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      The Vista prepares for annual holiday season opener

      Downtown Columbia's annual tree-lighting ceremony is Thursday night at 7 p.m.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Downtown Columbia's annual tree-lighting ceremony is Thursday night. Vista Lights -- the annual kick-off to the holiday season -- will include live music, artistic performances, and even some complimentary food, beverages, and shopping discounts from businesses in The Vista.

      What: Vista Lights

      When: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday

      Where: Throughout The Vista

      The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. at the intersection of Gervais and Lincoln Streets. City Councilman Brian Newman is scheduled to perform the tree lighting with other dignitaries in attendance.

      "Sweet Street" deals offered by a few businesses during Vista Lights include:

    • Cupcake -- Gingerbread cupcakes, buy three and get the fourth cupcake free.
    • Tutti Frutti -- 25 percent discount on gingerbread (and other fflavor) self-serve yogurts.
    • The Peanut Man -- Children can make a gingerbread ornament and get a gingerbread lollipop.
    • LongHorn Steakhouse -- Free build-your-own s'mores bar
    • Liberty Tap Room -- Free holiday cookies
    • Marble Slab -- Children can meet Santa
    • Live music will be played throughout The Vista, including Chris Condon Brass Duo, Zach Bingham Jazz Quartet, and the Eau Claire High School marching band.

      Free parking will be available at all three Vista garages.

      Vista Lights attendees can catch the holiday spirit with horse-drawn carriage rides.

      To learn more about Vista Lights and see a full list of all Vista Lights happenings, click here.