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Weekend Round-Up: Holiday explosion edition

The best events in Charleston Dec. 3-5

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It can be tough to get into the holiday season when daily highs hover around 70, so we're pleased to see that temperatures are going to be a bit more wintry this weekend. For the scrooges out there, don’t let the tree lightings and parades further your already unsavory temperament — there are plenty of other things to do around town this weekend.

But let's start with the holiday stuff. Swing by Park Circle for a Christmas Festival and Parade on Saturday. Downtowners can check out the Holiday Parade of Boats and chill with Mayor Joe and Santa while they lead the official City of Charleston Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Charleston Christmas Parade is Sunday, along with Chanukah in the Square, which features live music by Eden and the Jewish Choral Society, a lighting of the nine-foot menorah by Charleston's Holocaust survivors, and treats including latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). 

There are tons of art openings during Friday's festival holiday Art Walk. Check out our round-up. Cone 10 Studios warms up to the cold season with a Winter Wonderland Welcoming in their new space on Saturday. The free event includes Happy Camper Snoballs party beverages, an ornament creation station, and gifts for purchase.

While you’re in the process of gift shopping for your friends and family, you can also give to Lowcountry AIDS Services. Their annual Shopping with Friends event features more than 100 local retailers and restaurants that will give 10 percent of every dollar you spend to the nonprofit organization. Things kick off Friday night with a cocktail party and a Saturday brunch.

Alright, animal lovers: head to the Aquarium for the Sea Life by Starlight event Friday. There’s going to be food, music, auctions, and since it’s happening at the Aquarium, chances are you’ll see some sea life. At CofC’s Dog Show on Friday afternoon, presented by the school’s women’s tennis team, you can enter your pup for only $5. On Saturday, the Charleston Animal Society hosts a Celebrity Chili Cook-off. We love chili, so we may go, but as far as the celebrities, we're hoping Brangelina, but expecting Rob Fowler and Dean Stephens.

Spend a Sunday afternoon with animal expert Jack Hanna at the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw. Family-friendly activities include a visit to Vulture Restaurant, Harris Hawk Walks, face painting, arts and crafts. While you're out there, Awendaw Green is hosting a music festival all weekend — think an impromptu Rocktoberfest. Tickets are cheap, and it’s a great chance to get out and enjoy the brisk weather and support local music.

Finish out the weekend at Boone Hall Plantation, sampling a variety of wines and gourmet foods from Lowcountry restaurants at Wine Under the Oaks.

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