Traditions will mark the season Thursday night in Columbia as Shelter Insurance Co.'s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Village of Cherry Hill's Magic Tree continue their annual ceremonies.
This year will be the 54th annual Shelter Insurance ceremony and 25th annual Magic Tree ceremony.
Terry Hume, special events coordinator at Shelter Insurance, said that this ceremony's tree will be different than what has been done before.
"When we had our 50th anniversary of the tree lighting, we beefed up a couple of extra things," she said. "There’s going to be a special Christmas tree this year. … I’ll leave it at that."
West Middle School's seventh- and eighth-grade Viking Voices and eighth-grade Concert Band will provide holiday music at Shelter Insurance's presentation, according to a news release.
West Middle and Shelter Insurance have been in Columbia Public Schools' Partners in Education Program since the early 1980s, and West Middle has been participating in the ceremony since then.
"We’ve been with West Middle since the beginning, which is kinda cool," Hume said.
Santa Claus and his helpers will also visit Shelter Insurance's ceremony, bearing small gifts for children.
The Village of Cherry Hill's Magic Tree lighting will also feature a visit from Santa as well as face painters, balloon animals and food trucks, according to the event's Facebook page.
Columbia Independent School's choir and ShowMe Brass will perform at the Magic Tree lighting.
Both events are free and open to the public.