Published on November 6th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


30th Anniversary of Vista Lights

Entertainment, a Tree Lighting, Special Offers and More as the Vista Guild Kicks Off the Midlands Holiday Season

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 30th annual Vista Lights, the Congaree Vista’s signature open house, kicks off the holiday season on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, from 5-9 p.m. with artistic performances, live music, dancing, shopping, dining and the annual Vista tree lighting at 7 p.m.

More than 90 galleries, shops and restaurants will open their doors to showcase their holiday treasures before the Vista’s tree lighting with Mayor Steve Benjamin and Major General Roger Cloutier, Jr., of Fort Jackson. Attendees should gather around the stage and tree at Gervais and Lincoln Streets by 6:30 p.m. to see holiday music and dance performances, including:

– Trustus Theatre

– St. Peter’s Catholic School Choir

– The Dance Floor

– Oraki Dance Company

– Unbound Dance Company

– Unleashed Hip Hop Company

– Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker Ballet Bon Bons

At 7 p.m., the tree lighting will also include a special tree topper designed and made by Clark Ellefson, Vista artist and pioneer to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Vista Lights.

Following the tree lighting, children can come on stage and have their photos taken with Elsa from Frozen, and Mark Rapp Jazz Quartet will play throughout the evening. The 282nd Army Band Victory Brass Quintet will also perform and roam throughout the Vista all evening.

New this year:

– Members of the military and Fort Jackson and their families are invited to a VIP area outside of Blue Marlin (1200 Lincoln Street) to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres during Vista Lights.

– The Vista Guild will offer wristbands to Vista Lights attendees who are 21 and older to purchase beer, which will be for sale in the Whit-Ash parking lot off of Gervais Street between Lincoln and Park streets.

– Attendees can also purchase hot chocolate, sold by the Vista Guild, for $2, also in the Whit-Ash parking lot.

– Harvest Hope will accept canned goods and donations for SC flood relief at Gervais and Lincoln streets.

Throughout the night, many businesses will offer complimentary beverages, hors d’oeuvres and shopping discounts. Vista Lights attendees are invited to stroll through the Vista’s art galleries and businesses, restaurants and bars on this festive evening.

“We’re so excited about what our Vista Guild members and neighborhood shops, galleries, restaurants, retailers and businesses are doing this year to get everyone in the spirit of the holiday season,” said Meredith Atkinson, executive director of the Congaree Vista Guild. “We have a great lineup of holiday entertainment and a fabulous show leading up to our annual tree lighting at 7 p.m. We’re encouraging everyone to stroll through the Vista taking advantage of special offers and discounts at our neighborhood’s businesses.”

After the tree lighting, Vista Lights attendees are encouraged to stay on and enjoy the Vista’s nightlife with specials in many of the bars and restaurants.

Mix and mingle and find Vista Lights-only specials with these participating businesses:

Shop (locally) ‘til you drop:

· One Eared Cow Glass (1001 Huger St.): Watch artists in live glass-blowing demonstrations.

· The Backpacker Quality Gear (1215 Wayne St.): Offering refreshments and 15 percent discounts on all regularly priced merchandise as well as free gift wrapping. Shop to the bluegrass of Double Trouble.

· Imagine This Boutique (717 Lady St., Ste. C). Enjoy light bites and wine with 15 percent discounts on select items.

· Urban Outfitters (912 Gervais St.): Get your holiday shopping started early at Urban Outfitters.

· River Runner Outdoor Center (905 Gervais St.): Enjoy apple cider by the Vista tree and 10 percent discounts on merchandise and free gift wrapping.

· Whit-Ash Furnishings (919 Gervais St.): Offering light refreshments and hot cider and discounts found throughout the store.

· City Art (1224 Lincoln St.): Feautring original handmade jewelry by Cindi Saad and the main gallery exhibit, “US: A Civil War, artwork by Dan Smith.”

· Lewis+Clark (1001 Huger St.): Featuring Clark Ellefson’s studio and reent work including handmade modern lighting, robots and tinwear in a show called, “Incandescent Activities and Metallic Fabrications.” Serving refreshments.

· Ellen Taylor Interiors (1012 Gervais St.): Offering refreshments and exhibiting new paintings by Ellen Taylor Interiors artists. Also showing new furniture and accessories.

· Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 (808 Lady St.): Studio artists present “Vista Studios @ 25, new and collaborative work,” where studio artists have created new work and many of them have chosen to collaborate with other artists, family members, students or musicians for one piece.

Mix and mingle:

· ByFarr (504 ½ Gervais St.): Will offer letterpress demonstrations, stationery sales and showing vintage Christmas movies on the brick wall facing Huger Street. Offering an open air marketing in the grass lot facing Huger Street with several food vendors and live music.

· The Dance Floor (717 Lady St.): Serving refreshmets and offering special discounts for holiday party rentals. Visitors will be entered to win free classes.

· Regions Bank (1010 Gervais St.): Enjoy Christmas carols by the St. Thomas More Parish Choir and find giving opportunities with Sistercare. Enjoy a Copper Horse Distilling liquor tasting and caramel corn and candy canes.

· Studio Cellar (912 Lady St.): Serving complementary wine and light hors d’oeuvres and live painting by resident artists with underground international music.

· Strategic Staffing (801 Gervais St.): Featuring “Cigars and Cocktails,” live music, drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Eat, drink and be merry:

· Blue Marlin (1200 Lincoln St.): Offering samples of Blue Marlin’s famous shrimp and grits under the Lincoln St. canopy and a special VIP area for military families.

· Carolina Ale House (708 Lady St.): Just Another Distraction with Amanda Reigle will perform on the rooftop from 5-7 p.m. and the Big DM radio will be on location from 8 – 11 p.m. Offering drink specials all evening.

· Kaminsky’s (930 Gervais St.): Offering assorted cupcakes, various sweet treats and hot Kaminsky’s coffee.

· Longhorn Steakhouse (902 Gervais St.): Selling beer and wine outdoors and offering free hot chocolate and s’mores on Gervais Street at the firepit.

· Mellow Mushroom (1009 Gervais St.): Specials on Highland Brewery beers from Asheville, N.C., including Gaelic Ale, Thunderstruck Coffee Porter and Oatmeal Porter on draft.

· Pearlz (936 Gervais St.): Offering seafood gumbo, pulled pork sliders and draft beer on the street in front of the restaurant.

· SakiTumi (807 Gervais St.): Check out a DJ in the SakiTumi alleyway with an outdoor bar with samples of food and craft beers. Also selling beer and wine.

· Salsarita’s (916 Gervais St.): Offering specials on nachos, burrito bowls, chips and queso, chips and salsa, margaritas and domestic and import beers.

· Starbuck’s (831 Gervais St.): Sample holiday beverages and enjoy special decorations.

· World of Beer (902 Gervais St.): Featuring holiday beers, including Delirium Noel and Anchor Christmas, along with Belgian waffle s’mores, and German pretzel appetizer specials.

· 302 Artisans at Senate’s End (302 Senate St.): Serving hot tea and tastings of SC Certified food products. Also a dropoff site for Toys for Tots.

Fun for all ages:

· Rita’s Italian Ice (800 Lady St.): Offering Italian ice, popcorn and hot chocolate for $1. Also offering activities for kids, including music, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.

· The Peanut Man (1215 Lincoln St.): Offering free warm praline samples, discounts on holiday gift orders and live music. Children under age 12 can decorate ornaments.

· Cupcake (1213 Lincoln St.): Enjoy a special cupcake just for Vista Lights.

Revel and relax:

· Bliss Massage Therapy (at Nonnah’s, 923 Gervais): Enjoy relaxing chair massages with free gifts and a chance to win a free massage.

· BLO II (1312 Pulaski Street): Serving light hors d’oeuvres and tours of the salon with BLO technicians.

· Capelli Salon (701 Gervais St.): Offering refreshments and enter drawings for giveaways.

· Glowout Salon (1202 Park St.): Braids, bubbly & bites. Visit one of the Vista’s newest salon/spas and enjoy discounts on products, gift certificates and services and a hot chocolate bar.

· Pura (807 Gervais St.): Offering hot chocolate and wine and chances to book holiday appointments and purchase gift cards.

· Southeastern Esthetics Institute (823 Gervais St.): Offering student facials, waxing and airbrush tanning with services from $10-20. Also enter to win gift cards for future services.

· Studio O2 (801 Gervais St.): Live acoustic music, appetizers, a Topper’s Rhum tasting and a complimentary oxygen bar along with Glomineral lipstick applications and enter to win Studio O2’s holiday giveaway.

· Occo Luxury Spa (1218 Pulaski St.): Offering mini manicures, brow services at the brow bar, a braid bar by Metropolis Salon and Dry Bar and chair massages. Wine tastings from Vino Garage, complimentary champagne, food provided by M Grille.

Free parking is available in Vista garages at 820 Washington Street and behind the Hilton Hotel. Gervais Street, from Assembly to Gadsden, will close to automobile traffic at 6 p.m. and reopen at 10 p.m.

Special thanks to Vista Lights 2015 sponsors, including: Long’s Drugs, Republic National Distributing Company, Arnold Companies, Carolina International Trucks, Grace Outdoor, Stella Artois, Schroeder’s Towing, Columbia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, 701 Whaley, Grill Marks, NAI Avant, Carolina Ale House, Regions Bank, Vista Studios 80808, Columbia Fireflies and River Runner Outdoor Center.

To learn more about Vista Lights 2015 and keep up with the growing list of happenings, visit Follow @VistaGuild on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, using #VistaLights15 or e-mail or call (803) 269-5946.


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