Heart attack & stroke prevention
Natural hormone replacement
Weight loss support
Food sensitivity testing
Gut health balancing Stress management
Heart attack & stroke prevention
Natural hormone replacement
Weight loss support
Food sensitivity testing
Gut health balancing Stress management
This New Year, make a commitment to yourself and your health. If you’re searching for help with weight loss, hormonal balance, or decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, or diabetes, look no further than Palmetto Wellness. Dr. Gregory Eaves and P.A. Veronica Chavis have been working together for 10 years to help patients overcome issues like these. They have a passion for helping the community through preventative and functional medicine and look forward to many more years of looking out for the wellbeing of their Aiken neighbors. With their help, you’ll be celebrating good health and vitality as you enter 2023!
IN THIS ISSUE It’s the time of year where our town positively shines from both the twinkly lights that adorn the trees downtown and the beautiful holiday celebrations that are being hosted everywhere you look. Discover what makes Aiken a wonderful places to call home during the winter and beyond in our latest issue.
Meet Brooke Lundy and John Vaughn, musically gifted duo behind the traditional Holidays in Old Hollywood show at The Willcox each December.
Aiken Equine Rescue is entirely dedicated to reviving and rehoming equines in need so that they can find a loving adoptive home. Read more about their mission and how you can make a donation to support them now and in 2023. 38
As you’re shopping for all the loved ones on your list this year, consider giving a gift that gives back to the community. Our town is home to a variety of nonprofits that do positive, impactful work to make life better for those in need. Make a donation this year in honor of someone or consider adding “Volunteer at a local nonprofit” to your New Year’s resolutions in 2023. 36
And of course great shopping, dining, arts, events, and community— as always. Keep Reading
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Holidays in Aiken have always been celebrated with a blend of new and timeless traditions, beautifully intertwined together to create memorable celebrations. During this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see local horses decked out in holiday regalia and parading through our downtown streets nor to find lively, traditional Christmas vocals and piano accompaniment coming from the The Willcox’s lobby. You’ll see people lingering a while longer after gathering with friends for dinner simply to spend more time together. The local downtown streets have a gentle glow as boutiques and shops put forward their best festive window displays, decorated for all to enjoy! It is with warm hearts that we welcome you to celebrate the holidays in our winter issue of Fig Aiken.
Each year my family and I look forward to the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating, and gathering for local performances. Over the years, Aiken has allowed our family to create our own holiday traditions. One such tradition is that our family gets to dress up, have dinner
at The Willcox, and then make our way over for the opening night of the Aiken Civic Ballet’s The Nutcracker. It’s little traditions like these that you can experience here that make Aiken so special.
This year, take the time to slow down and indulge in the local sights, sounds, and savory meals. Spend a day shopping on Laurens Street where each shop owner will happily help you to hand select every gift on your list this year. Sit down for supper with your family and enjoy the culinary delights created with the season’s best offerings. Winter in Aiken is warm, cozy, and familiar, and the town is ready to welcome you home for the holidays.
It’s been another beautiful, prosperous year and as we look onward to the holiday season and new year, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic. As we gather, gift, and cheers our family and friends, let us always hold this spirit and generosity close in our hearts.
Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!ERIN + THE FIG AIKEN TEAM
This December, Hawk Law Group is celebrating one year at their office in the heart of Aiken on Laurens Street. Alongside attorney Kip McAlister, the Hawk Law Group cares deeply about our community and they are committed to serving it with excellence. In the face of catastrophic injury or death, you can trust them to provide excellent legal service with care, compassion, and counsel. From the Hawk Law Group to you and your family, have a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!
From left: Chase Duff, Chace Hawk, Kip McAlister, Shawn Merzlak, Reid Sanders
Each ornament on the Sullivan Turner holiday tree, handmade by team members, contains a word which embraces the holiday spirit—Believe, Joy, Faith and Gratitude. The Sullivan Turner Team is truly grateful for the opportunities to serve the community in real estate and beyond. Whether buying, selling, investing or planning, you will experience the gift of exceptional, concierge real estate service.Photo by Meghann Padgett
Plum Pudding has been making holiday gatherings at the table feel complete for over 40 years! They have provided the best cooking, hosting, and serving essentials for our community to shop from in their storefront on Laurens Street. They have everything you need for toasting and hosting and even marshmallow roasting! Locally owned and operated, Plum Pudding is filled with delicious food and gorgeous serving ware to help you set the table for every holiday meal this season.
This holiday season, stop by Aiken Dry Goods for a warm welcome and a vast selection of high-quality brands and goods. Catering to the sensibility of a sophisticated equestrian town, new owner Holly BiddleLedoux, offers an eclectic mix of creative boutique designers and wearable western fashion basics. As Aiken’s oldest western retailer, Aiken Dry Goods continues to deliver innovative style and renowned customer service to a loyal local and international clientele. As you shop for gifts for your loved ones, allow Holly to help you find the perfect item for each person on your list.Brands pictured: Johnny Was Stetson Driftwood Bedstu Outback Trading Co.
Elevate your wardrobe and your personal shopping experience when you drop by Ginger Bee Boutique on Laurens Street. Owner Brooke Thomas has filled her shop with all the style you need to close out 2022 on a fashionable note and ring in 2023 looking fabulous, and she’ll help you coordinate unique looks for every occasion on your calendar. Ginger Bee Boutique has been the place to shop for all of your holiday apparel and gifts since 2020—Make sure a stop by the store is on your list this season! New arrivals land in store and online every Friday at 11am!
The forecast is calling for lots of snow this winter in Aiken... at Vampire Penguin! Their light and fluffy snowy desserts, complete with decadent syrups and toppings, are the perfect sweet treat for the holidays. You can sip on one of their festive potions, Boba drinks, too! Savor and delight in all of the flavors of the season at Vampire Penguin. 108 LAURENS STREET SW 803.226.0121
Wine Craft Beer Provisions to go
Choose one of their specials or conjure your own—It’s guaranteed to be love at first bite!
When husband and wife team, James and Erin, first opened the doors of Cork & Cap, it was to bring their appreciation and knowledge of wine and craft beer to Aiken in the form of a boutique bottle shop. Since then, they have been overwhelmed with the support of the community and are honored to continue serving their neighbors into the new year. Cork & Cap has everything you need from hostess gifts to the libations to stock the bar at your holiday gathering—Shop in their family-owned business this winter to support local!
Pedego knows that all you want for Christmas this year is two wheels... and a pedal-assist to power you around Aiken and beyond! Luckily for you, Pedego has a wide selection of eBikes that fit the ticket and are ready to get you from point A to point B in style. Spend December cruising throughout town as you complete your holiday shopping and errands, and then ride into the New Year ready for every cycling adventure. Ho, ho, Pedego!
Create the ultimate gift basket for the Pedego enthusiast on your list. Purchase a new basket for their bike, and fill it up with the best accessories to make their rides more fun!
For your next corporate outing, treat your employees to a day at the club. Woodside Country Club is the ideal venue to mix business with pleasure for a restful time away from the office. Start with a round of golf, then end the day with a delicious meal prepared by the Executive Chef. Your team will find new motivation and rejuvenation after enjoying a day together at Woodside.
Formal meetings Business dinners Team building sessions Corporate & client golf outing Employee play days Contact Liz Bond to book your event Liz.Bond@invitedclubs.com
Can you hear that? The sound of bells jingling and clinking cocktail glasses raised in a toast to the holiday season? The time for celebrating has arrived in Columbia SC. Make your list of holiday festivities and check it twice.
All is Bright
Columbia has become nothing short of a light show thanks to rockstar events like Lights at Riverbanks Zoo.
On select evenings in November and December, you can experience Riverbanks Zoo & Garden after hours, illuminated by nearly a million lights and more than 350 hand crafted images. Take a picture with Santa and roast marshmallows at the Jingle Bell Bonfire at this magical winter wonderland where it “snows” every evening.
If you’re looking for a light show downtown, the South Carolina State Fairgrounds is once again hosting Carolina Lights. Load up the car, grab a cup of hot cocoa and get in the holiday spirit with the 4th annual drive-through light show. Carolina Lights will feature more than 100 individual LED light displays, including favorites from last year along with several new displays.
You’d be remiss not to experience the heart of SC’s largest drive-through holiday light show. Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park boasts three miles of lights featuring colorful, animated light displays. In addition to the light show, you’ll find activities like the winter wonder tube slide, a laser light show, letters to Santa, and the Santa’s Claus’et Gift Shop.
New to the holiday lights scene is Fireflies Holiday Lights, hosted at Segra Park, home to Columbia’s minor league baseball team, in the up-and-coming BullStreet District. From November 19th–December 31st, come see the ballpark decked out in over one million LED lights and discover holiday shopping, kids crafts and activities, and holiday-themed food and drinks.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a slew of traditions that get you feeling jolly. One of our favorites being visiting the state Christmas tree at the South Carolina State House. Grab your friends and family to take the perfect holiday photo in front of the 16-foot tree that sits on the corner of Gervais and Main Streets.
Restaurants and watering holes across the city will be donning their holiday, flavorful creations in the spirit of the season. A must visit is Publico Kitchen & Tap in Five Points, where the local favorite spot transforms into Santa’s Pub. Come sip on their new seasonal cocktails
with holiday shareables like Buddy the Elf’s Famous Breakfast Spaghetti. Cozy up in an igloo, enjoy the festivities, all the holiday décor, and tacky sweaters donned by staff.
If you’re down in the Main Street district and are looking to get in on the holiday fun, reserve an igloo at Market on Main and cheers with festive cocktails in your own winter wonderland.
Tis the season to get to shopping, and a trip to Columbia SC can take care of everyone on your “nice list.” From the culture vulture to the new homeowner, the heart of SC has something special for everyone.
With several award-winning attractions and public art around every corner, the culture is hard to miss in the heart of SC. Give the gift of an experience with tickets to the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina State Museum, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, or the gardens of Historic Columbia – just to name a few.
For the craft beer lover, go above and beyond the six pack and pair these craft brews with some local brewery swag and gifts. Grab a Coffee Lager mug from Steel Hands, or head to River Rat for a trendy t-shirt or hat with their recognizable rat logo. Does your someone have a favorite beer at Columbia Craft? Order online to pick up a crowler and pair it with some swag.
For the fashionistas in your life, head to Devine Street and pay a visit to Brittons of Columbia for their stylish and popular Brackish Bow Ties. While in the district, stop by mother-and-daughter-owned Monkee’s of Columbia for women’s fashion and Duck Duck Goose for gifts for the kids.
Have a new homeowner in your life? Nothing cozies up bare shelves like a stack of books. Craft an artful selection from Ed’s Editions in West Columbia or Odd Bird Books in the Arcade Building and tie them up with a pretty ribbon. Find all kinds of homey knick knacks at home boutiques like Blush in Lexington or The Little Green Door.
Learn more and get inspired this holiday season at EXPERIENCECOLUMBIASC.COM.
Dr. Ganesha Perera, MD FACS RPVI, is a board-certified vascular surgeon with over 20 years of experience. He has been practicing in SC and GA for the last 13 years.
Get in contact, no referral needed.
Trust the Aiken Vascular Specialists & Vein Center team to provide you with care of the highest quality when facing conditions like leg pain, swelling, unsightly varicose veins, and spider veins. They perform in-office procedures with sedation and have a full vascular lab on premises to deliver treatment in the most compassionate, convenient, and timely manner. And as the only board-certified vascular surgeon in Aiken, you can feel confident that you’re in the very best hands.
690 MEDICAL PARK DR, STE 102 803.602.4343 AIKENVASCULAR.COM
The weather may be chilly now, but golf season will be here before you know it. Don’t let pain or injuries keep you from the activities you love most in 2023! Instead, use these winter months to get back to your best physical shape with the help of Dr. Raines and his team at Raines Physical Therapy + Performance. They work to help people regain mobility and health after surgery or other setbacks for a return to an active lifestyle without pain. Their expertise and dedication can aid you in reaching a full recovery—just in time to enjoy your favorite pastimes to the fullest extent!
Scan to schedule your first appointment.
1393 SILVER BLUFF RD 803.226.9196 RAINESPHYSICALTHERAPY.COMPhoto location: Aiken Golf Club
Your child’s smile will shine in every visit with Santa and in each family photo this year thanks to the excellent care and oral hygiene instruction from their visits to Kitfox Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Thom, Anna, and their entire team are wishing you and your family a holiday season filled with happy smiles, cheer, and magic!
Schedule your child’s appointments for 2023—children ages 6 months and up are welcome!
Imagine this: A recreational land tract that you can retreat to whenever the mood strikes. Land to hunt on, land to camp on, land to create memories on with your family, and land that you can pass on one day. It’s your piece of country to escape to.
The team at Coward & McNeill is ready to help you land on your legacy as you discover the recreational tract of your dreams. Whether you need a small parcel just outside of town or significant acreage deeper into the country, their experienced team is here to guide you. They have an extensive knowledge of Aiken and surrounding areas. They will put their experience to work for you as they lead the way in turning your dreams of owning land into a reality in 2023.
Development, recreational, and timber land
Commercial, industrial, and investment real estate
Welcome to Augusta Plastic Surgery, the destination for all of your skin, face, and body needs. With an upscale clinic and MedSpa on one side and a Quad A certified ambulatory surgery center on the other, APS provides full-service plastic surgery and aesthetic services. The friendly staff and peaceful atmosphere cultivate a pleasant environment, and the team utilizes cutting edge technology and years of experience to provide you with outstanding results. You’ll feel confident that you’re in good hands at Augusta Plastic Surgery.
At Merit, the designers know that home renovations are not one-size-fits-all. It takes customization and personalized attention to create a space that truly suits you and your family. When you choose Merit for your remodel, you'll work closely with a design director to bring your dreams to life. They will make a personal visit to your home to get a feel for your unique space and evaluate your current layout. Then the project manager will take over to execute your carefully crafted vision, and you'll watch as it becomes a one-of-a-kind reality.
AIKEN 803.649.0961 AUGUSTA 706.736.1491 EVANS 706.863.5839
Warm up quickly with South Carolina’s only wood fired oven (heats up to 900°!) and with the authentic Neapolitan pizza of Apizza di Napoli. Pro tip: Try their New Haven pizza, a savory combination of tomato sauce, smoked provolone, mozzarella, garlic, oregano and dry basil. This Neapolitan style of pizza is common in and around New Haven, Connecticut, the hometown of owner Cliff Garzzillo! Enjoy a slice of home at Apizza di Napoli!
Your house is a warm, loving place to come home to, especially during the holidays as you are hosting family and friends to gather and celebrate the season together. Protect your home this winter and throughout the year with the caring team at Steve Mason State Farm. Let homeowners insurance be the gift you give yourself: Steve and his team will take the stress and worry away so that you can spend more time enjoying the holidays.
Providing 24/7 service and insurance in the areas of: Auto Homeowners Renters Business Life Health
A proud and long-time supporter of The Aiken Horse Park including sponsorship of the signature class during October’s USEF Hunter/Jumper show, the $25,000 Grand Prix, Deirdre presented to this year’s winner, home town hero Daniel Geitner, also a founding board member of Bruce’s Field. Daniel, along with the other members of the board have tirelessly stewarded the development of this remarkable resource and facility since its beginning in 2014. Nestled in the historic horse district of Aiken and envisioned as a place where equestrian enthusiasts of all disciplines could gather, this, and every event hosted at the Aiken Horse Park / Bruce’s Field has a charitable partner for raising both awareness and funds.
Over $200,000 has been donated to deserving local and national charities, and the direct annual economic impact of Aiken Horse Park activities on the Aiken community is upwards of $18 million.
Whether you come to Aiken for an equestrian event, the winter season, or as a permanent Aiken resident, Deirdre will make you feel welcome and right at home.
For more information on the Aiken Horse Park Foundation and how to become involved, visit aikenhorsepark.org.
For Jonathan Waller of Angell Molony, there’s no better place to call home than Aiken, SC. He recognizes how special our city is with its vibrant downtown area, wonderful small businesses, close-knit community, and opportunities for growth. That’s why he loves being a part of the process that brings people home to Aiken. As a real estate attorney, he helps people close the deal on their homes so that they, too, can experience our gem of a town. Thanks to years of experience and a commitment to efficient closings, Jonathan has become the go-to attorney to have present at the closing table.
Whether you’re a real estate agent, broker, lender, buyer, or seller, Angell Molony is the law firm you want on your side for your closing.
THE SOCIAL CALENDAR DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON in Aiken is always full. With shopping events on Laurens Street, lights to see at Hopelands Gardens, and the traditional Hoofbeats and Carols Christmas Parade, there’s an abundance of festive spirit and activities in our town from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve. But no matter how many events you RSVP to, make sure your calendar is free on Sunday evenings in December when Old Hollywood comes to The Willcox’s historic hotel lobby. It’s the musical event of the season!
Singer Brooke Lundy and pianist John Vaughn bring rich melodies and classical holiday music to The Willcox each December in their Holidays in Old Hollywood series held each Sunday evening of the month. It’s a timeless,
classic event that has become such a crowd favorite that reservations are often sold out as soon as they are made available.
“My favorite things about singing vintage-inspired holiday classics at The Willcox in Aiken every December is the shared sense of an old-fashioned Christmas in a place where you truly feel transported in time,” Brooke said.
For John, playing at The Willcox is something that he has done for nearly four decades. He first sat down at the baby grand piano in the lobby back in 1985 and it was from there that he launched his successful pianist and composing career. John has been a staple at The Willcox and over the years, as part of the duo with Brooke, has created a beloved holiday tradition in Aiken.
“It’s nice to hear how our nights have become a holiday tradition with many friends and families,” said Brooke. “In between songs, John and I adore sharing the history of artists whose music we are performing—Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and more—who had connections to Aiken!”
Be transported back to the early 1900s with Brooke and John as they sing you back to a magical time in Old Hollywood this Christmas season.
While Holidays in Old Hollywood is sold out for 2022, you can still catch Brooke Lundy and John Vaughn at The Willcox this holiday season. Join them at the annual Toys for Tots event from 4–6pm. Each child that donates a new, unwrapped toy will receive a complimentary photo and visit with Santa. Afterwards, join Brooke and John around the piano in the lobby for an hour of Christmas carols.
Healthy smiles start at Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery! Their highly trained doctors address a wide variety of issues relating to the mouth, teeth, and face, performing procedures including dental implant placement, bone grafting, wisdom tooth removal, jaw surgery, and more. They operate three offices in the CSRA, one of which is right here in Aiken. For compassionate care provided by local surgeons, trust CFOMS.
Meet Dr. Bill Trotter, a surgeon at CFOMS. Dr. Trotter has been practicing as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon since 2004 and is prepared to help you find relief from the dental and facial issues you’ve been dealing with. Call the Aiken office at 803.716.9586 to schedule your consultation.
EVANS, GA 706.724.8735 | 7011 EVANS TOWN CTR BLVD AIKEN, SC 803.716.9586 | 1907 PAWNEE ST N. AUGUSTA, SC 803.278.2050 | 101 NUTGROVE DR
Social isolation in seniors has been linked to a decline in both physical and emotional wellbeing. To keep seniors engaged and connected, Aiken Senior Life Services has launched an Enrichment Program featuring hands-on workshops, enlightening speakers, fitness classes and more. The greatest gift you can give an aging relative, friend, or neighbor this holiday season—and all year round—is your company and your time. Call an isolated loved one and invite them to an Enrichment Event today.
TO LEARN MORE OR REGISTER FOR AN EVENT, CALL 803.648.5447 OR VISIT
Ready to get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions? Max Fitness is the place to be! With state of the art equipment, experienced trainers, a variety of group class options, and their exclusive Push Zone Training, there’s no doubt you’ll have all the necessary tools to achieve your health goals. Begin your journey at Max Fitness now and you’ll be looking and feeling your very best throughout the holiday season and into 2023. Push Zone Training Weights Kidz Zone Aquatic training Group classes Personal training Cardio equipment
Down, set, hut! Open the playbook for a bright, healthy smile in 2023 with Dr. Vereen and his team. They have decades of experience and knowledge on their team, and they’re ready to lead you and your family to outstanding oral health that lasts long past the final game of the season. You’ll be cheering for the Vereen team after your first visit and all the way through to the championship, with a beautiful smile as the trophy. General & Preventative Dental Care Cosmetic Dentistry Reconstructive Dentistry Advanced Dental Care
Aiken Center for the Arts, founded 50 years ago, has provided our community and visitors alike a place to find themselves through art. They have been a staple in our town as they introduce us to new pieces of art, artists, and educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available in Aiken. Aiken Center for the Arts is an experience for all ages—the littlest creators to world renowned artists—and this winter, they continue their mission to bring exciting visual and performing arts to us.
In 2004, the community came together through a project called Horseplay. Local artists created 32 horses that were auctioned off to raise money to expand Aiken Center for the Arts and to create 20 years of scholarships. While many of the horseplay horses ended up in private collections, there are nine remaining horses that are in public spaces around Aiken. These nine horses are at the core of Aiken Center for the Arts newest program, Horse Around Aiken. This treasure hunt begins and ends at the arts center—Pick up a map and follow the trail around town to discover each of the nine horses. Not only will you find vibrant artwork, but you’ll learn a thing or two about your hometown along the way. It’s a great activity for the
entire family, and anyone visiting you for the holidays, to enjoy together.
After the excitement of the holidays and the beginning of a new year winds down, you have the opportunity to join Aiken Center for the Arts’ mission as their 22nd Annual Aiken Antique Show comes to town February 3-5. Their only fundraiser of 2023, it’s a weekend of great vintage shopping with all proceeds going to benefit Aiken Center for the Arts. The fun begins the night before the show opens with the Cocktails and Collectors’ Preview Party—which always sells out, so grab your ticket early—and continues throughout the weekend as visitors from across the state and the southeast come to find vintage pieces and antiques to purchase. There will be 22 Antique Dealer booths from around the country and amazing guest lectures to go along with your shopping experience. Round out the weekend with the Bloody Mary Bar and Shrimp & Grits Brunch on Sunday. For those interested in supporting the event, there are sponsorship opportunities available for community members.
Come one, come all—Aiken Center for the Arts invites you to immerse yourself in the artistic soul of Aiken this winter.
The gift of home is priceless…and most especially to our wounded veterans who are true American heroes. With gratitude, The Nancy Cerra Team is donating a portion of every closing to help provide the peace and comfort of a warm haven to those who have given so much.
To explore how to join in giving back through Building Homes for Heroes, please contact Marina Brantley or Nancy Cerra.
There are so many wonderful nonprofits here in Aiken that work tirelessly to make our community a better place. Most rely on the support of donations and the efforts of volunteers to continue operating. As you get in the giving spirit this holiday season, consider including one of these organizations in your generosity. Here are just a few of the amazing nonprofits that could benefit from your help!
To preserve the Immanuel Institute building and to be an educational resource that celebrates and demonstrates the contributions of African Americans in Aiken, SC, and our nation.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Volunteer your time
Make a donation
Become a member caahac.org
To rescue horses who have suffered from abuse and rehome Off-the-Track Thoroughbreds and horses whose owners can no longer care for them.
HOW TO SUPPORT: Adopt a horse to rewrite their story
Join Aiken Equine Rescue’s sponsorship program
Make a donation
Explore volunteer opportunities aikenequinerescue.org
To empower children through a lifetime of new challenges by seamlessly integrating the game of golf with life skills curriculum.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Give a donation
Become a coach
Support First Tee through Amazon Smile and Kroger Community Rewards firstteeaiken.org
To allow seniors to age gracefully in place by providing meals, transportation, and social interaction to older adults.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Volunteer with Meals on Wheels
Volunteer with the senior community
Give a financial gift aikensenior.org
To inspire and educate the community through unique visual and performing art experiences.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Become a member, donor, or sustainer
Volunteer your time
Register yourself or your children for art classes offered at ACA aikencenterforthearts.org
MISSION: To improve the lives of abused, abandoned, and neglected pets by rehoming them and fighting for their well being through legislative efforts, education, and affordable veterinary care.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Donate an item from their online wish list
Make a monetary contribution
Become a volunteer
Adopt a pet letlovelive.org
MISSION: To protect and preserve the Hitchcock Woods in an ecologically healthy state, maintain and manage equestrian and pedestrian uses, and foster education on the history and resources of the Woods.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Buy books that celebrate & support Hitchcock Woods
Shop through Hitchcock Woods’ Amazon Smile link hitchcockwoods.org
MISSION: To encourage dance as an art form, promote outreach education through the discipline of dance, and provide premiere training and performance opportunities for dancers in Aiken and beyond.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Attend performances and events as a patron
Support ACBC as a sponsor
Donate the amount of your choice aikenballet.org
To provide Specialized Therapeutic and Recreational Riding for individuals with special needs to improve the emotional, cognitive, and/or physical challenges they face.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Seed Great Oak’s scholarship fund
Sponsor a pony
Donate your horse
MISSION: To enrich the quality of life and well-being of children, youth, and families who have been affected by abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect.
HOW TO SUPPORT:
Volunteer individually or with a group
Gift an experience for a child in need through the Helping Hands website
Make a monetary donation helpinghandsaiken.org
Give in honor of a loved one: Make a donation in someone’s name as a birthday or Christmas gift.
Get the kids involved: Allow your child to pick a nonprofit organization that resonates with them and make a donation together.
Team up with friends: Utilize fundraising tools on social media platforms to encourage your friends to support a worthy cause with you.
Volunteer your time: Spend some time at a nonprofit of your choice to provide hands-on support.
At Aiken Equine Rescue, it’s all about giving back new life. The horse rescue farm averages 90 adoptions per year, more than half of which are Off-theTrack Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) who need a safe place to transition from racing. Aiken Equine Rescue is one of 82 organizations that has been accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) to retrain, retire, and rehome Thoroughbreds. One such horse is BJ Diablo, a native Puerto Rican-bred racehorse who was in desperate want for a home and a family after his retirement.
BJ raced seven times during his career to achieve three first place wins, three second places, and one fifth place. When his racing owner decided to retire him, he was sent to Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc. But shortly after that, Puerto Rico was hit by the Category 5 Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Aiken Equine Rescue agreed to take BJ in. The former racehorse did not know how to simply be a horse after everything
he’d been through. In an attempt to help BJ decompress and adjust to life off the track, Aiken Equine Rescue enrolled him in their Trust & Release Program for veterans, active duty members of the military, and victims of trauma. He quickly became a favorite as he helped individuals open up and find increased confidence while simultaneously being healed himself as he sensed his purpose in helping humans. BJ was eventually adopted but subsequently returned to Aiken Equine Rescue due to the sentiment that he was “too much horse.”
Despite that setback, the best was yet to come for BJ. Another local family decided to adopt him for mom, Lyndsey. However, Lyndsey’s eight year old daughter Savannah almost instantly formed an inseparable bond with the horse. From day one, it was clear that he was meant for Savannah all along. She’d had an unmistakable love for horses for her whole life, but it wasn’t until BJ that she found her true “heart horse.”
For Lyndsey, there has been no greater joy than watching the deep relationship blossom between Savannah and her horse. “As a parent, watching them connect is indescribable. Every day I’m in complete awe of the bond they share and the things he has taught her this far. He’s become her safe place, and for that I couldn’t be more thankful!” she said.
Aiken Equine Rescue itself has also become very special to Lyndsey, her fiancé Brad, and Savannah. Not only did they connect with BJ here, but it’s also where the couple got engaged and will have their wedding, and where the family truly feels at home. “To say the rescue is our happy place would be an understatement,” Lyndsey said. “I can only imagine Heaven is just like the rescue: beautiful hills full of happy horses and people who strive for happy endings.”
To learn more about how you can give back to horses in need and support the rescue’s mission of giving second chances, visit aikenequinerescue.org.
Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum
December 2 –31
Stop by the Aiken Visitors Center to admire Christmas trees that have been decorated creatively by a variety of competitors. visitaikensc.com
Aiken’s First Baptist Church
December 4, 4 pm
Kick off the Christmas season with Carols by Candlelight, presented by the Aiken Choral Society. This special show will feature festive selections by Vivaldi, John Rutter, Berlioz, Irving Berlin, and others. aikenchoralsociety.org
The Etherredge Center
December 9, 7 pm
Experience one of the world-class jazz performances that Joye in Aiken is known for, this time with a holiday flair. joyeinaiken.com
Aiken Community Theatre
December 9–17, Times Vary
Enjoy Aiken Community Theatre’s take on the delightful, comedic modern-day holiday classic that follows Buddy the Elf’s journey to discover his true identity. aikencommunitytheatre.org
December 10–22, 6 pm –9:30 pm
Stroll through Hopelands Gardens and take in the view of over 100,000 twinkling lights while sipping on hot cocoa or apple cider. Bring the whole family to enjoy holiday activities for kids, photos with Santa, and live music. hopelandgardens.com
The Etherredge Center
December 11, 3 pm
Each year, the Aiken Symphony Orchestra produces their special Home for the Holidays show that includes both traditional and popular holiday music. This year attendees will also witness special appearances by dancers from the Aiken Civic Ballet and vocalist Jonathan Kaufman. aikensymphonyorchestra.com
The Etherredge Center
December 16–18, 7 pm
Visions of sugar plum fairies will be dancing in your head after you witness the Aiken Civic Ballet’s performance of the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker. aikenballet.org
December 17, 2 pm –3 pm
Hundreds of horses, riders, dogs, and handlers will be parading the streets of downtown Aiken in celebration of the Christmas season. Sing along as they carol through town! aikendda.us
Downtown Aiken January 6, 12 pm
If your list of New Years’ Resolutions includes items like “run a 5K” or “exercise more often,” the Frosty 5K is the perfect opportunity to get a head start on your goals while supporting United Way of Aiken County’s mission to help our community. uwaiken.org
William B. Bell Auditorium
January 10–11, 7:30 pm
Shen Yun tours 150 cities around the world every year to share the rich cultural heritage of China. Attend the performance in Augusta this January to see this brilliant artistic revival for yourself! shenyun.com
Amentum Center for the Performing Arts January 15, 3 pm
Join the Aiken Symphony Orchestra at the Amentum Center for the Performing Arts for a fabulous winter concert with pieces by composers Haydn and Mozart. aikensymphonyorchestra.com
Aiken’s First Baptist Church February 17–25
Get lost in the magical world of Narnia at the Aiken Community Theatre’s performance of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. You’ll witness chases, duels, and escapes as Aslan triumphs over the White Witch. aikencommunitytheatre.org
George Funeral Home understands legacy. Locally owned and operated for over 100 years, their team has deep roots here in Aiken as they have faithfully served neighbors in our community for generations, preserving legacies and honoring memories of loved ones. They will be there for you in your time of need, and will help you plan a celebration befitting a life well lived.
Within the walls of ByFarr Design House, many hands, talents, and voices come together to amplify and tell the stories of the brands and clients that they work with throughout the state and beyond. The ideas and creativity flow as the team works together to plan, form concepts, capture photography and videography, write copy, hand draw illustrations, create designs, proof, and finally, output a remarkable final product that everyone is proud to have produced...together.
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