, trees, wreaths and bells adorn streets, stores and homes.

They stand not alone, though. Woven among them are the twinkling sights of holiday lights.

This year, sites around South Carolina and Georgia have taken these decorations and transformed them into something more.

Aiken resident William “Bubba” Kitchings has 32 channels, or groups, of lights.

Since 2009, those lights have entertained his neighbors and outside visitors; the thousand of lights Kitchings has strung around his yard sync up to a music playlist.

To enjoy the full experience, park about 100 yards from his house, and tune into radio station 94.3 FM. This will allow you to listen to the music from the comfort of your car. The show runs from 6 p.m. to midnight each night until Dec. 30.

Each segment lasts up to 52 minutes and renews at the top of every hour. It is free and open to the public. Kitchings' home is located at 154 Hopeland Farms Drive.

Another Aiken lighting scene is the 22nd annual Christmas in Hopelands.

The site opens today at 6 p.m. It will run until Dec. 26, being closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There will be a live concert or a movie shown every night.

Parking is at Citizens Park, 1060 Banks Mill Road, with a shuttle running to Hopelands Gardens from 5:45 to 9 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 803-642-7631 or visit www.cityofaikensc.gov.

In Wagener, a new event is making its holiday show debut.

Robin Whittle and her family created Lights on South Dixie because “we wanted to do it for our community,” she said.

To gather a variety of lights, the Whittles traveled to different states. Those lights are spread across 15 acres.

Included with the light displays are haystack rides, a marshmallow roasting pit, a goat petting zoo and classic Christmas movies.

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 3 to 12 and free for toddlers ages 2 and younger. Only cash will be accepted. Parking is free.

The gates open from 6 to 10 p.m. every night until Dec. 30. They are closed Christmas Day.

Lights on South Dixie is located at 637 S. Dixie Road, Wagener. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.

Two sites in Columbia have also joined in this holiday spirit. More than 400 displays will light up Saluda Shoals Park during this year's Holiday Lights on the River event.

Stops include the Dazzling Dance Forest, Victorian Village and the Wetland Wondering Walking Trail. Some of the nights' activities are hayrides and craftmaking.

The event runs each night from 6 to 10 p.m. until Dec. 31. Admission is $15 per car, $25 per 15-passenger vehicles and $40 per bus.

The park is at 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia.

For more information, visit www.icrc.net.

The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has set up lights throughout its park for more than 25 years.

Note, though, “while you may spot a few night owls during Lights Before Christmas event, most of our residents will be off-exhibit to catch some 'zzz's,'” the zoo's website stated.

Nevertheless, close to a million lights will be set in the backdrop of visits with Santa, refreshments and a Jingle Bell Bonfire.

The event will run from 5 to 9 p.m. each night until Dec. 30. The zoo will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 3 to 12 and free for children younger than 3.

The zoo is at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia.

For more information, visit www.riverbanks.org.

Over in Georgia, the annuals Lights of the South event shines with more than 5 million lights.

Standing out among them is a Christmas tree maze. Other happenings are a Christmas train and haystack rides.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be down, and refreshments of hot chocolate and boiled peanuts will be served.

Prices the day of the event are $8.95 for adults, $5.95 for ages 4 to 17 and free for ages 3 and younger. It will be from 6 to 10 p.m. until Dec. 30. The site is closed on Christmas Day.

Lights of the South is located on an 100-acre property at 633 Louisville Road, Grovetown.

For more information, visit www.lightsofthesouth.com or call 706-825-6441. Weather may affect events.

Editor's Note: If we missed your holiday lighting show, send your name and details of your event to sturner@aikenstandard.com.

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