Local choirs performed for the crowds to kick off the Christmas season.
Governor Haley praised South Carolina's perseverance through adversity this year.
By: Anna Spotts
Governor Nikki Haley and her family kicked off the holiday season in the Midlands with the 49th Governor's Carolighting Monday night. Members of the community came out to see the Statehouse Christmas tree light up for the first time this year.
Columbia area choirs and hand bell groups performed the songs of the season to get the crowd into the Christmas spirit.
Dona LeGrand said it is an event that kicks of the Christmas season for her and brings the community together for a celebration.
"Folks of different walks of life coming around to celebrate the Christmas season and remembering what Christmas is really about," she said.
The Emmanuel AME Church choir also performed. The performance symbolized the start of a new season for the church in a year marked by tragedy. The Charleston church was the site of a shooting in June when nine members of the congregation were killed.
Governor Haley wrapped up a 2015 year saying the state has overcome many obstacles.
"This was a tough year for South Carolina. We have learned so much as a state because we got through this entire year never losing our faith," Haley said.
Then it was time to light the tree for the first time this season as the crowd celebrated. The 35' tree will remain on display in front of the Statehouse for the rest of the year.