Annual Events




Aw shucks! Fire roasted oysters from the South Carolina coast and meat from Carolina Heritage Farms are served up all day at the Annual Oyster & Pig Roast on City Roots Farm. Live music, libations, and local chefs, what else could you need? 

The University of South Carolina proudly celebrates the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, paying tribute to the enduring impact and principles of a visionary who emphasized, "What are you doing for others?" Join countless volunteers nationwide in actively serving your community.

If holiday hosting has you burnt out on cooking, then let Restaurant Week save you from more time spent at the stove. Pop in at participating locations for special prix fixe menus that allow you to try something new or revisit an old favorite without wearing out your wallet.




Laissez les bons temps rouler at Mardi Gras Columbia, grab your beads and walk in the parade then head to City Roots for an all-day music festival. Sponsored by Louisiana-based Abita Brewing Company, enjoy some drinks and Cajun cuisine and of course, King Cake.

Join hundreds others at the parade down Harden Street for the 19th Annual Black History Parade and Festival. Then, head over to MLK Park for the statewide celebrated party filled with live music, vendors, and more. Be sure to bring your kiddos along, there’s educational games and entire kid zone just for them (and you).

The Jewish Film Festival is an intentional showcase of Jewish culture, history, and contemporary life through the medium of film. It features a curated selection of compelling movies that explore diverse aspects of the Jewish experience. This annual event serves as a platform to foster dialogue, understanding, and appreciation for Jewish storytelling and cinema within the local community.




For over 30 years, a special part of the city gets more green than usual for St. Pat’s in Five Points, one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day festivals in the Southeast. Featuring a daylong lineup of bands, a fun run, and a wee bit o’ parade in the morning, this festival has a little something for everyone.

Dust off those kilts and bagpipes and head to the weekend long festival honoring Celtic culture and heritage, The Tartan Day South Festival. Showcasing the traditions of Ireland, Scotland, and England, through music, athletics, and dancing, this background will be the perfect place to honor your lineage and learn more about history. Sip on a Guiness while watching classic sheep dog herding or place your bets on sword fights.

What better way to bring in the spring season than with blooming flowers? At the Columbia Museum of Art, Art Blossoms is a four-day-weekend filled with botanical beauties for the whole family to enjoy. With floral demonstrations, interpretations of classic works of art, and art classes, you'll want to don your best pastels and florals here. 




While it’s typical of The Vista to be buzzing, it comes alive with extra vibrancy during Artista Vista each spring when the galleries keep their doors open later and public art spills out into the streets to bring culture into reach for everyone. 

Believe it or not, our city is a melting pot of cultures. Nothing showcases that aspect more than the annual Columbia International Festival, bringing together the foods, songs, dances, clothing, and more of the people who make up the Midlands.

Speaking of festivals, The Columbia Food and Wine Festival highlights the Midlands’ growing culinary scene. This five-day, food-filled fest has grown and gained the attention of the entire region so you won't want to miss it.

Bark to the Park is Pawmetto Lifeline's spring fundraiser to help homeless pets. Each year, more than 800 people and their dogs come out for one of the largest dog-friendly events in the Midlands. After a leisurely, scenic walk with your dog, participants can enjoy an After-Pawty with pet-friendly vendors, pet contests, craft beer, live-music, face painting and more!

Cheers to 35 years celebrating the Harambee Festival at Benedict College. This is a signature event in Columbia and promises an immersive experience in history, arts, culture, and humanities through captivating stage performances, a Children’s Learning Village, Women’s and Men’s Villages, diverse merchandise vendors, and mouthwatering cuisine. 

Dining on the dam? That is correct! The Lexington Chamber & Visitor's Center is excited to host another year of the annual event: Dining on the Dam. It is one of Lexington's most iconic events with over 1,200 guests from the Midlands and beyond coming together for food, drinks, live music, and games on the Lake Murray Dam. 

A day for the kiddos! Kid's Day of Lexington aims to create a better community by educating and caring for families with love, honesty, and laughter. Their kid-dedicated day is full of learning, laughing, eating, and more fun. 

The Governor’s Cup is a Columbia tradition, and one of the oldest continually conducted road races in the Southeast. The 5k and half marathon courses are designed to showcase the city’s most beautiful attractions, making for running views that are tough to beat.

Bring your lawn chair and join a fun-filled day at the Lower Richland Sweet Potato Festival. Enjoy pie contests, food, arts & crafts, dancers, games, and more. 

Sip a variety of domestic and imported wines, sample light bites from local restaurants, taste an array of micro-brews, and listen to live music at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden's annual Wine Tasting.





It might sound like blasphemy, but crawfish are kind of a big deal around here – at least during the Rosewood Crawfish Festival. With 10,000 pounds of crawfish and a healthy dose of other Cajun and Southern favorites and a day full of live music make this a Capital City party your tribe won’t want to miss.

The weather is warming up and so are the food trucks at the Annual South Carolina Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival. Over 30 trucks congregate at the State Fair Grounds with a plethora of options from vegan eats to snow cones to everything in between.

Step into the pulsating world of the Black Expo—an economic catalyst empowering minority-owned businesses. This vibrant platform fosters partnerships between African American entrepreneurs, major corporations, and government bodies while celebrating cultural diversity. It's a dynamic blend of business opportunities and cultural enrichment, creating an electric atmosphere that educates, inspires, and drives community growth.

With over 2,000 species found world-wide, Congaree National Park hosts three unique species of synchronous fireflies for about two weeks from mid-May to mid-June annually, offering visitors a mesmerizing display of synchronized flashing as the fireflies seek mates. We love our fireflies, so in order to protect the firefly habitat and provide optimum visitor experience, be sure to enter your family in the lottery operated by the National Park Service to obtain a ticket.

"Wine" down at the annual Lexington Wine Walk where you and indulge in unlimited wine tastings at the local Icehouse Amphitheater. 




While we're not a coastal town, when it comes to shrimp & grits there are lots to be had in Columbia SC. Find out who has the best and enjoy live music at the Columbia Shrimp and Grits Fest.

Experience the glamour and artistry of Fashion Week in Columbia, SC! Join us for a showcase of cutting-edge designs, trendsetting styles, and the vibrant pulse of the fashion industry.

With the mission of remembering and emphasizing freedom and achievements of African Americans, the Juneteenth Freedom Fest hosts a celebration with live performances, vendors, and family fun. 

Outfest Columbia highlights the LGBT community in our capital city featuring local talent, vendors, and businesses to honor their contributions during Pride Month.

Immerse yourself in a week-long celebration of piano excellence at the Southeastern Piano Festival! Enjoy intensive training sessions, mesmerizing concerts, and a prestigious piano competition. This event, led by passionate leaders, offers inspiration and entertainment for aspiring talents, music enthusiasts, and educators.

The annual Southern Guitar Festival and Competition in Carolina unites top-tier guitarists to inspire and educate music enthusiasts. This multi-day event features concerts, workshops, lectures, and international competitions catering to diverse guitar styles. 




Locals know that no matter what day of the week July 4th falls on, the Lexington County Peach Festival will happen, rain or shine. This long-running celebration of America and one of South Carolina’s top crops, the peach, brings people of all ages out for a parade, dozens of peach treats, and a fireworks show to top it off.

Follow the locals to Lake Murray for the annual Lake Murray Fireworks Celebration on July 4th. Catch the parade of boats embellished with their patriotism during the day, then the dazzling displays light up the night sky and are reflected in the water’s rippling surface making this show one to plan for.

Independence Day celebration at Fort Jackson is sure to be an unforgettable day filled with live music, dazzling fireworks, and patriotic festivities for the whole family.




The Main Street Latin Festival spices up the city with an authentic street fair that celebrates the huge impact that Latino culture has on South Carolina. Attendees can get a real taste of the variety of Hispanic culture that infuses our lives.

Sip, savor, and explore at Brew at the Zoo for the coolest sippin' safari in town. This unique evening at Riverbanks Zoo is full of a variety of imports, domestics and micro-brews, live entertainment all while perusing the wildlife exhibits. 

Soda City Comic Con is the premiere comic event in the Midlands. With over 150 artists, vendors, guests and cosplayers, there's something for every member of your family! We encourage you to come see how amazing pop culture can be!

Each year, South Carolina Black Pride draws in thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, + (LGBTQ+) people and their allies from across the state as well as North Carolina and Georgia to attend our pride week events in Columbia, South Carolina, that promote diversity, unity, and culture.




While okra may be overlooked in other cities, it inspires a whole lot of family-friendly fun and a whole lot of fried okra at the Irmo Okra Strut. With a carnival-like atmosphere, parade, and live music, the Okra Strut is a staple for this northwest Columbia suburb.

Experience Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture with Historic Columbia, which brings together artisans, dancers, storytellers, and musicians to celebrate the deeply interwoven ties of African American history in our city.

Columbia’s Greek Festival is an annual four-day event hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Columbia, SC. The Greek Festival is an opportunity to share our Greek culture in delicious food, dance and music with our community.





Get out of the city and head to Congaree Swamp Fest near Congaree National Park for music, kiddie rides, and shuttles to SC’s only national park. Bring the immediate family, the extended family, and the friends of family – this free event is rooted in kinship and homegrown hospitality.

The city brightens up and paints the town rainbow for the weekend of the Famously Hot SC Pride Festival. It’s an epicenter for entertainment with dynamite performers – think Lil’ Kim & Jordin Sparks as past headliners. Combine that with a parade and a positive, creative culture and you’ve got a recipe for breaking attendance records every year.

Considered by many to be a signature Columbia music festival, Jam Room Music Festival encompasses food trucks, beer trucks, and live music featuring genres form bluegrass to heavy metal. It all comes together as a free street festival on Main Street

While Columbians love having a good time, locals are also just as eager to step up for a good cause. The Palmetto Health Foundation’s Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon is the pinnacle event for breast cancer research in the Midlands and offers distances for beginners to half marathoners.

Fried Oreos, rides, carnival games, and bright, Insta-worthy photos mean it's time for the South Carolina State Fair. This Columbia tradition is a statewide celebration of family fun and getting back to being a kid. Be sure to check out their concert lineup and what deep-friend concoction will be created this year.

It’s time to get ready for the wildest trick-or-treating event, Boo at the Zoo. Bring the kiddos to the zoo dressed in costumes and ready for a special trick-or-treating experience among the animals.

Experience your deepest fears... as they are brought to life at Deceased Farm. Take yourself and your friends on a self-guided tour though 6 terrifying buildings, 3 intense outdoor areas, and, of course, creepy corn fields. 

The Gervais Street Bridge Dinner has become the marquee event for the Columbia Metropolitan area -- guests attend from near and far, boundaries are pushed in a continuous quest to surprise and delight, and money is raised for local charities that work hard to make Columbia a better place to live, work, and play. 

Indulge in the Great American Whiskey Fair accompanied by 300+ whiskeys from the US and beyond! Get sipping, mingling, and munching on BBQ delights while rubbing shoulders with whiskey gurus—all in one ticket, including access to the Cigar Veranda with extra fees (unless you fancy a cigar!).

Rock out to cover performances of Jerry Garcia's music at JerryFest. Jerry Garcia was best known as the lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead, and their last performance in Columbia was on Halloween 1985. Located in Five Points, you'll be sure to get a glimpse of what the 1985 performance was really like.

Incarnation Lutheran Church is hosting Oktoberfest in Columbia! Enjoy German beer, homemade food, live music, and activities for the kids—it's going to be a blast.

Get ready for the ultimate street party at Devine Street's Palmetto Peanut Boil. Taste-test a variety of boiled peanut flavors, join the competition for the Best Boiled Peanut, and groove to live music—it's a blast for the whole family.




A Devine Night Out comes just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season. Full of upscale shopping and some of the city’s best bites, use this time to find unique gifts for friends and family and yourself on this chic stretch of street in the Shandon neighborhood.

When there’s a chill in the air, take in the Holiday Lights on the River display, starting in November and running through December. Stay in the warmth of your car with hot chocolate and snacks as you wind through the sparkly displays. Pro tip: sync your car radio up to their station to listen along to tunes that match the show.

The Vista starts to shimmer with a little extra light at Vista Lights - a kickoff to the holiday season that highlights the best of The Vista’s art galleries and retail shops, plus brings merriment in the form of great bites and sips.

'Tis the season for Fireflies Holiday Lights. The favored Midlands holiday tradition returns with millions of lights illuminating the baseball field turned winter wonderland. 

The Governor's Carolighting is a beloved event in Columbia. It heralds the official start of South Carolina's yuletide season with the lighting of the State's Christmas Tree in front of the State House. The program features performances from artists from across South Carolina, the Governor's seasonal message and more!

Take a fresh take on the holiday lights with Wild Lights at Riverbanks Zoo. Larger than life animal lanterns will shine a light on nature like never before. Plus all your favorites, brilliant Zoo lights, photo opportunities, nightly snow, and the cozy jingle bell bonfire — a popular spot for toasting marshmallows and sipping hot cocoa.

Get ready for shucking good times at Columbia's biggest outdoor oyster roast—the Oyster Festival! Dive into oyster shooters, fried oysters, and slurp-worthy oyster gumbo while sipping on cold brews and savoring other delicious bites in the shell-ebration!




South Carolina's oldest holiday tradition is The Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade, held the first weekend in December. Marching down Sumter St. leading the way for Santa is cloggers, ballerinas, marching bands and dozens of beautiful floats. 

The magic of the holiday season comes alive at the Carolina Lights downtown drive-through light show. The drive-through light experience will feature more than 100 stunning individual LED light displays at the SC State Fairgrounds

Get into the holiday spirit with slam dunks and hoops action at the annual Chick-Fil-A Classic basketball tournament. Proceeds help provide scholarships to deserving students in the Great Columbia area. 

Holiday Market is the largest fundraiser for the Junior League of Columbia. Each year, thousands of shoppers visit the South Carolina State Fairgrounds to find the perfect gifts from nearly 170 merchants and take part in the Ladies Night Out event, the festive Holiday Ball, and a chance to snap the perfect picture with Santa during Sundaes with Santa.

AB Variation: