Once upon a time in Columbia, SC... This weekend, the capital city is alive with magical events and spectacular shows. Enjoy these 6 fantastical things to do listed below and browse our calendar of events for everything happening in "The New Southern Hot Spot!"



cirques & contests
Venture into the kaleidoscopic world of Varekai in a production that pays tribute to the nomadic soul. Push yourself to the limit in a half marathon and then, set your mouth on fire with 50 unique recipes of "famously hot" chili. Your taste buds won't be the only ones dancing. Tap your toes to tunes by Yo' Mama's Big Fat Booty Band. 
Cirque Du Soleil: Varekai at Colonial Life Arena Thursday & Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m. & 5 p.m.; $122-$29.50
42nd Governor's Cup Road Race at Gervais & Main Street Saturday 7:30 a.m.; $10-$80
28th Annual Chili Cook Off at Five Points Saturday noon-7 p.m.; free admission


local legends
Embark on a quest to uncover Main Street's art as merchants showcase the revitalized community from the Capital to Town Hall. Art, drink and be happy! Scour the Columbia Museum of Art on a scavenger hunt and learn a Rockwell-inspired dance at Arts & Draughts.
Arts & Draughts at Columbia Museum of Art Friday 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Members: $5, Non-members: $8 
First Thursdays at Main Street Thursday 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.; free admission



seasonal spirit & storybooks
Crank up the Christmas music! Over 50 crafters and vendors will kick off the holiday spirit. Or, dine with Alice and rub the genie's lamp in a magical world of princesses and fabled creatures from your favorite fairytales.
2014 Christmas Craft Show & Holiday Bazaar at Lexington Middle School Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.; free admission
Storybook Ball at Edventure Children's Museum Saturday 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.; $35
Down on the Farm Corn Maze at Clinton Sease Farm Friday - Sunday; $10



tales & traditions
Celebrate three years of arts on Main Street, admire the historical significance of renovated homes in Columbia and enlighten yourself on the heroic tales of Holocaust survivors with the events this weekend that remind us to appreciate our past.
3rd Anniversary Taste of Tapp's at Tapp's Art Center Saturday 7 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.; $15
The Palladium Society's Renovation Rodeo at Melrose Heights Neighborhood Thursday 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.; free for Palladium members, $5 for non-members
Voices of the Generations at Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center Sunday 6:30 p.m.; free admission


blues & brothers grimm
Indulge in soulful bluegrass, tasty brews & scrumptious BBQ to benefit homeless families in the Midlands. Then, explore a creepy candy house with a folk-inspired opera based on a beloved Brothers Grimm fairy-tale. 
Family Shelter Blues, Brews and BBQ at Doc's Barbeque Thursday 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; $45, $50 at the door
Opera at USC: Hansel & Gretel at Drayton Hall Friday - Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.; Students $7, USC Faculty/Staff, Military, Seniors $20, General Public $25
USC Dance Company: 20th Century Masterpieces at Koger Center for the Arts Thursday & Friday 7:30 p.m.; Students $12, USC Faculty/Staff, Military, Seniors $16, General Public $18



dawn of dinosaurs
Plunge into a voyage of mammoth proportions in the state museums' 4-D theater, the only permanent theater of its kind in S.C. Blasts of air, vibrating seats and water spray will convince you that a second ice age has begun, watch out for the dinosaurs!
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera at Columbia Museum of Art Friday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. & Sunday noon - 5 p.m.; $12
South Carolina State Museum has a variety of on-going exhibits Thursday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 1 - 5 p.m.; $5 - $7


For more things to do in Columbia, SC browse our calendar of events and listings of attractionsoutdoor things to dorestaurants and more. Book your hotel room and attractions tickets at columbiacvb.com/hotels/.