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Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means the Upstate is already gearing up for Christmas with a handful of holiday-themed events. If you’re not ready to get festive, don’t worry. The weekend also brings opportunities to become a princess, learn information about nutrition and celebrate Native American culture.

Love to ice skate outdoors? United Community Bank Ice on Main opens Friday and will remain open daily through Jan. 16. Located on Village Green in front of the Courtyard Marriott on Main Street, the rink invites the community to bundle up and strap on those skates or simply watch the fun and enjoy some hot chocolate. Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for children, which includes the cost of skate rentals. You can find a complete list of hours and special events online at www.iceonmain.com.

Upstate, grab your tiaras. The annual Princess Academy from S.C. Children’s Theatre will offer princesses in training a chance to learn all of the basics of being a princess, such as smiling, entering a room, introducing herself, and curtsying. They'll have expert teachers as princesses Sophia, Rapunzel and Belle make appearances to show them the ropes. Parents are welcome to participate as their children also learn the importance of kindness and grace during one of four sessions 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., 11:30 – 12:30 p.m., 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Recommended for ages 3 – 8, this event is always popular, and seating is limited to 50 per show. Cost is $7 for adults and $14 for children. Advance reservations are required. For more details or to buy tickets, visit scchildrenstheatre.org.

Nationally-known dietitian Elizabeth Strickland brings her free program entitled “How Nutrition Can Help Autism, ADD, ADHD and Learning Challenges” to the TD Convention Center 10 a.m. – noon Saturday. The free program will present information linking nutrition deficiency to conditions on the autism spectrum and other learning challenges. Strickland, who is author of “Eating for Autism: The 10-Step Nutrition Plan to Help Treat Your Child’s Autism, Asperger’s, or ADHD,” will hold a question and answer session and offer parents recommendations on supplements and vitamins to improve behavioral challenges. Register online at www.hownutritioncanhelp.eventbrite.com.

If your kids love math, then the Fun with Math on the Trail program Saturday at Paris Mountain State Park will stimulate their minds while keeping them active. The Friends of Paris Mountain State Park will host the program at 10 a.m., led by school district math specialist Marge Scieszka. Scieszka takes math into the outdoors for a walk around Lake Placid. Participants will discover that math is everywhere, and math can be fun. Meet at Park Center for this family-friendly, two-hour program. Free after park admission, and no registration is necessary. For more information, call 864-244-5565.

Always a popular event, the annual Native American Celebration at Hagood Mill Saturday in Pickens observes Native American Heritage Month with a special day designed to celebrate the area’s Native American history and influence. A number of tribal groups will be represented, including some born and raised in the Upcountry as well as those who have made South Carolina their home. Activities will include traditional drumming, singing, dancing, Native American flute playing, storytelling, Cherokee hymns in the Cherokee language and crafts. There will also be a special children’s corner where visitors can make a beaded necklace and have their face painted in a Native American style. Stop by between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday for a full day of activities. Admission is free, but parking is $5. For details, call 864-898-3936. The mill is located at 138 Hagood Mill Road, Pickens.

Augusta Road Business Association organizes an annual Holiday Open House the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and the festivities have become a tradition for shoppers across the Upstate. Participating businesses host special events and sales to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Meanwhile, families can get in the holiday spirit with a visit from Santa, carriage rides, hot cocoa, door prizes, special gift ideas for Christmas and much more. This year’s event will be held 1 – 5 p.m. Sunday. For details, visit www.onlyonaugusta.com.

Families are also invited to the Let It Glow Tree Lighting Celebration 4 – 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Magnolia Park on Woodruff Road. Held in the courtyard in front of Regal Hollywood 20 & RPX, the event will include photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday entertainment by local choirs, hot cocoa and holiday treats. The United States Marines will also be accepting donations during a Toys for Tots drive. For more information, visit www.magnoliapark.com.

Find more events and resources online at www.UpstateParent.com.

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