- For Immediate Release: October 24, 2013 - 

~Find Your Fun This Winter in Columbia~

  Columbia Convention
& Visitors Bureau

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Fun Links



Columbia Star Dinner Train Children's Christmas Express


Living Windows Festival


Eve Fest


University Concert Series


Nutcracker Ballet


Tribute to Trans Siberian Orchestra


A Christmas Carol


True/False Film Fest


Discover The District 


Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs 



As the temperatures drop and snow flakes begin to fall, Columbia, Missouri begins to glow with holiday lights. With fun and exciting festivals and special events, superb shopping and seasonal celebrations, the wintertime is the perfect time to explore and experience Columbia. Read on for just a few of the exciting things going on around Columbia this winter. 
All Aboard!! Next Stop, the North Pole! 
Spice up your holiday family traditions with a festive evening on the
Columbia Star Dinner Train's Children's Christmas Express. The Columbia Star Dinner Train offers the chance for children of all ages to enjoy the wonder and magic of Christmas during the first three weeks in December.

Children are encouraged to come dressed in their pajamas and join Mrs. Claus and her helpers sing Christmas carols as they make their way to Centralia to pick up Santa on a vintage 1950s locomotive. There will be cookies and hot chocolate for the kids and cheese plates and other snacks for the adults. Every child also will receive a gift bag filled with holiday loot and get to sit on Santa's lap to personally deliver their Christmas "wish list."


The Children's Christmas Express will be winding through the Missouri countryside for a three-hour holiday excursion every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 5:30-9:00 p.m., beginning December 5 and concluding December 21. Tickets for the Express are $28 for kids and $52 for adults. The Christmas Express is very popular and tends to sell out fast, so make your reservations today. For a complete Christmas Express schedule, and to reserve your family's spot for what could become a new Christmas tradition, visit www.DinnerTrain.com or call 573-474-2223.

"The District" is Delightful During the Holidays 

Columbia's charming and historic downtown, also known as "The District," is 43 not-so-square blocks of shops, galleries, boutiques, bars and chef-owned restaurants; and, during the holiday season, The District really comes to life. "Columbia is the perfect place to visit this holiday season," says Amy Schneider, director of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. "There are 110 unique shops in The District, so you can always find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and there's a host of holiday events for the entire family."  


Living Windows Festival

When the leaves begin to fall and the windows begin to frost, shopkeepers throughout The District begin planning for the annual Christmas holiday spectacle that is the  Living Windows Festival. On Friday, Dec. 6, from 6-8 p.m., downtown Columbia transforms into a joyous jubilee featuring boutique open houses, strolling carolers, holiday treats and visits with Santa - all against a festive downtown backdrop of holiday lights and garland. For more information, call 573-442-6816 or visit DiscoverTheDistrict.com.


On Tuesday, Dec. 31, join hundreds of celebrants for Eve Fest, a New Year's Eve block party in Columbia's historic downtown district. Eve Fest is a multi-cultural, alcohol-free celebration of community featuring music, dance, art, ritual, festivity and fireworks. This downtown celebration "is all about guitars," and features many live performances celebrating the popular instrument. The festivities will take place indoors and out, kicking off at 4 p.m. with a 5k walk/run and concludes with a procession and fireworks at the stroke of midnight. Admission buttons are $8 for those 8 years and older. Buttons are available in Columbia at all Gerbes Supermarket locations, the Columbia Parks and Recreation office as well as the Activities and Recreation Center ("the ARC") beginning December 1. Tickets also are available for $10 the night of the event. For more information on Eve Fest, please call 573-673-8477, or visit ColumbiaEveFest.com.

University Concert Series Offers Seasonal Shows for Whole Family

The University Concert Series offers a chance to warm up this winter in the beautiful and iconic Jesse Hall Auditorium, located on the University of Missouri campus, and the ornately restored Missouri Theatre for the Arts, in downtown Columbia, during a number of great holiday shows. Sponsored by the University of Missouri and 91.3 KBIA, the University Concert Series provides world-class entertainment year around. Here's just a taste of the tempting winter performance schedule:

  • On Tuesday, Dec. 3, enjoy a fanciful holiday favorite during the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Ballet.
    This rendition of one of the most famous ballets in the world features the timeless 
    Tchaikovsky score and begins with guests arriving for a Christmas Eve party as a host of magical events surrounding a nutcracker and a mouse king soon unfold.
  • On Tuesday, Dec. 10, experience the power, the music and the magic this holiday season as Denial 3 Productions performs a Tribute to Trans Siberian Orchestra at the beautifully restored Missouri Theatre for the Arts in downtown Columbia. Emulating the very show that has entertained millions, Denial 3 Productions has spared no detail when it comes to the music, the lasers, or awe-inspiring show that makes Trans Siberian Orchestra such a worldwide smash.
  • On Wednesday, Dec. 11 the Nebraska Theatre Caravan brings their celebrated performance of
    Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol to the Jesse Hall Auditorium. This rendition of the classic Christmas tale is a rich and thrilling experience with a production of ensemble music that all ages will enjoy. Viewers will cherish this luxurious annual holiday classic featuring live musicians and Broadway-style scenery and costumes.
For tickets and more information on University Concert Series events, please visit www.ConcertSeries.org.

Just Around the Corner...  

One of the most exciting film festivals in the U.S. celebrates its 11th anniversary in 2014. From February 27 through March 2, downtown Columbia is transformed into a small-town Midwestern utopia with hordes of filmmakers, film lovers, artists and musicians flocking to the internationally acclaimed True/False Film Fest

There's a reason Time magazine named True/False one of the top-50 cultural events to experience: the entire four-day celebration revolves around feature- and short-length documentaries, highly-sought-after secret screenings, masquerade balls, dance parties, ragtag parades and busking musicians. Passes for the 2014 festival are already on sale, so don't delay in ordering yours. For more information on the fest, and to order passes, please visit TrueFalse.org

Columbia features a mix of small town charm and friendliness with the amenities and cultural offerings of a big city. There is always something exciting to see and do in Columbia, so for more information on these events and other ways to have fun in Columbia, please contact Megan McConachie
at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-652-0987 or at VisitColumbiaMO.com.

Attention Media: Let us play host and show you around Columbia. For more information, media assistance, high-resolution photography, or to schedule a press trip hosted by the Columbia CVB, please call The Beenders-Walker Group toll-free at 800-544-8474 or email Marjorie, Kyle or Jo.