Family friendly holiday events hosted by Fort Benning

Fort Benning begins its celebration of the holiday season Thursday by welcoming a VIP to the commanding general’s quarters at Riverside.

Santa Claus will meet and greet Fort Benning families from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the general’s historic residence on Vibbert Avenue. A stilt walker and face painters will be in attendance and free refreshments will be served to Santa’s guests.

Here are some other ways to celebrate the holidays with Fort Benning:

-Dec. 6, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.: The U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Concert Band will present “A Holiday Celebration,” at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The concert is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available at the RiverCenter box office.

-Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m.: The annual Trees for Troops event will take place in the parking lot of the main post car wash. Trees donated by Christmas tree growers through the Christmas Spirit Foundation and FedEx Corp. will be distributed to active duty soldiers and family members.

-Dec. 8, 6 p.m.: Field of the Four Chaplains, an annual Christmas tree and menorah lighting ceremony, is open to the public. The Infantry Band will provide a selection of holiday music. Following the tree and menorah lighting, Santa will be escorted to “Santa’s Workshop,” where he will hear holiday wishes.

-Dec. 9, 8 p.m.: Live reindeer and their sleigh will visit the Villages at Benning Welcome Center. Treats and refreshments will be served. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras and photograph their children in Santa’s sleigh.

-Dec. 11, beginning at 3 p.m.: The 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Regiment will welcome Santa Claus to the Airborne School for the 18th annual Airborne Tower lighting ceremony on Eubanks Field. Santa, accompanied by Fort Benning’s command exhibition parachute team, the Silver Wings, will perform a jump onto Eubanks Field at approximately 6 p.m. Santa will then be to his chair where he will give out gifts and candy before leading the countdown for the tower lighting. The free event is open to the public.