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An Aiken holiday tradition: Christmas in Hopelands offers lights, more in December

November 25, 2018

The 27th Annual Christmas in Hopelands event will transform Hopelands Gardens in Aiken this holiday season.

The city’s annual Hopelands Gardens holiday event will take place every night from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 15-23, 26. The event will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Christmas in Hopelands features over 100,000 twinkling lights over two miles of walking paths.

“Guests can spend time with friends and family as they stroll through Hopelands Gardens, taking in the sights and sounds of the holiday season, while sipping hot cocoa or apple cider,” according to a news release from the City of Aiken. “This enchanting walk-through exhibit features over two miles of lighted pathways and illuminated displays.”

The Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, The Doll House, Rye Patch, and the Rye Patch Stables will be open and decorated for visitors to enjoy.

The Rye Patch Stables feature the exhibit “Aiken’s Historic Horses.”

Complimentary refreshments will be served in the Hall of Fame courtyard and outside of the Guest Cottage near Rye Patch. S’more kits are available for purchase for $5 (cash only) at Rye Patch, where you can roast your marshmallows at the s’more pit.

Rye Patch will be the destination for fun holiday activities for children. On select nights, Santa or Mrs. Claus will be present to hear children’s Christmas wishes and take photos.

Children can write a letter to Santa or make a craft to take home. Parents must accompany children at all times. Rye Patch will also host a Labyrinth display where guests can learn more about the Labyrinth in Hopelands.

Live entertainment is provided each night, either on the Roland H. Windham Performing Arts Stage or throughout Hopelands Gardens when traditional Christmas caroling takes place.

Spectators should bring a blanket or use the natural amphitheater seating to enjoy the shows.

All guests should use the shuttle service to Hopelands available each night. Event parking will be located at Citizens Park, 1060 Banks Mill Road. A shuttle service will run from 5:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. The last shuttle to view Christmas in Hopelands leaves Citizens Park at 8:45 p.m.

General public parking is not allowed at Hopelands, Rye Patch, Fermata Club or The Green Boundary Club. Handicap parking is available at 135 Dupree Place. No animals are allowed on shuttle vehicles.

There is no cost to enter the event or to utilize the shuttle service.

While Christmas in Hopelands is a free event, donations are accepted and are used to help support the growth of the program. Donation boxes are located at each entrance. Donations may also be mailed to: City of Aiken Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department Christmas in Hopelands, P.O. Box 1177, Aiken, SC 29802.

In the case of inclement weather, Christmas in Hopelands may be canceled. Know before you go by calling the Rain Out Hotline at 803-643-4661 or sign up to receive text message updates by texting AIKREC to 84483.

If someone in your party needs to borrow a wheelchair to enjoy the program, call 803-642-7631 ahead of time to reserve one.

For more information about Christmas in Hopelands, call the PRT Department at 803-642-7631 or visit www.aikenismagical.com.

Christmas in Hopelands performance schedule:

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. each night.

• Dec. 15 — Harmony River Chorus

• Dec. 16 — Aiken Community Theatre Youth Wing

• Dec. 17 — Town Creek Baptist Church

• Dec. 18 — Bound to Sing & Aiken Kinderchoir

• Dec. 19 — Aiken Youth Orchestra

• Dec. 20 — M’Aiken Music Carolers

• Dec. 21 — Christ’s Way Christian Church Light Show

• Dec. 22 — Suzuki Strings of Augusta

• Dec. 23 — Josh Martin

• Dec. 26 — Christmas Classics with Brooke Lundy

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