The Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association’s 25th annual Christmas Show and Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held Sunday evening, Nov. 19.
The annual DORA Christmas program traditionally serves as a kick-off to the holiday season and features a night of music and fellowship at the Stevenson Auditorium. The event is free.
This year’s theme is “The Christmas Star.” The entertainment will get under way in the Stevenson at 6:30 p.m.
“DORA enjoys hosting the annual Christmas kick-off in partnership with the City of Orangeburg,” DORA Executive Director Candice Roberson said. “This honored event is what makes our community unique. We look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors downtown on Sunday, Nov. 19 as we prepare to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We would love for this event to become a Christmas tradition for families.”
Program participants will include the Dickens Carolers from Northside Baptist Church, the High Steppin' Cloggers, the Orangeburg Civic Ballet and pianist Mark Carson.
Carson, an instructor at the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, will also have several of his students performing at the event including Curtis Foskey, Brantley Thompson, Lucius J. Craig and Arden Elise Craig.
In addition, students from Orangeburg Christian Academy will perform, along with Queen of Roses Annsley Judy and Eden Graves Irilli, who was named DORA’s second Orangeburg Idol.
"This year's program is directed by Meredith Garris, who currently serves as chairperson of DORA's Promotions Committee," Roberson said.
Dr. Shane Stutzman, senior pastor of Northside Baptist Church, will deliver a message during the program.
DORA and the Orangeburg Department of Parks and Recreation are sponsoring the tree lighting event, which will take place at about 7:45 p.m. at Memorial Plaza. The rain location will be in Stevenson Auditorium.
Complimentary hot chocolate will be served. Roberson said the city has not yet named the person who will deliver this year's Christmas blessing.
This year the downtown area and the Kid’s Walk and Children’s Garden Christmas lights will be lit at the same time. There will not be a separate lighting ceremony for the Children’s Garden Christmas and Kids Walk at Edisto Memorial Gardens on the Monday following the Nov. 19 ceremony.
Dr. Tommy Gue and his wife, Mary Sims, will light the downtown area and the Kid’s Walk and Children’s Garden Christmas this year. Dr. Gue opened his practice in Orangeburg in 1972. He and his wife attend First Baptist Church, where they have served in several capacities over the years. The couple were also helpful in the establishment of the city’s fine arts program.
Dr. Gue remains active and continues to enjoy sports, including playing tennis and watching Clemson football.
Orangeburg Parks and Recreation Director Shaniqua Simmons said the joy of the season will be extended through the Children's Garden Christmas and Kid's Walk, when Edisto Memorial Gardens will sparkle with more than a million lights.
“We will start at the lower end by the Veterans Memorial Park and people can go all the way up to the Arts Center off of Riverside Drive to see all of the displays. They can either drive or park in the upper or lower parking lot and walk the inside of the Gardens,” Simmons said.
The Children’s Garden Christmas and Kids’ Walk will be on display from 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 3, 2018. Admission is free.
During that time, Riverside Drive through Edisto Memorial Gardens will be limited to one-way traffic from the Lady Fountain on Russell Street to the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
“Parks and Recreation provides a quality of life for the citizens inside and outside of Orangeburg. So, we want people to come and enjoy the Gardens and spend time with family and friends in the holiday season,” Simmons said.
Santa will be at the Centennial Park Gazebo in Edisto Memorial Gardens, but the dates of his appearance have not yet been set.
Simmons said, “We’re working on the dates for Santa."