Sumter Poinsettia Festival “A Holiday Celebration”

When the weather turns cold and the decorations come down out of the attic it is time!  Now is the time to get ready for one of Sumter’s largest celebrations.  The Annual Sumter Poinsettia Festival in it’s seventh year is as spectacular as it has been in the past.  The most difficult decision I have for the next 17 to 18 days is figuring out how to get from one event to the next.  I don’t want to miss any of them! 

December 1-18 celebrates the season with a variety of holiday-themed events throughout the community.  The upcoming holiday season is known as the time approaches as Sumter’s annual Poinsettia Festival. 

The festivities have begun with the opening of the Fantasy of Lights on December 1, hosted by the City of Sumter and the Sumter Pilot Club.  For the entire month of December, the gardens come alive nightly with a display of twinkling holiday imagery created by more than one million lights.  Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in grand style on December 3, and on Fridays and Saturdays through December 18, visitors will have a chance to enjoy refreshments and live entertainment at Santa’s Village from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Many other exciting holiday programs will take place throughout the Sumter community, with some of the highlights including:

  • The annual lighting ceremony for Sumter County’s community Christmas Tree at the Sumter County Courthouse, followed by “A Walk with St. Nick” (December 3);
  • “The Nutcracker,” performed by the Columbia City Ballet (Patriot Hall, December 4);
  • Breakfast with Santa at the Sumter County Recreation Department (December 4);
  • The Holiday House Tour, hosted by the Sumter Council of Garden Clubs (various locations, December 4);
  • The Evening Optimist Club’s annual Christmas Parade (Main Street, December 5);
  • Morris College Chorale Christmas Concert presents a celebration in song free to the public (Neal-Jones Auditorium, December 5).
  • A FUN! Contemporary Tale of the Nutcracker featuring the Columbia City Jazz Dance Co. (Sumter Opera House, December 7).
  • SLT brings back Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol (December 9)


And the events just keep on coming!  December also features the live “ A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas” a much-loved favorite holiday performance at the Sumter Opera House performed by the Columbia Children’s Theatre (December 12).  Area churches will also celebrate the holidays with themed plays and live nativities, and the Sumter County Museum will host their annual “Carolina Backcountry Christmas” on December 11.

The Poinsettia Festival is named in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico and an avid botanist who is interred at the historic Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg. 

A printable brochure featuring a detailed listing of events is available online at  For more information, please call the Swan Lake Visitors Center at (803) 436-2640 or 1-800-688-4748.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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