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Merry Merchants in Columbia offer old-fashioned Christmas
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Father Christmas escorts a lady bringing her gingerbread house to the contest last year. - photo by Photo Contributed

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Chamber of Commerce and its Merry Merchants invite you to enjoy an evening of old-fashioned Christmas charm.

Columbia’s merchants will be open for business Friday evening, Dec. 9, from 5 to 8 p.m., and are offering great savings for unique gifts, and stress-free “local” shopping in the tradition of times gone by.  This evening event in Columbia State Historic Park features 19th-century holiday fun, with free carriage rides, traditional Christmas activities, carolers, and a gingerbread house contest.


Activities include:

• Enjoy a free carriage ride on Columbia’s Main Street - board the carriage at the City Hotel.  Greet Father Christmas at the Tibbits House and receive a gift of freshly-made gingerbread.  Members of the Columbia Girls and Boys Academies will be dressed in 1850s attire and demonstrating parlor games and other traditional Christmas activities from the 19th century at the Tibbits House.  Newsboys and shoe shiners, and Columbia State Historic Park docents will be seen on Columbia’s streets too, decked out in their old-time finery.  Visit them in the Gazette Office and see the printing press in action and stop by the Wilson Store to hear the story of a real Columbia family and learn a little of mercantilism from days gone by.  Listen to the sounds of the season - local children and others will be singing Christmas carols - and enjoy traditional food and drink from Columbia stores, such as roasted chestnuts, hot gingerbread and hot chocolate to warm yourselves from the inside out.

• Fanciful gingerbread houses will be displayed in Angelo’s Hall.  To enter this free contest, make and decorate a gingerbread house and deliver to Angelo’s Hall by 4 p.m. on Dec. 9.  Judging is at 6 p.m.  The grand prize winner will receive a Faberge egg with a music box tucked inside, and other winners will receive ribbons.  Call Carolyn Prindle at 588-9704 for more information on the contest.

Columbia’s Merry Merchants event is fun for all ages.  For more information, call 532-1850 or the Columbia Chamber of Commerce at 536-1672 or visit