Plus, cooler temperatures on the way.
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Weekend Forecast

🌦️ Expect highs around 55° + a rainy Saturday

City Editor Sam here. This weekend the Soda City is full of festivals — Steel Hands’ Oktoberfest, Jubilee Festival, West Columbia’s Music Fest, Cola’s Greek Festival, and Carolina’s Food Truck Festival. Dance, drink, and eat your way through downtown

Scroll for more local events happening in Cola this weekend.
Friday, Sept. 15
  • PARK(ing) Day | Friday, Sept. 15 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | downtown Columbia, SC | Free | PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into PARK(ing) spaces - temporary public spaces.
  • Steel Hands Oktoberfest | Friday, Sept. 15 | 12-10 p.m. | Steel Hands Brewing, 2350 Foreman St., Cayce | Free | Celebrate Oktoberfest with authentic German music, contests, and a delicious menu of Oktoberfest-themed delights + its Festbier.
  • Noah Cyrus: The Hardest Part Tour | Friday, Sept. 15 | 8 p.m. | The Senate, 1022B Senate St., Columbia | $28 | Get tickets to see Noah Cyrus and hear hits like “July” and “All Falls Down.”
Saturday, Sept. 16
  • Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture | Saturday, Sept. 16 | 11 a.m.-6 p.m. | Mann-Simons Site, 1403 Richland St., Columbia | Free | Now in its 45th year, this free festival brings musicians, artisans, and storytellers together to celebrate South Carolina’s black history and culture on the grounds of the Mann-Simons Site.
  • West Columbia’s Meeting Street Music Fest | Saturday, Sept. 16 | 4-8 p.m. | 500-700 Blocks Meeting Street, 500-700 Meeting St., West Columbia | Free | This event will showcase a lineup of multiple genres of music, including nationally and regionally renowned artists on multiple stages throughout the River District on Meeting and State Streets.
  • Carolina Food Truck Festival | Saturday, Sept. 16-Sunday, Sept. 17 | Charles W. Johnson Stadium, Columbia | $35-$50 | Enjoy giveaways, music, entertainment, family-friendly fun, and good food.
Sunday, Sept. 17
  • Fall Dried Floral Wreath Workshop | Sunday, Sept. 17 | 1-2:30 p.m. | PlantHouse Columbia, 702 Cross Hill Rd. #400B, Columbia | $45 | Experience the modern plant revival at a PlantHouse workshop.
  • Columbia’s Greek Festival | Thursday, Sept. 14-Sunday, Sept. 17 | Times vary | Columbia | This is the last day you can enjoy the music, atmosphere, food, and drink, and learn a little about Greece.
  • Free Sundays Presented by Richland County | Sunday, Sept. 17 | 1-4 p.m. | Robert Mills House and Gardens, 1616 Blanding St., Columbia | Free | On the third Sunday of the month, residents of Richland and Lexington counties are invited to tour one of Historic Columbia’s house museums for free.
Click here to have your event featured.
Editor’s pick
Cola Skyline

This Cola-esc skyline was created using AI technology. | Image by Craiyon

So, you’ve heard of it, maybe someone in our family has tried to explain it to you or shown you how this new artificial intelligence platform works, but it’s still not very clear. No worries — new tech can be confusing, and we’ll do our best to show you how it works and how you can use it yourself.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is like a computer program that’s good at having written conversations with people. Imagine typing a question or message to it, and it responds with helpful information, answers, or even creative writing. It’s trained on a massive amount of text from the internet to understand and generate text like a human, making it useful for various tasks — anything from answering questions to assisting with writing. Think: It’s like having a smart digital pen pal.

How do you use it?

Simply go to this website and type in a question. We’ll go first.

Prompt: What is Columbia, SC is known for?

Answer: “Columbia, South Carolina, is known for several notable aspects:
  • State Capital: Columbia serves as the capital of South Carolina and is home to the state’s government institutions, including the South Carolina State House.
  • Higher Education: The city hosts several institutions of higher education, including the University of South Carolina, which is the state’s flagship university.
  • Military Presence: Fort Jackson, one of the largest U.S. Army training bases in the country, is located near Columbia.
  • Historical Significance: Columbia has a rich history, with ties to events like the American Civil War. During the war, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops famously burned much of the city.
  • Cultural Attractions: The city boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina State Museum, and various theaters and galleries contribute to this.
  • Outdoor Activities: The city is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes and rivers, offering opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, boating, and fishing.
  • Southern Cuisine: Columbia, like much of the South, is known for its Southern cuisine, including classic dishes like shrimp and grits, barbecue, and fried chicken.
  • Sports: The University of South Carolina Gamecocks, based in Columbia, have a strong presence in college sports. The city also hosts various sports events and has a minor league baseball team, the Columbia Fireflies.
  • Growing Economy: Columbia’s economy has been steadily growing, with a focus on manufacturing, healthcare, and research.
These elements combine to make Columbia a city with a diverse mix of history, culture, and modern development, attracting residents and visitors alike.”

Pretty cool, huh? It may not be an end-all-be-all platform, but play around with it and see for yourself how the AI technology works.
Have you ever used ChatGPT? If yes, how did you use it?

We want to know your thoughts about ChatGPT and how you would utilize it.
  • The internet’s favorite tumbler — the 40-oz. Stanley Quencher — is back in stock in cute colors like pool, jade, and orchid.
Let us know what you think about COLAweekend, a product of COLAtoday, by answering a few quick questions.
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