Florence Tree Lighting

Santa Claus addresses a crowd gathered for the 25th Annual City-County Christmas Tree Lighting Dec. 7, 2018, at the Florence County Complex in Florence.

FLORENCE, S.C. — The holiday season will begin in Florence on Friday evening.

The lighting of the city’s Christmas tree and the arrival of Santa Claus are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Florence County Complex. Then, the 100 block West Evans Street will play host to the third annual Downtown Christmas Magic celebration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Christmas Magic celebration will feature live bands, free ice skating and a 35-foot SnowZilla Arctic Slide, according to an announcement from the city.

The bands that will be featured for 30-minute increments on the Holly Jolly Main Stage at the corner of Evans and Dargan Streets include St. Anthony Catholic Middle School Choir, Palmetto Youth Academy, Palmetto Street Church of God, and TUBAChristmas. TUBA Christmas will be featured beginning at 8:30 p.m. after a break to announce the winners of the holiday window-decorating contest.

Florence Tree Lighting

More than 100 people were on hand Friday evening for the 25th Annual City-County Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, Dec. 7, 2018 outside the Florence County Complex in Florence. The event featured the musical group Pure Harmony, speeches and a visit from Santa Claus.

The ice rink will be across from Hotel Florence in the 100 block of West Evans and ice skates will be provided at no charge.

The celebration will also feature a Jingle and Mingle Kids Zone with Santa and Mrs. Claus along with free activities for the children.

Attendees can compete in an ugly sweater contest — with a $50 Visa gift card on the line — at 7:30 p.m. at Reflection Images by Tracy Rowell.

Snow is forecast for the breezeway on West Evans Street, and attendees can also enjoy free hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows.

The downtown merchants will have extended shopping hours and there will be an outdoor night holiday market with vendors selling holiday gift items and food vendors including B & B Outdoors, Erica’s LLC, Lowcountry Kettle Corn and Sunshine’s Sweet Creations.

Admission is free compliments of downtown Florence, presenting sponsor South Carolina Credit Union, Duke Energy, Willcox Buyck and Williams P.A., the Edward Jones office of Wendell Jones and Caroline Toniolo, Mandy Simpson State Farm and WBTW TV-13.

For more information, visit www.florencedowntown.com or call the Downtown Florence Development Office at 843-678-5912.

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