NEWBERRY — Christmas time in Newberry is a sensational time of year, when our “postcard town” is decorated to look like a classic Hallmark card and our celebrations revel in the fun and magic of the holiday season. Below are our “Top 10” favorite things for Newberrians to do this holiday season. Be sure to check out our website for all things Christmas in Newberry: www.newberrychristmas.com.
1. Main Street Lights: Community Christmas Tree Lighting
The holiday season in Downtown Newberry kicks off on Friday, Nov. 17 from 5 -8 p.m. at the annual Main Street Lights: Community Christmas Tree Lighting. At the start of the event, just before the sun sets, experience caroling at the tree and snap a photo with the Southern Victorian Society, dressed in full replica Victorian era holiday attire. The Newberry College Cheer Squad will also be present with Scar to hand out candy canes to little ones. Several local organizations will be offering cookies, goodie bags and more. This year the official Lighting Ceremony will begin at 6:15 p.m. and will feature Prosperity-Rikard School and Newberry Elementary School choruses as well as Mayor Foster Senn and special guest, Meteorologist Dominic Brown from WIS-TV. The ceremony ends with a countdown to light the town at 6:30 p.m. After the ceremony ends saunter through downtown to view the décor, listen to the Newberry College Madrigal Choir wandering from park to park, and consider stopping by the Ritz Theater at 7:30 p.m. for a free showing of The Polar Express. www.newberrychristmas.com
2. #AVeryBerryChristmas Photo Contest
Join in the Christmas Cheer by entering our annual photo contest. To enter simply post your photos of you, your friends and family enjoying the decorations in Downtown Newberry to social media, using the hashtag #AVeryBerryChristmas. The photographer that captures the magic of downtown Newberry during the holiday season best will win two tickets to the Dublin’s Irish Dance show at the Opera House in January. www.newberrychristmas.com
3. North Pole Nights
The wonders of the North Pole are coming to Newberry this December. On Fridays in December visitors can come to the free North Pole Nights events to play in the fluttering faux snow in Memorial Park, take pictures with Santa, and visit Santa’s workshop at the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce office for a Christmas Craft and Storytime with Mrs. Claus. Don’t miss the fun on December 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 6-8 p.m. www.newberrychristmas.com
4. Gingerbread House Competition
New to the holiday lineup of events this year is the first ever A Very Berry Christmas: Gingerbread House Competition. Professional and amateur bakers are encouraged to enter this competition for all ages. There are two categories of competition. “Newberry Village” entrants will enter to win the grand prize of $500, while our “Kids Village” entrants will be entering to win a gift certificate to classes at the Newberry Arts Center. “Newberry Village” competitors can be any age, but the “Kids Village” is only open to children ages six to sixteen. The gingerbread houses will be on display in the Newberry Opera House lobby beginning the morning of Dec. 2, where at 9 a.m. winners will be named at the free “Breakfast with Santa” event. Houses will remain on display through December 20.
5. Jaycees Christmas Parade
Held annually on the first Saturday in December, don’t miss the Newberry Jaycee’s Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. on Dec. 2. This year’s theme is “A Whoville Christmas,” and the Jaycees are asking all participants to bring out their inner “Who.” Who do you think we’ll see in the parade? Cindy Lou Who? The Grinch and his dog Max? The people of Whoville singing “Welcome Christmas?” A roast beast? However the floats are decorated don’t miss this event. Your heart may even grow three sizes more from the wholesome Christmas fun of this classic holiday parade. For more information and to apply to be in the parade contact Heather Danley at 803-530-2604 or Haley Stuhr at 864-430-8607.
6. Local Christmas Tree Farms & Nurseries
The Christmas season just isn’t complete without a visit to your local tree farm and taking a fresh cut beauty home to fill your house with the wonderful scents of pine. Newberry County offers two local tree farms in our area, Wicker’s Tree Farm and Shine & Lee’s Christmas Trees. Both locations offer visitors a chance to get a warm cup of cocoa or cider while wandering through their fields to find the perfect tree to adorn your home as well as fresh wreaths. Don’t miss their photo op locations. Chappells Nursery, in town, also offers fresh cut Fraser firs and fresh wreaths, as well as beautiful Christmas poinsettias and Wicker’s Greenhouse on U.S. 76 also offers a wide variety of poinsettias for the season. For details on these locations visit their websites: www.wickerschristmastreefarm.com, www.shineandleeschristmastrees.com, www.chappellsnursery.com, Wicker’s Greenhouse can be found on Facebook.
7. Santa’s Tour of Newberry
How does Santa Claus get around when he is without his reindeer? On a fire truck of course. Santa Claus will be touring some of Newberry’s neighborhoods by fire truck this holiday season to check in on our local children and make sure all are being good boys and girls before Christmas arrives. On Friday December 8, 15 and 22 from 5-6 p.m. watch for Santa to see if he drives past your front door. Santa will end each of his tours in Memorial Park to attend North Pole Nights. Stay tuned to our website for details. www.newberrychristmas.com
8. Tuba Christmas
Don’t miss this classic and unique Newberry event. Free and open to the public, Tuba Christmas features low bass horn players performing Christmas carols that have been specifically arranged for their instruments. The result is a sound that has been described to be like “that of a male vocal choir.” Tuba Christmas is an international event that takes place in most major cities, but Newberry’s is believed to be the largest in the state of South Carolina, bringing in 50 performers that offer the audience a full and rich sound. Tuba Christmas will be held at the Newberry College Music Building on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. www.newberrychristmas.com
9. Christmas Tour of Homes
The Christmas Tour of Homes is an annual event organized by the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce. It offers visitors a chance to take a self-guided tour of private homes of Newberry as well as a local church, fully decorated for the holiday season. This year’s tour includes the DeWalt House, an Antebellum era home owned by the Colonels Favors that features rooms showcasing Christmas traditions from the 1830s through the present, as well as a historic military camp on the front lawn. The tour continues to the 1920’s craftsmen home of the Cromer family that features newly refurbished rooms and transitional décor, high ceilings and heart pine floors. Additionally, the 1960’s era home of the Kopp family will be on the tour. This home was custom built for its original owners during the height of the mid-century design influence and features many family treasures and heirlooms. Finally, the tour will visit Central United Methodist Church in downtown, known for its beautiful and large stained glass windows from the Von Gerichten Brothers of Germany. To see the windows in their full effect be sure to make Central one of your first stops before sunset. The tour is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9 from 4-8 p.m. Call the Chamber at 803-276-4274 for tickets and details.
10. Newberry Opera House Christmas Shows and New Year’s Eve
The Newberry Opera House has hosted a stellar season so far in their 20th anniversary year, and Christmas is no exception. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the Newberry Opera House will host 15 holiday events including classic shows like Big Band Holiday with Wynton Marsalis, Carol of the King Irish Dance and the Nutcracker Ballet. Before the Nutcracker show visitors can even purchase an additional ticket for Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her court. Their holiday season ends with their annual New Year’s Eve Gala event featuring the Swinging Medallions, dancing, hors d’oeuvres and a countdown to the New Year under the clock tower, complete with fireworks. For details on these holiday events visit www.newberryoperahouse.com.
Mary Alex Kopp is the Tourism & Events coordinator with the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.