The holiday season is officially here, and if you aren't yet in the holiday mood, there are dozens of activities in Augusta and Aiken in the next seven days to remedy that.
Here's a roundup of some of the events:
The Augusta Choral Society will present Handel's Messiah at 8 p.m. today at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St. The concert will feature some familiar faces, including Emily Remington, founder and director for 25 years, and Melvin Brown, who spent eight years with the Choral Society before taking a music minister position at Riverchase United Methodist Church.
Tickets are $12 for senior citizens and students and $15 for adults. For more information, call 826-4713.
On Saturday, hear the sweet harmonies of the Garden City Chorus, Peach State Chorus of the Sweet Adeline's and other barbershop quartets with Season's Greetings in Four Parts.
The concert will be presented at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Augusta State University's Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, 2500 Walton Way. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and military. For more information, call 667-4100.
The Augusta Opera will present its 16th Annual Augusta Opera at St. Paul's Holiday Concert at 3:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St.
The concert costs $25 and will feature the Augusta Opera Chorus, Augusta Opera Orchestra and the Augusta Children's Chorale. For more information, call 826-4710.
The Greater Augusta Youth Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Monday at the parish hall of the Church of the Good Shepherd, 2230 Walton Way.
The Augusta Concert Band will be in concert at 7 p.m. Monday at the ASU theater. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students, children and seniors. ASU students are admitted free with a valid university ID.
For the first time in North America, the Scholars of London will bring its Christmas program "Make We Joy" to the United States. The group, which has performed at New York's Lincoln Center and the Sydney Opera House, will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the ASU theater in a concert sponsored by the Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society. Tickets are $15 general admission, $5 non-ASU students, or free with ASU ID. Call 667-4100.
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St. The Augusta Collegium Musicum and Augusta Chorale will be featured, in the concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Call 826-4700.
Several parades are slated for Saturday, including the Grovetown parade at noon; the Warrenville Lions Club Christmas Parade at 1 p.m.; the Augusta Harley Owners Group will leave Vic's Harley Davidson on Ellis Street in a parade to the Berry Children's Center on Lake Forest Drive at 1:30 p.m.; and the Graniteville Christmas Parade, sponsored by the ladies auxiliary of the Graniteville-Vaucluse-Warrenville Volunteer Fire Department, begins at 3:30 p.m.
On Sunday, the 35th Annual Martinez Merchants Association Christmas Parade will begin at 2 p.m. at Columbia and Washington Roads and proceed down Washington Road to Davant Street; the Jackson Christmas Parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. behind Jackson Middle School; and the North Augusta Christmas Parade will begin at 3 p.m. at Georgia Avenue and Martintown Road, then proceed down Georgia Avenue and turn on Buena Vista where it disbands.
A midweek parade will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Gracewood State School and Hospital. The parades continue the following weekend with the Clearwater Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., Augusta Jaycees Christmas Parade at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12, and the Aiken Parade at 3 p.m. Sunday. See the Dec. 10 Applause! for a preview of the Augusta and Aiken parades, with parade route maps.
The Easter Seals' Annual Fantasy of Lights, a ride-through display at Pendleton King Park off Troupe Street, features about 1 million twinkling lights. It's open through Christmas Eve from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursdays and 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $7 per carload. Call 667-9695.
On Sunday, A Christmas Afternoon at Sacred Heart will be from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The bazaar will feature local artisans, entertainment and food. Admission is $1. For more information, call 826-4700.
If you don't want to just look at Christmas decorations, make your own at several craft workshops.
Make a mosiac angel at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, 506 Telfair St., from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. The class costs $5 for a parent and child and $1 for each additional child and reservations are required. For more information, call 722-5495.
At the Augusta-Richmond County Museum on Saturday, children will learn about a Colonial Christmas, making candles and listening to Christmas stories. The museum is at 560 Reynolds St. The event is from 10 a.m. to noon and costs $3 for non-members and is free for members. Reservations are required. Call 722-8454.
On Sunday, make a holiday memory book at the Morris Museum of Art, 1 10th St. For more information, call 724-7501.
A local restaurant will get into the spirit of giving Monday as it opens its door for a preview event to benefit the local Alzheimer's Association chapter.
The grand opening of Carrabba's Italian Grille on Washington Road isn't scheduled until Tuesday, but from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday patrons can sample Italian dishes. A $10 door admission will be charged with all proceeds going to help support the programs of the Augusta Alzheimer's Association.
Reach Charmain Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.