Tree lighting, Wassail Fest offer back-to-back festivities


King Burgin, 4, watches the snow during the community Christmas Tree Lighting at the Riverwalk in Columbus in this 2017 file photo. King is the son of Demetrius Sr. and Fanjeffica Burgin.

King Burgin, 4, watches the snow during the community Christmas Tree Lighting at the Riverwalk in Columbus in this 2017 file photo. King is the son of Demetrius Sr. and Fanjeffica Burgin. Photo by: Dispatch file photo


Jan Swoope



Downtown Columbus will fill with Christmas spirit Dec. 5 and 6. On Thursday, Dec. 5, the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree from 5:30-7 p.m. kicks off celebrations, followed Friday, Dec. 6 by Wassail Fest from 5-8 p.m.



Tree lighting



Festivities surrounding the tree lighting of one of the city's impressive magnolia trees start with caroling at the east end of the pedestrian bridge at the Columbus Riverwalk Dec. 5.


"Caroling will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a holiday program provided by the Columbus Choral Society," said Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow. "The audience will be invited to sing along as we enjoy traditional holiday tunes."


Columbus Mayor Robert Smith will officially light the tree at about 6:15 p.m. To the delight of kids of all ages, "snow" will fall when the lights come on, Bigelow said.


"We will have magical Christmas optics that will cause the tree lights to take on holiday forms, so come early and get your special glasses while the supply lasts," the director added. Hot chocolate, cookies and a kids' craft Santa door-knocker to take home are also part of activities. Santa and Miz Claus will be on hand; bring cameras for photos.


"Kids can write their Letter to Santa and drop it in the mailbox headed to the North Pole. We hope everyone will bring their friends and family and enjoy this free community event to welcome the holiday season."


The tree lighting is sponsored by Prestige Event Rentals, McAlister's, Coffee House on 5th, Sweet Pepper's Deli and the City of Columbus.



Here we come a'wassailing


A highlight of the holiday season in downtown Columbus, Wassail Fest on Dec. 6 is eagerly anticipated by participating merchants and community members alike. Now in its 16th year, the event draws hundreds to historic downtown for tastings of wassail, caroling on the streets, after-hours shopping, in-store demonstrations and more from 5-8 p.m. Wassail-makers compete for bragging rights for best wassail and the People's Choice Award, voted on by the public.


Bigelow said, "Wassail, a drink whose name means 'to your health,' is a mixture of juices and spices that has been served over centuries, as far back as Robin Hood and his merry men. Many of our downtown merchants will go to great lengths to prepare their special wassail to serve their guests."


The name of this year's winning Wassail Meister will be announced on Friday, Dec. 13.


The W will again partner with Main Street Columbus and provide wassail at the CHEW mobile food unit, although they will not be in the merchants' competition.


Christmas inflatables will be located in Leadership Plaza throughout the evening.


"Wassail Fest is a great time to come downtown, do some Christmas shopping, sample delicious wassail, be a part of selecting the 2019 Wassail Meister, dine in one of our great downtown restaurants and just enjoy the season in beautiful, historic Columbus," said Bigelow.


She added, "Main Street is very appreciative of our sponsors The W, DEXImaging, Zachary's and the City of Columbus for their support this year."


Wassail Fest has been selected as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Association for four consecutive years.


For more information about the tree lighting or Wassail Fest, contact Main Street Columbus, 662-328-6305, follow on Facebook or visit



Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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