Here Come the Holidays

Making moods merry and bright


Photo by E. Schafer

Spartanburg’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in front of the Denny’s building which is also lit up for Christmas.

Ellie Schafer, Viking Voices Co-Editor

With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is just around the corner, and Spartanburg is getting into the holiday spirit. The city is known for setting up an ice-skating rink every Winter on Morgan square in the heart of downtown Spartanburg. In 2020, due to the COVID-19, ice skating on the square was canceled. Last year it was replaced by a carousel.

This holiday season, Spartanburg has rented out a huge Ferris wheel for the community to enjoy! There will be no charge for admission and no limit to how many times a visitor can ride. The Ferris wheel will give riders a new perspective on the holidays this year. Perhaps the bird’s eye view will even bring the grinches into the holiday spirit. Opening night for the Ferris wheel is the city’s annual Dickens of a Christmas festival.

Dickens of a Christmas is a huge event cast in the Victorian era held in downtown Spartanburg. This year, it will take place from 6-9 p.m. on December 7. Walking down the streets, visitors can admire live window displays, ride in horse drawn carriages or the polar express train, and take in a live nativity scene. There is also a Christmas market with lots of local artisans and businesses represented.  The Market is a great place to get unique holiday gifts.

All along the streets, businesses set up craft areas for kids and snacks for passersby, like s’mores, hot chocolate, and cookies! In front of the Denny’s corporate building, guests can wait to watch the lighting of the large, radiant Christmas tree covered in lights. Carolers dressed in Victorian-age outfits serenade visitors, as do local school choirs and bands.

Lawson Kyle (12) is a part of the Spartanburg High Schools jazz band who performed for Dickens of a Christmas last year and will perform again this year. He enjoyed adding to the cheerful holiday atmosphere.

“I have performed in Dickens! I honestly really enjoyed getting to perform for the public. I think it can create a positive, joyful atmosphere for both players and viewers alike,” Kyle said.

Another annual tradition is put on by Ballet Spartanburg — the Nutcracker. Families flood Converse University’s Twitchell Auditorium every year to watch this most beloved holiday ballet. This year the much-anticipated performance will be held Dec. 9-11 with shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Selena Dinacci (12) has gone to see the Nutcracker ballet 4 years in a row. It is a tradition she enjoys doing with her friends every year around the holidays. Dinacci loves to see her friends perform in the fairy tale dance.

“I’ve tried going every year since around ninth grade, especially now since some of my friends have roles in the Spartanburg Ballet program. What started as a fun thing to go see with one of my friends, turned into a fun thing to see my friends be a part of. Either way, I highly recommend seeing it at least once!” Danacci said.

The Christmas parade is another yearly tradition held in Downtown Spartanburg. The parade is hosted by the Spartanburg Jaycees and happens on a Tuesday evening every year. Jacyees is a non-profit young leaders development organization. This year’s parade will be held on Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The entire parade is aired on WSPA for those who can’t make it in person or don’t want to endure the cold.

Claire Hammond (10) has participated in the Jacyees parade with the Spartanburg High School band and has enjoyed it as a spectator.

“My favorite part of the Christmas Parade is seeing all the cool floats and hearing the band. They always make me happy. I think the parade makes it feel like Christmas. It brings people together,” Hammond said.