Charleston will celebrate the holiday season this December with the lights and sounds of Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston. The festivities include the Annual Holiday Parade beginning at Colonial Lake and ending at Marion Square on Sunday, December 4. Following the Holiday Parade on Sunday afternoon, Marion Square will remain in full holiday spirit with a musical extravaganza that culminates in the lighting of the 64-foot tree of lights at Marion Square.
Presented by the City of Charleston, Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston offers family-oriented activities and performances that capture the spirit of the season for everyone in the community. Marion Square is the site of Charleston’s Official Holiday Tree and holiday entertainment stage. The park will be beautifully decorated and lit up for the holidays, including the 64-foot Tree of Lights, a Chanukah Menorah and a Kwanzaa Kinara.
Highlights of the Holiday Magic program include:
Annual Charleston Holiday Parade
Sunday, December 4 – 2 PM: Colonial Lake to Marion Square
This holiday tradition is better than ever as bands, floats, marchers and performers parade through downtown Charleston. The parade travels East on Broad St. and North on King St. With over 100 registered groups, the parade is led by Mayor Tecklenburg, Fire Chief Karen Brack, and members of Charleston City Council and concludes with an appearance from Santa Claus.
Annual City of Charleston Tree Lighting Ceremony
Sunday, December 4 – Concert Program from 4:30pm (Tree to be lit shortly before 6pm)
Join the holiday jubilee with a musical extravaganza featuring performances from musicians and arts organizations throughout Charleston that will culminate in the lighting of the magnificent 64-foot Holiday Tree of Lights, the official City of Charleston Christmas tree in Marion Square. The concert program will begin at 4:30pm with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra offering a lineup of big band holiday selections. For a full list of participants, visit CharlestonArts.org.
Please note the tree lighting is on Sunday evening this year.
Student Performance Day
Friday, December 9—10AM - 4PM
Enjoy a variety of holiday performances from local student groups and visit with Santa.
Annual Holiday Parade of Boats
Saturday, December 10 – 5 PM: Charleston Harbor
Head to the water for a Lowcountry holiday tradition as this display of lighted and festive boats proceeds through the Charleston Harbor. View the procession along Charleston’s waterfront or decorate your own boat and join the parade. Presented in partnership with the Charleston Sail and Power Squadron.
Holiday Market in Marion Square
December 3&4, 10&11, 17&18 — Saturdays and Sundays 9 AM- 3 PM: Marion Square
A wide assortment of art, crafts and holiday gift items will complement the regular Charleston Farmers Market vendors during the holiday markets. You’ll find everything you need to deck the halls for the holidays and fill the pantry with local goodies, all from local farmers, growers, artisans and crafters with items including natural wreaths, fresh greenery, artisan breads, cookies and a limited supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bring your wish lists to the North Pole mailbox and cameras for a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Kwanzaa Kinara Lighting
Monday, December 26 – 5 PM: Marion Square
Charleston marks the first night of Kwanzaa with a special ceremony lighting the first candle of the Kwanzaa Kinara in a celebration for the entire community. Participants will enjoy the music and movement of drummers and dancers alongside readings and remarks from Lowcountry Kwanzaa leaders. Presented in partnership with the Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee.
Chanukah in the Square
Thursday, December 29 – 4-6 PM: Marion Square
A free, festive party for everyone; featuring music, dancing, and the lighting of the nine foot Menorah by Charleston’s Holocaust survivors. Visitors can enjoy crafts and treats, including latkes and other traditional Chanukah foods. Presented in partnership with the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston and Chabad of Charleston – Center for Jewish Life.
Happy New Year, Charleston!
Saturday, December 31st – 4-10 PM: Marion Square
This free to the public celebration offers a family friendly, non-alcoholic event featuring kid friendly activities, including karaoke. The program continues after dark with high-energy performances from local bands and unique lighting displays to help ring in 2017.
All events are admission free. For a full schedule of Holiday Magic events, please visit charlestonarts.org
or call (843) 724-7305.
The City of Charleston offers free two hour parking vouchers for participating garages. Visit us online at charlestonarts.org
for more information and to download and print the parking voucher.