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Fun for summer with festivals throughout the Palmetto State

by Dawn Dawson-House
South Carolina has long been recognized for its wide array of scrumptious delights. Whether it’s fresh seafood, traditional barbecue or sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, South Carolina is home to many dishes appealing to a variety of palates. Visitors can indulge in authentic cuisine by attending one of the many food festivals scheduled for 2007. These festivals take place in locations across the state, celebrating culinary traditions. Many of the festivals also feature arts and crafts, music and activities everyone will love.

Lexington County Peach Festival
Each July 4, the town of Gilbert, 25 miles from Columbia, hosts the Lexington County Peach festival. Heaven awaits peach lovers as there are plenty of peachy treats available, such as peach ice cream, peach tea, peach delight, peach sundaes, peach cobbler, peach zip, peach slush and fresh sliced peaches. The day-long festival includes free entertainment, arts and crafts displays and concludes with a spectacular fireworks show. Visit www.midnet.sc.edu/peach.

South Carolina Festival of Discovery
Discover the food, history, culture and people of central South Carolina July 13-14. Enjoy a S.C. state championship cook-off featuring some of the best barbecue teams in the country. Located roughly between Columbia and Greenville, Greenwood offers up the great taste and flavor of South Carolina barbecue and traditional black kettle hash. The event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, whose mission is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form. Enjoy a weekend of food, fun, music, amusement rides and dance to an outstanding lineup of blues musicians. For more information, visit: www.uptowngreenwood.com/Events_FestivalofDiscovery.aspx

South Carolina Peach Festival
The town of Gaffney pays tribute to the state fruit with the South Carolina Peach Festival July 23-27. Along with the famous Giant peach water tower along Interstate 85 (the Peachoid), this festival salutes the peach industry, which produces over 200 million pounds of harvested peaches a year in South Carolina. The festival includes concerts featuring national country music acts, sporting events, parades, truck and tractor pulls and delicious peach desserts. For more information, visit www.scpeachfestival.org.

Pageland Watermelon Festival
Sit back, relax and watch a watermelon-themed parade travel down Main Street in Pageland, a historic community in northeast S.C. near the N.C. border. Set for July 20-22, local beauty queens will compete for the title of Watermelon World Queen. Stroll through the streets of Pageland and savor the delicious selection of foods.

Enjoy the wonderful assortment of traditional music, including beach, country and Southern gospel. Delight in the specialties of the car show and admire the talents displayed at the festival rodeo. For more information, visit www.pagelandcham.net.

Pelion Peanut Party

Farmers in Pelion, a mere 20 miles or so from Columbia, have been producing and harvesting peanuts for years. It has long been an annual tradition for the townspeople to gather for the boiling of the peanuts. Today, members of the Pelion Ruritan club continue the tradition at the annual Pelion Peanut Party, held Aug. 9-11. The Ruritans use a secret recipe for boiling the peanuts; however, they are more than happy to share the final product with festival-goers.
This year’s festival features a craft show, car show, home grown Idol competition, parade, bingo tournament and Palmetto Amusement rides. For more information, visit www.scpeanutparty.com.

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