Columbia’s Winter Wonderland event to kick off with ice skating rink grand opening

After months in the making, Experience Columbia’s annual Winter Wonderland event is officially set to begin this upcoming weekend, featuring an entire month of Christmas-themed festivities.

Starting Saturday, November 26, attendees will be invited to enjoy activities throughout Downtown Columbia, with one of the newest additions including an ice skating rink.

Construction on the rink first began in September, with festival officials holding the soft opening on November 19. Kristian Agoglia, owner of Looks Great Services & Helanbak, explained that although planning for the event continues throughout the entire year, physical construction for this year’s festival began in August.

“We tried to get started early this year because of what we wanted to try to accomplish with the event this year,” Agoglia said on Good Things with Rebecca Turner.

The official opening for the new ice skating rink will be this weekend, along with Columbia’s famous “Lighting of Downtown” event. To purchase tickets for the rink, click here.

Over 300,000 visitors from across the state are anticipated to attend the festival, as the annual winter event is widely known for its unique display of Christmas lights throughout the holiday season.

“The first year we saw it, the crowd, when they turned the lights on for the courthouse, the whole crowd gasped because it really was a beautiful sight with the dome and the lights on it,” Lori Watts, President of Marion Co. Development Partnership, stated. “I think from the moment the lights went on, we were like, ‘We’ve got to keep this up,’”

Other activities that will be available on Saturday includes the Candyland Express, Gingerbread Train, Ornament Ball, Icy Bumper Cars, and the Mega Tree.

Details regarding this year’s Mega Tree — which is also a new addition to the month-long festival — have not been released at this time, but the tree is expected to be decorated with hundreds of thousands of lights.

Here’s the full list of events scheduled until the start of the new year:

  • Saturday, November 26: Nativity Presentation, Lighting of Downtown
  • Thursday, December 1: DJ Don King – Dancing Through the Decades – 80s
  • Friday, December 2: Nativity Presentation
  • Saturday, December 3: Walt Massey Parade of Lights, Famous Christmas Coca-Cola Truck
  • Thursday, December 8: DJ Don King – Dancing Through the Decades – 90s
  • Friday, December 9: Nativity Presentation
  • Saturday, December 10: Nativity Presentation
  • Thursday, December 15: DJ Don King – Dancing Through the Decades – 00s
  • Friday, December 16: Nativity Presentation
  • Saturday, December 17: Nativity Presentation
  • Thursday, December 22: DJ Don King – Dancing Through the Decades – Finale
  • Friday, December 23: Famous Christmas Coca-Cola Truck, Nativity Presentation
  • Saturday, December 24: Nativity Presentation
  • Saturday, December 31: New Year’s Celebration

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