Concerts, races, games and fun are all in Fort Jackson's forecast this holiday season.

The Jingle Bell 5K Fun Run/Walk, a reindeer games shooting competition, a tree lighting, a football viewing party, and performances by the 282nd Army Band are all upcoming.

Friday is the annual Christmas tree lighting at Patriots Park.

Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson commander will light the Christmas tree with the help of the Family of the Year.

"I believe that the tree lighting is one of the most anticipated highlights of the season," said Outdoor Recreation supervisory recreation specialist Lorraine Reimer. "The tree is looking wonderful at the moment. We at Marion Street Station cannot wait to see it all lit up."

Activities will begin at 4 p.m. with the ceremony to start at 5 p.m.

A bounce house, arts and crafts and games for the kids will all be part of the fun. An artist will sculpt an ice masterpiece, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will hand out candy.

There will even be fake snow to play in.

The 282nd Army Band and the Child, Youth & School Services choir will perform.

It's a great way to "ring in the holiday season," said Gary Taylor of the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Last year there were between roughly 400 and 500 attendees, he said, adding that it has been "getting bigger and better" every year.

On Dec. 8, the Jingle Bell 5K will race to a start at 8 a.m. in the Marion Street parking lot.
The entire Fort Jackson community is invited.

"We will be giving everyone jingle bells for their shoes," said Cindi Keene of the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "When they finish, we will hand out candy canes."

The day is meant to provide "fitness for the Family (and) Family time," Keene said.

Later that day, Dec. 8, the 18-television viewing party for the Army versus Navy football game will be held at Magruder's Club and Pub.

The party starts at noon.

The Navy Midshipmen will face the Army Black Nights in Philadelphia, kicking off at 3 p.m.
The festivities will be topped off with food, drinks and prizes.

Saturday will be busy. Outdoor Recreation and Aachen Range are hosting a Reindeer Games Skeet Shooting Competition Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. for shooters of all levels.

"We would like to inspire some friendly competition amongst the shooting community here at Fort Jackson," Reimer said. "This is a great opportunity to get those actively involved in the sport out to the range. We hope that the event might also bring new shooters out to the rangeā€¦"

The 282nd Army Band is hosting two holiday concerts soon. They will be out in the community Dec. 6 at Patriot Hall in Sumter, South Carolina, and Dec. 14 at the Koger Center of the Arts in Columbia, South Carolina.

The concerts will begin at 7 p.m. and are free to the public.

"I'll be Home for Christmas"; "There's no Place Like Home for the Holidays"; and "Jingle Bells" are a few songs on their playlist.

These varied events bring the installation together, Reimer said.

"Here at Fort Jackson, we have such a diverse community filled with active duty service members, dependents and many retirees," Reimer continued. "This helps create that sense of community connectedness that many who are far away from their Families may be without during the holiday season. The events that MWR puts on promote this cohesion and build a support system that Soldiers and their Families can count on during the holiday season and beyond."