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Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

(2023) FREE Fun & Photo With Santa at Cabela’s & Bass Pro Shops

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If you are thinking about bringing your kids to Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s, Santa will be there too! Kick off the holiday season with Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. Truly FREE, a visit to Santa’s Wonderland includes not only a chance to talk to Santa, but also a free studio-quality printed 4×6 photo. You’ll enjoy free activities, candy cane, games, and more. This is one place where holiday magic is really, actually free, and we love it.



See Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Santa in 2023

  • Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s: Santa arrives on November 4th, 2023!
  • Free 4×6 high-quality photo
  • Lots of Free fun all season long!
  • Reservations are open NOW! Make your reservation to see Santa at Cabela’s!

Saturday, November 4th, 2023: Santa’s Arrival Parade at 5 pm in front of Bass Pro Shop.
November 5th, 2023 through December 24, 2023: FREE photos with Santa at Cabela’s.

Note: The times listed above are for Santa at Cabela’s of Greenville, SC. Times and dates may vary by location, but the offerings will be very similar.

Just check with your local Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop for their Santa’s Wonderland schedule.

Santa arrives via boat at Cabela's
Photo credit: Cabela’s

See Santa and Where to Mail Your Letter: Video

FREE Arrival Parade Event

Santa will arrive on a boat straight from the North Pole at Cabela’s & Bass Pro Shops on November 4th, 2023 at 5 p.m.

The arrival event will include:

  • Carolers
  • Free special giveaways
  • Hot chocolate and cookies
  • Various vendors
  • Free games and activities

Free Photos With Santa and Visit to Santa’s Wonderland: Yes! It’s Really Free!

  • Make a reservation in advance.
  • Visits include a FREE 4×6 photo with Santa that you will receive on-site.
  • A visit to Santa’s Wonderland includes FREE crafts and games
  • Use the letterbox to drop off your list to Santa
Santa at Cabela's

Want more photos? Purchase Additional Photos with Santa at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops

Love your free photo? Copying is prohibited, but you can purchase a photo package for additional photos. They’ll print right in the store. Use your CLUB Mastercard® and you can purchase a special CLUB Members Exclusive Photo Package for just $20.

But, remember, no purchase is necessary to visit Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops. No purchase is necessary for a free photo with Santa. You can have a great time with the kids and spend nothing at all.

Santa’s Wonderland: What you need to know before you visit with Santa

Kidding Around Guest Contributor Lauren Justus brought her family to Cabela’s of Greenville for a visit with Santa. Here are her parent tips: everything you need to know before you go for your visit with the big man in red.

Plan Ahead

In order to visit Santa’s Wonderland, you are required to make a free online reservation with Santa. It takes just a minute to register and you will receive a confirmation email with your booking date and time.

Reservations are available up to seven days in advance, November 5-December 24, 2023. No walk-ins are allowed at this time. 

Visiting Santa at Cabela's
Photo Credit: Cabela’s

How It Works

Upon arrival, one of Santa’s helpers will ask to see your booking confirmation. After your photo is taken, each family will receive a complimentary 4 x 6 print as part of their free online booking. There are additional photo packages available for purchase.

Santa at Cabela's
Photo with Santa provided by Cabela’s at Lauren’s visit.

Extra Touches

Before our exit, Santa’s helpers provided our children with an individually packaged holiday activity kit full of festive surprises. They were also given a huge candy cane and a “Letter for Santa” printout to send to the North Pole in the coming weeks! 

Santa’s Letterbox

There is a letterbox at Santa’s Wonderland so you can send your list! You can take some time to fill out your list right away and mail it, or bring it back to the store to mail when you’re done.

Do some shopping or enjoy the displays

Don’t forget to take a walk through the store before or after your visit so you can enjoy the large aquariums and wildlife displays throughout each store. That’s actually something that’s great to do any day, but even more fun when you’re making a day of it and visiting Santa, too!

Where will your family visit with Santa this year?


Festival of Trees at the Hyatt in Greenville, South Carolina

The holidays do not always have to be expensive! Check out these Free Things to Do This Christmas Near Greenville, SC!


The Boiling Springs Christmas Parade is a Spartanburg Favorite [2023 parade is cancelled]

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Thinking about heading to the Boiling Springs Christmas Parade? We have all the information on the parade, plus nearby restaurants where you might want to grab breakfast before the parade or lunch afterward.

The 2023 Boiling Springs Christmas Parade has been cancelled due to weather

Christmas parades are a huge part of the holiday season for families. They’re a time for communities to show off their talented members and for children to get that first glimpse of Santa Claus. One of Spartanburg’s most popular parades is the one that takes place in Boiling Springs.

Photo Credit: KAS Reader, Nikki C.

This year’s Boiling Springs Christmas parade will start at 10 am on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023. The Parade will line up at Highway 9 and Blalock Road at SubWay, and end behind the Clock Restaurant on Double Bridge Road. Attendants will be on hand to direct the line-up for overflow attendees in the Parade.

They are expecting a very large participation in the 2023 Boiling Springs Christmas Parade and are advising people to come early to get a good place along the route to see the parade and for the kids to collect the candy that will be tossed off many floats.

Parade organizers thank the volunteers, law enforcement officers, Boiling Springs Fire Department, parade participants, and those who come out to enjoy and support their efforts.

KAS Reader Boiling Springs Christmas Parade Advice

Bring a bag for all the candy that gets thrown at you!

KAS Reader, Danielle

Where to Eat Along The Parade Route

If you are looking for a place to grab a bite before, during or after the parade, these are just a few of the options Boiling Springs has to offer.

Subway – 2634 Boiling Springs Road
(The starting point of the parade)

The Clock Restaurant – 3597 Boiling Springs Road
(The ending point of the parade)

Taco Grill – 3442 Boiling Springs Road

Firehouse Subs – 3605 Boiling Springs Road

Bertolos of Boiling Springs – 2640 Boiling Springs Road

Dining After The Parade

The 8.6 Pho – 4082 Highway 9

Thai Y’all – 3720 Boiling Springs Road

Manny’s Restaurant – 2520 Boiling Springs Road

The parade goes on rain or shine, so make sure to come prepared. Hot chocolate in a thermos is a time-honored way to keep everyone warm during parade season!

Have you been to the Boiling Springs Parade?


Christmas parades near Greenville, SC, Greenville Christmas Parade

There’s lots more parade fun!

Here’s our huge guide to all the Christmas Parades in the Upstate and WNC


Fall Play & Pumpkins at Linda’s Plants & Shrubs: Hendersonville, NC

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Does an indoor pumpkin farm maze and play space sound like fun for the kids? Bring the little ones to Linda’s Plants & Shrubs in Hendersonville for their super cool hay bale, indoor, Pumpkin Maze. They also have free hot chocolate and coffee, and pick your own pumpkins and sunflowers. And, while you’re there you can pick up some super gorgeous pumpkins, mums, and fall plants.



Fall Things to Do at Linda’s Plants & Shrubs

What does Linda’s have for Fall 2023? Lots! Pick your own pumpkins off the vine. Wander through the sunflower field, you can pick your own, too! Enjoy the pretty view and then head indoors and feast your eyes on gorgeous pumpkin displays with mums and all kinds of fall plants. Enjoy a free cup of coffee and then head for the INDOOR pumpkin maze.

Pick your own pumpkins at lindas

Picking Pumpkins

Want to pick your own pumpkins off the vine but don’t want the big fall crowds at large farms and orchards? Linda’s is your answer. The small pumpkin vine field has pumpkins you can cut yourself. The sunflower field is beside that, and you can also pick your own sunflowers.

But, if you can’t find the exact right pumpkin on the vine, no worries. Linda’s Plants and Shrubs shop is full of gorgeous pumpkins in every size, color, and shape you could imagine. They have lots of fall-themed photo opportunities both inside and out.

The Pumpkin Maze

Linda’s pumpkin maze costs $5 per person going through the maze and using the play space. The maze, made out of hay bales, is loaded up with Halloween and fall characters with audio and lights, inflatables, and bubbles.

Fall maze

Crawl through tunnels and tires, once you make your way out of the maze, a slide into a pool full of dried corn is waiting at the beginning of the play area.

In the play area you’ll find construction trucks ready to drive through and move that dried corn, an additional pool of dried corn, and space to play.

Do the maze as many times as you’d like. We saw kids having a great time with a game of hide and seek in the maze, and we have to admit, it does seem like a pretty perfect place for hide and seek! You could also have an epic game of I Spy in here.

There are benches in the maze space so parents can chill with that free cup of coffee while the kids play.

End of the maze at Linda's

Plants and More

Linda’s is personally one of my favorite places to go for fueling my plant addiction. They have a large selection of both seasonal indoor and outdoor plants, plus local honey, sauces, pots, and a small selection of decor items.


Christmas Events at Linda’s

Linda’s Plants and Shrubs is always a fun place to explore. Here’s what they had in 2022 for the holidays. Check back soon for their 2023 holiday happenings,

The Christmas Maze at Linda’s in Hendersonville, NC 2022

Greenhouses are not just for growing plants. Linda’s Plants and Shrubs has converted one of its large greenhouse spaces into a Christmas maze and play area for kids. No matter the weather, it’s dry and toasty at this maze made of haybales and decorated with tons of holiday decorations and inflatables. Kids must wind through the maze and crawl through a tunnel and a tire on their way to a climber and slide that goes right into a pit of dried corn.

For the construction-minded and truck-loving kiddos, there is also a place to play in the corn with large provided dump trucks. Parents can play along in the maze or relax on the benches while the kids play.

Play space in the Christmas Maze at Linda's

The maze and play area are totally free to visit. Younger kids, toddlers, preschoolers, and younger elementary will especially enjoy this area.

Santa at Linda’s Plants and Shrubs 2022

Santa will be visiting Linda’s on December 4th, 2022 from 12 pm to 3 pm. Don’t forget your free hot chocolate at the checkout area near the maze.

Trees and Plants: Holidays 2022

When you walk into Linda’s the first thing you’ll experience is the fresh, piney smell of Christmas trees and wreaths. Smells are free, too, and totally worth a pause even if you don’t need a tree. But if you do, these trees were beautiful!

Next on the list, Christmas cacti. Linda’s has so many blooming Christmas cacti and other holiday plants, like Poinsettias. I love Christmas cacti and I have five or six in my house. I’m lucky to get even one to bloom. So, today I added another, a big beautiful, already fully in bloom Christmas cactus to enjoy right now. Yay!

Christmas Cactus at Linda's

The poinsettia table screamed Christmas in the best possible way, and my husband picked out some other blooming holiday plant that I have absolutely no idea what it is or what to do with it. But, you know, it’s pretty. And, you can never have enough pretty plants, really. Then, my kids found a few succulents to add to their collections, of course.

Linda’s also has some adorable little pots for your new plants, and also some farm goodies like jams and honey.

Visit Linda’s Plants & Shrubs

308 Stepp Acres Lane
Hendersonville, NC 28792
Phone: 828.685.0738
Linda’s Plants & Shrubs
Linda’s on Facebook

Hours: Monday through Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday 11 am to 4 pm

Halloween Fun: Haunted Car Wash in Greenville, SC Gives Great Scares

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You can get your car washed while driving through a haunted house at this car wash in Greenville, SC. We checked it out and have all the details!

Having never been to a car wash nor a drive-through haunted house, I was pretty excited to try this unique combo at Whatta Wash Car Wash in Greenville, SC, right off I-85 on Highway 14. It was better than I expected and I think you’ll love this fun Halloween activity. 

We’ve got all the info on what to expect during the Haunted Car Wash and tips on enjoying it with your family.

About the Whatta Wash Haunted Car Wash

You may think that putting together a haunted car wash is easy – dress up in some costumes, be scary, and wash the car. But no, that’s not even close to the work that went into Whatta Wash’s Haunted Car Wash!

Each night of the Haunted Car Wash, there are at least 30 actors all there solely to scare you (and wash your car well). There are clowns, zombie cheerleaders, terrifying skeletons, serial killers (my own guess, I could be wrong), and other spooky characters.

The lights, other Halloween decorations, and fog machine are all part of this massive effort to create a must-do-worthy event in the Upstate for Halloween lovers. The entire Haunted Car Wash is about 2.5 minutes long – so you get a clean car and scared passengers. Fantastic.

Car Wash for a Cause

This year, the owners of Whatta Wash Car Wash are donating a portion of every car wash during this event to the medical care of a local 12-year-old boy, Griff, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia after discovering a mass in his neck after a baseball tournament this summer.

“His busy schedule changed from school and baseball to doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, tests, treatments, and schooling from home. It’s been a trying road to travel, taking a once strong and competitive child and putting him through life-saving, but body-altering treatments. He has met this challenge with grace, strength, and determination,” writes Whatta Wash on their Facebook page.

Tips on Enjoying the Haunted Car Wash

We learned a few helpful tips on enjoying the Haunted Car Wash this Halloween at Whatta Wash Car Wash:

Get there early. This is a really popular event and waits can be long. See the next line.

Prepare to wait. The owners told us that in previous years, sometimes the wait was up to two hours. So be prepared with snacks, be sure to take a bathroom break before you go, and maybe bring games or a movie on your iPad.

Be sure to get in line by 10 pm. If you’re in line after that, you won’t be able to get in.

Drizzle is ok but downpouring rain isn’t. Light rain is ok but if it’s really downpouring, the Haunted Car Wash won’t be able to happen.

If you don’t want the characters opening your door, lock your car. The scary characters will try to jiggle the handle of your car doors and if they are unlocked, you’re in for a surprise. Lock your doors if you don’t want that kind of surprise.

Tickets are not presold. You have to wait in line.

There are things not allowed at the car wash. These include: cracked windshields, roof racks, bikes and bike racks, no dually trucks, no trucks or vehicles over 7’ 2”, no trucks with wide tires not fitting properly, and all open truck beds need to be empty and free of any loose items.

But really, how scary is the Haunted Car Wash?

Ah, the ever-important question we always get asked by parents. And rightly so. No one wants to be up at 3 am with their kid who had a clown nightmare.

But it’s really hard to answer that question because it all depends on the kid. The actors cannot touch you or bang hard on your car. But it’s a car wash and there is a lot of loud noise with the water, wind, and other contraptions. Add onto that scary characters that will get up close to your windows and run up to your car and appear out of a drenching inside the car wash.

We don’t have an answer for you. We didn’t find this as scary as say, Madworld, but the characters’ costumes look really great and to some kids, probably too realistic. It’s easy to see how seriously Whatta Wash takes their Haunted Car Wash. There are other decorations around the car wash as well like huge skeletons and creepy dolls and clowns. So take that all into account when you plan your trip here.

The owners suggest that if your kids are on the fence, go right at 6 pm so it’s still a little light out. After dark, the scare factor goes up!

Dates & Hours of the Haunted Car Wash

Because this event takes a lot of work to pull together, the Haunted Car Wash will only run for six days, every Friday & Saturday the rest of October:

  • October 13 & 14
  • October 20 & 21
  • October 27 & 28

Hours are 6 pm – close. To go through the Haunted Car Wash, you have to be in line by 10 pm. Cars that line up after that won’t be able to get their scare on and have their car become all sparkly clean.

The cost is $30 per car, which gets you the experience of the Haunted Car Wash plus a car wash itself. If you want to do it multiple times, you’ll have to pay again.

If you want to add to your Haunted Car Wash adventure, try one of our Halloween Driving Routes for extra spooky (and free) entertainment!

Whatta Wash Car Wash
2788 South Highway 14, Greer
Whatta Wash Website

Get Ready to Be Terrified at Madworld Haunted Attraction in Greenville, SC

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Ready for a scare-your-pants-off kind of haunted attraction? We visited Madworld Haunted Attraction in Greenville, SC and had a terrifyingly fun time. Thanks to Madworld for inviting us to experience their terrifying attraction so we could scare our readers in this review.

Love haunted houses, insane asylums, terrifying clowns, and all things Halloween? Then you’ll want to visit one of the country’s scariest haunted attractions at Madworld Haunted Attraction right here in Greenville, SC.

We’ll tell you all about how this place started, the terrifying things you’ll encounter, how scary Madworld really is, and how to experience this best of the Halloween season at Madworld.

About Madworld Haunted Attraction

Madworld is owned and run by two brothers, Joe and Tim Thompson, and 2023 is their 13th season of the haunted attraction. They’ve always loved horror and all things scary so producing and creating Madworld was a natural fit for both of them.

The haunted attraction has won accolades nationwide and is ranked as one of the scariest attractions in South Carolina. This is a pretty serious haunted attraction which Joe and Tim have built with the guest experience in mind. There are about 200 actors on any given night looking to terrify guests with their very real-looking getups and acting skills that have been honed for this place and their goal to give guests a memorable – and nightmare-worthy – experience.

We got a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes magic and the amount of work that goes into the makeup and costumes of each character is stunning. There are silicon masks, rows of makeup chairs, prosthetics, weapons that look real. The team is serious about the appearance of each character and makes sure to make them look as real as possible. Actors have to go through rounds of auditions to work at Madworld.

But that’s not all. Madworld has a quality control manager whose job is basically go through the entire park several times a night and make sure every character is acting their part to a tee. If not, well, I don’t even want to know. The guy who does this is very serious about his job.

All the Details about the Haunted Trail

The biggest part of Madworld is their nearly half-mile haunted trail through a zombie factory and into a world of all kinds of things that scare us humans.

Joe and Tim told us that they wanted to hit on a variety of things and scenarios that scare people as to make sure they are able to hit all phobias. That is quite obvious once you start walking through the haunted trail, which seemingly never ends.

The zombie factory starts off your tour after your photo is snapped by the Madworld staff to remember you by. OK, well, not really. You can purchase it afterwards at the customer service desk. Each group is ushered in separately so there may be a bit of a wait (get the Fast Pass – you’ll save a lot of time). There are green glowing lights and you feel like you’re in a prison. Loud noises are all around you and the actors try to reach for you from their jail cell. It’s awesome.

Once you get instructions about not running through any of the attractions from the creepy host, you’ll enter into the official part of the haunted trail. There are 13 sets/haunted houses and once you leave one, you’ll walk outside and enter into the next one. There are characters everywhere that either will jump out at you or show up in the shadows or just act completely terrifying.

After the zombie factory, I can’t even remember what is next because there are so many. I’ll tell you the things that stood out to me in the various places.

First, this wasn’t even me but Bethany and her husband were behind me and passed a writhing girl on the floor, who they thought was me. You can imagine their terror. Thankfully, I was just ahead of them getting scared out of my mind by an exorcist-type girl on a moving bed who was crawling towards me.

The clown house obviously involved a lot of clowns. But it also involved a lot of flashing lights, strobes, and creepy laughs. This is one the warnings they give you when you buy your tickets.

The pirate house was my favorite because the characters were entirely convincing but also because they had a part where it seemed that you were going to fall into water where a giant gator was going to eat you. Towards the end of the pirate house, you have to walk through a room where you can’t see the floor – so cool.

The insane asylum was just that: insane. Lots of patients screaming to let them out plus a room full of old toilets that had me convinced this was a real insane asylum. It was intense.

One part that was outdoors had a crazed guy lighting up propane with actors with chainsaws hacking up people. One bloody person was dragged in front of me by a dude with a chainsaw and I’m still not sure if it was a real person or not.

A witch nearly scared me to death when she popped out of her shack. And I really didn’t want to walk through the house with the label of “bless this house” on the door. No, thanks. But I did and it was haunting.

From the time we entered the zombie factory to when we exited the haunted trail was about 25-30 minutes. It felt longer. There is a lot of blood, gore, and screaming at Madworld.

Ghost Mini Golf & Carnival Games

While Madworld is probably most well-known for their intensely scary haunted trail, they have a lot of other things to do while you’re there that won’t involve straining your vocal chords.

They have an entire mini golf course, several different carnival games, and my favorite – ax throwing. None of these things are terrifying so if your kids want to go someplace “scary” but you know they aren’t ready for the full experience, you can take them here to do ghost mini golf and throw some balls at clowns. Then they can tell their friends they went to Madworld.

Tasty Treats at Madworld + Gift Shop

Being scared works up an appetite. Good thing Madworld can help out with that.

There are some tasty food vendors at Madworld that sell mini donuts, cheeseburgers, funnel cakes, muffins, fries, and even coffee and frappes.

These are located inside the park. You can sit around the bonfire and eat and calm your heart rate after going through the haunted trail.

As for the gift shop, you’ll want to go here before heading home. They have some really cool stuff like skeleton wine goblets, terrifying hoodies, ghost soap dishes, and candles. They partnered with Travelers Rest-based artisan chocolate shop, Lumineux Chocolate, to create special Madworld chocolate bars. We tried these and oh my gosh, they are amazing.

Best Ages for Madworld

If you think I’m going to give you an age range for kids who will enjoy this, sorry to disappoint but it’s not happening. As an adult, I was scared. I know several adults who would also be terrified of Madworld but who want to go and scream their heads off. Other friends are scared just looking at my photos of Madworld.

I know my own kids, currently ages 12 and 9, and they would never sleep after going to Madworld. But other kids, including another 12-year-old and a teenager who came with us, absolutely loved this place and no doubt will want to go back. When we went, there was a little girl, probably around 7, who was first in line with her mom.

So what age is good for this haunted attraction? It totally depends on your kid.

Joe did tell us that when little kids come in, the actors don’t act as scary towards them. So, instead of quietly coming up behind them and waiting for them to turn around and be scared out of their mind, the characters will approach them from the front and give them a high five.

Tips on Enjoying Madworld

Here are a few things we found to be helpful when heading to Madworld Haunted Attraction.

  • The actors are not allowed to intentionally touch guests. They are allowed to get very close though and sometimes I brushed up against their costumes.
  • Wear sturdy and closed toed shoes. Sometimes you can’t see the floor in the haunted trail and there is part of it where the floor moves so you want sturdy shoes.
  • Plan to spend some time there. There are a lot of things to enjoy at Madworld besides the haunted trail so plan to spend the evening hanging out, getting scared, and playing carnival games, eating, or chilling at the bonfire.
  • Sign your waiver and have the proof you signed it on your phone at the entrance. That’s the only thing you need to enter Madworld and you’ll be checked for it.
  • If you’re able, get the Fast Pass. It will save you time on the haunted trail since you jump to the head of the line.
  • You can buy a no-scare medallion as part of your ticket package if you want to go but don’t want to be screaming all night. When kids wear these medallions, it repels monsters.
  • Do not wear your Halloween costumes. No costumes are allowed.
  • There are a lot of strobe and flashing lights and fog. If you have a condition where these things aggravate it, then it is not recommended you go. Pregnant women are also cautioned against doing the haunted trail.

Overall Review of Madworld

This type of attraction is typically not at the top of my Halloween excursions but readers, this is what I do for you. That said, Madworld was really, really fun. It’s obvious how much work went into creating a top-notch experience for guests who come looking to be scared and have a great night with their friends, family, or date (this would make a great date night).

The characters are very good at their work and everyone we saw throughout the haunted trail was on point for their particular scare tactic. We never saw any actor break character, which I imagine is very difficult to do for hours each night.

I’d certainly consider putting Madworld on my fall bucket list after this trip.

Operating Hours & Tickets

You can purchase your tickets online or at the gate. They have several different packages whether you want the full experience of the haunted trail and all the carnival games or just a couple things to do. You can also purchase a season pass if you’re that kind of crazy. General admission tickets are $40/adult and $35/kids 10 and under. Ticket packages go up from there.

They are open weekends starting September 8, 2023 through November 4, 2023. They are also open Halloween and a few other days before the last weekend of October. The times vary so check the schedule before you go.

Madworld will open in light rain but if it’s raining heavily, they will need to close. Follow Madworld on Facebook for the most up-to-date announcements.

Haunted houses and spooky things to do in Greenville, SC

Looking for more haunts?
See our Guide to Haunted Attractions in the Upstate!

Madworld Haunted Attraction
147 Country Manor Road, Piedmont, SC 
Madworld on Facebook

Christmas and New Year’s Magic at Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm

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If you’ve been a Kidding Around reader for any length of time, you’ve likely seen some of our coverage of Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm in Fountain Inn, SC. While the farm is open year-round with varying hours, you don’t want to miss Yuletide Unicorn & Night Lights Festival. With Christmas celebrations leading up to New Year’s Day, you and your child are bound to make memories together during a visit to Hidden Pastures. 

Be sure to read our entire review of Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm.

Yuletide Unicorn & Night Lights Festival

After all of the rain we’ve had lately, we were ready to get out of the house at the first break of sunshine (despite the bite of cold air). We bundled up ourselves and our daughter and made our way to Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm. Owner Kate greeted us with smiles and gave us a rundown of the history and what to expect once we walked through the entrance barn doors. As soon as we were done talking with Kate, our daughter took off. 

Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm at Christmas
Unicorn Farm Entrance & Gift Shop

My favorite part of the entire visit? The free-range animals that roam the grounds. Everywhere you turn, there’s either a friendly goat, eager chicken, adorable calf, or magical unicorn ready to greet you (and likely waiting for some snacks to gently eat out of your hand).

Christmas time at Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm in Fountain Inn SC
Feeding the Goats at the Unicorn Farm

There are plenty of outdoor toys for your child to enjoy. There are see-saws, rocking horses, bouncing horses, a tiny toddler playhouse, slides, swings, and a giant inflatable bounce house with a slide. 

But the best part about this time of year? The Christmas decorations, Santa, hot chocolate, live music (select days only), Christmas lights, and a night-time Christmas moving showing with a firepit. If our daughter was a bit older, we definitely would have visited at night. Since she’s a bit young, we made a daytime visit, but look forward to visiting in the evening when she’s a little older.

And if you need something to do on New Year’s Eve, the Unicorn Farm will be showing a special movie, will keep their Christmas lights on, and have a food truck available). (CANCELED Due to rain)

Animals at Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm
Yuletide Unicorn & Night Lights Festival

Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm Yuletide Unicorn & Night Lights Festival with Santa Details

Unicorn Farm Location:
245 Little Virginia Road
Fountain Inn

Visit Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm

Hours of Operation:

  • December 19-23, 2022: open every day 11 am – 9 pm (no Santa visits)
  • December 24-25, 2022: Closed
  • December 26-30, 2022: open every day 11 am – 9 pm (no Santa visits)
  • CLOSED 12/31 Due to RAIN
  • January 1, 2023: Open 11 am – 9 pm (no Santa visits)

Pricing:

  • Adults 18+ – $12
  • Kids 3-17 years old – $14
  • Babies 2 & under – Free
  • *Cash and cards accepted

Planning your trip to Hidden Pastures? Tell us about it!

Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm
Unicorns at Hidden Pastures Unicorn Farm in Fountain Inn, SC

Dan Hamilton’s Greenville, SC Holiday Bucket List

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In this article, Top Rated Real Estate Agent and Team Leader Dan Hamilton takes a break from offering Greenville real estate advice to share his must-see Greenville events this holiday season. Keep reading to discover his family’s favorite Greenville traditions!

I have lived in Greenville since I was 5 years old, and Christmas has always been a special time in the city. This year, I’m sharing some of my family’s favorite Greenville holiday events and Christmas traditions that we never miss.

I’m just sharing a few of my favorite events here, but if you’re looking for more ways to spend time with your family this holiday season, check out my team’s holiday guide. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas Tree Farm, a Christmas Parade, or a New Years Eve Party, the Hamilton & Co. Holiday Guide has you covered with over 70 Greenville Holiday Events!

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Largest Nativity Scene in South Carolina at Church in Greenville, SC

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Did you know South Carolina’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures is right here in Greenville, SC? See the beautifully carved figures at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors through early February. 

Christmas is centered around nativity scenes and for good reason, right? The birth of Christ is why Christmas is celebrated around the world and while there are many beautiful nativity scenes, the one at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors is incredibly unique because the figures in the nativity are all life-sized and carved by an expert woodworker in Germany. 

Nativity with Christmas Trees

The Great Nativity 

The Great Nativity was revealed in 2021 after parishioners at Prince of Peace raised money through private donations to commission the pieces, which were carved by Johanne Albl of ALBL Oberammergau, who has been in the business of woodworking and sacred art in Germany since 1556.

There are 13 figures in total: the shepherd, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the camel, ox, donkey, three wise men, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, an angel, and a sheep.

The three wise men take awhile to reach the full nativity scene because, well, that’s how it was in the nativity story. They are gradually moved from the Narthex in the way back of the church to inside the church in the aisle to closer to the nativity throughout the Christmas season.

The biggest sculpture in the Great Nativity is the camel, weighing in at 1,600 pounds, which is actually more than most camels weigh in real life. You can’t climb on the camel (I asked). 

About the Artist 

Johanne Albl of ALBL Oberammergau carved the Great Nativity from polychrome Lindenwood. The set is the largest ever commissioned in the family’s history. They are also one of the world’s leading firms for sacred art and architecture. 

Angel Mary and Joseph

The Albl family has been woodcarvers in Germany since the mid-1500s. They are currently in their 14th generation of artists and grew from a small village in the Bavarian Alps. 

How to See the Great Nativity 

The Great Nativity at Prince of Peace can be seen in the church anytime between 7 am and 7 pm every day, and will be up between Sunday, December 3, 2023 until February 2, 2024, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.  

“Christmas is a busy time for everyone and if you want a moment of peace in the craziness of the holiday season, come to the biggest nativity in South Carolina so that we can all be reminded of the innocence of a child during this beautiful season of joy and peace,” said Father Christopher Smith, pastor at Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Fun fact about nativity scenes: the first nativity scene is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi who was inspired by his trip to the Holy Land to create the scene of Jesus’ birth. The first nativity was in Greccio, Italy in 1223, which means that this very year, 2023, is the 800th anniversary of that very first nativity scene.

Wise Men

Visitors are asked to be respectful when viewing the nativity since the church is a place of worship. The public is welcome at any time to visit, and is warmly invited to a candlelight celebration of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve or any of the Masses held at the Church

Prince of Peace Catholic Church
1209 Brush Creek Road, Taylors

Looking for more? See Live Nativities Near Greenville, SC

Shop the 2023 Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge

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Have you visited the Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge in Downtown Greenville, SC? Beautifully decorated with a merging of a southern Christmas with a micro version of a traditional European Christmas market, this open-air market is certain to spark holiday joy.

The holiday market hosts local vendors, live music, serves holiday-themed food and beverages, and even offers the opportunity for your little one to visit with Santa to give him that very special list. You can explore the Greenville Christmas Market in Downtown Greenville on select dates from November 24th, 2023 – December 31st, 2023.

christmas market greenville
The Greenville Christmas Market

The Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge

Located in the heart of Downtown Greenville at Falls Park, the Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville is hosting the second Greenville Christmas Market from November 24th, 2023 – December 31st, 2023. You know you are close when you smell the gorgeous Christmas tree near the exit of Liberty Bridge. Located outside on the lawn in front of the hotel, the market is open rain or shine. The market features local vendors, offering the perfect Christmas gifts, decor, and maybe even something special for yourself.

Along with all the wonderful shopping opportunities, guests can enjoy the decorations that adorn the already impressive architecture of the hotel. Vendors serve holiday-inspired food and beverages that complement the Christmas decor, making the market more of a holiday experience rather than a shopping venture. The Greenville Christmas Market is even open on Christmas Eve, in case you need to pick up a few special gifts before Christmas Day.

Shopping at the Greenville Christmas market
The Greenville Christmas Market in 2022

Meet and Greet with Santa

There is no better place to meet Santa than at a gorgeous ski lodge while sipping hot chocolate and relaxing under the mesmerizing lights of the Christmas decorations. The Grand Bohemian Lodge offers just that, but a little closer to home than European mountains. Santa will be meeting children on select dates throughout the month.

Santa will arrive by sleigh on Friday, November 24th around 4 pm, something your kids will love! Parents can snap the perfect photo to capture that special memory with the big man before doing some shopping. Don’t forget your camera during your visit, there are many holiday photo opportunities, especially in front of the brilliantly decorated Christmas tree on the market lawn.

Santa Dates

Santa will be at the lodge on November 24-25, December 2,9,16, and December 18-24, 2023. The hours vary, with most dates having a meet and greet with Santa for a two-hour window between 4 pm and 6 pm or 5 pm and 7 pm. Christmas Eve, Santa will be at the lodge from 1 pm – 3 pm. Be sure to check the times before heading to the market so you do not miss him!

Kid’s Corner

The Kid’s Corner will be open:

  • Saturday, November 25th – December 23, 2023, from 4 pm – 6 pm
  • Sunday, November 26th – December 24th, 2023, from 1 pm – 3 pm
  • Week of Christmas, December 18th – December 22, 2023, from 3 pm – 5 pm
Greenville Christmas Market scenes
The Greenville Christmas Market

Other Holiday Happenings in Downtown Greenville

After checking out the market, there are a lot of other Downtown holiday happenings to enjoy! You can walk on over to Ice on Main, located at the Courtyard Marriott near the Peace Center. There is also the wonder-filled Festival of Trees found in Embassy Suites, Courtyard Marriott, and The Hyatt Regency Greenville which features festive trees decorated by dozens of organizations throughout Greenville County.

While you are walking down Main Street, be sure to look for all of the delightful window wonderland displays. You can even vote for your favorite holiday display. You will also find dozens of free holiday things to do in Greenville, making the season a little more merry and bright!

When You Can Visit the Greenville Christmas Market

The Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge will run from November 24th, 2023 to December 31st, 2023 on select dates. The market is open on Christmas Eve. The market opens on weekends at 10 am with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 12 pm. The week of Christmas, the market is open daily from Sunday, December 17th, 2023 through Saturday, December 24th, 2023.

Greenville Christmas Market
Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville
44 East Camperdown Way
Greenville, SC

Parents: You Don’t Need to do All the Christmas Things

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The Christmas season is supposed to be all about joy, peace, and a fleeting holiday spirit that seems to be gone quicker than a wispy trail of smoke once the dishes are done after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s all of a sudden a whirlwind of school holiday parties, making a list of gifts and going all out to fulfill that list, trying to create magic at home with an elf just because everyone else is seemingly doing it, taking a holiday overnight trip, and trying to see all the Christmas lights and displays because your family will be deprived if they don’t do that. 

This is for all you parents who are hanging by a thread trying to make this season the most spectacular of all for your kids and just don’t know if you can hang on much longer. To all of you: you don’t need to do all the things. 

Your Christmas tree doesn’t need a giant stack of presents under it. Your kids don’t need the latest toys. You don’t need to stretch yourself so thin trying to cram the most you can into this holiday season. You and your kids are not deprived if you don’t do it all, buy it all, and sacrifice your sanity for an experience, toy, or magical experience that will soon be forgotten. 

Easier holidays and low-key Christimas

You don’t need to do it all

Last year, parents estimated they would spend about $276 on Christmas gifts for each of their kids and a whopping 41% of Americans were willing to go into debt for gift-giving. Meanwhile, the estimated worth of unwanted gifts hovers around $15 billion. Those aren’t small figures, especially in today’s world where many families are struggling with everyday bills. Kids don’t need the latest toy, the most expensive phone, and all the other material things that they’ll forget in a month’s time. Smaller gifts or experience gifts, like memberships to places you and your family go often (hello, SC Parks Pass!) go a long way towards making great memories together all year long. 

I’m not sure why we parents sometimes feel like we need to do all the things during the Christmas season. Maybe social media, maybe endless ads, maybe just talking with friends about all the cool stuff they are doing, or maybe it’s what our parents did with us that we are trying to replicate with our own kids. Whatever the reason, it’s totally fine – more than fine – to back off from the deluge of activities that come with this season. 

You aren’t depriving your kids if you don’t do it all

Your kids will be okay if they aren’t doing everything their friends are doing and it’s a good opportunity for them to learn that not doing everything their friends are doing isn’t something to be ashamed about. We all have our own struggles and priorities and I think it’s good to learn early on that kids don’t need to fit in to have fun. I wish I would have learned that a lot earlier than I did in life. 

I didn’t grow up doing a ton of activities during the Christmas season. Sometimes our family would take a trip together, which was a blast. We would go during Christmas and experience it in another state or town and have fun together exploring a new city and making dinner together in a small kitchen in our hotel room. It was awesome.

We didn’t do parades but we did go drive around looking at Christmas lights in neighborhoods with popcorn that we cooked over the stove and tried not to let explode all over the kitchen. We had fun decorating our Christmas tree together. One year my dad found a tree that legit looked like the poor little tree from Charlie Brown’s Christmas and it turned into the joke that never ended year after year since we couldn’t do worse than that tree. 

I don’t remember the gifts I got or gave. I don’t remember sitting for Santa photos. The memories from the Christmas season that remain are those with my family. I do remember one gift: it was tickets to a New Jersey Nets (a professional basketball team) the day after Christmas or so. I had played basketball with a passion as a tween and teenager and that gift was special. That’s really all I remember in terms of gifts. 

Choosing sanity

Because of those memories and because I have zero desire to drive myself crazy during these weeks leading up to Christmas, I intentionally try to minimize what we do. While I love writing about new activities for Christmas for Kidding Around, aside from those excursions, I try to take these weeks of Advent to spend quality time together with my kids. We go look at Christmas lights, go ice skating, go to live nativities and remember the real reason for this season, take time to volunteer, and read books together on Christmas. And, I intentionally try to not go overboard on gifts for my kids. 

I want to get to Christmas and not be completely worn out or fed up or just plain unhappy. After all, this is indeed a season of joyful expectation. If you’ve got to seriously scale back your calendar to be happier and less stressed, then by all means, do it. You truly don’t need to do it all so your kids can experience the magic of the season. They will remember the special moments with you above all else and that’s what matters.