Attractions in Florence, SC
Amongst the other various things to do, Florence features several key attractions for both residents and visitors to keep themselves entertained. These, combined with the local and regional events, restaurants and shopping make Florence and the surrounding region an inviting place to live.
In New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art resides in Central Park. In the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, the Florence Museum of Art, Science and History graces Timrod Park. Housed in a 5,000-square-foot, art-moderne structure, the Florence museum is a collection of objects from around the world – a collection that has been growing since the museum was founded in 1924.
Like so many successful gatherings before it, the Arts International Festival began as a simple potluck affair. “The Pee Dee International Festival started at the Florence Family YMCA as a covered-dish supper,” says Joan Billheimer, long-time Arts International committee member. “People brought a covered dish from their individual culture. It was basically potluck – and very ethnic.” The festival grew from that modest beginning and is now held at Francis Marion University, where it has been combined with FMU's Art's Alive event.
The architecture is nearly as interesting as the reading material at the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation Library. The impressive 83,000-square-foot building on Dargan Street in Florence features classical columns, etched windows, chandeliers and spacious hallways. The foundation donated more than half of the funds to build the $17.4 million library, which opened in 2004.
The 1860s remain alive daily at the War Between the States Museum. Attractions at the museum include more than 400 photos of both Union and Confederate veterans, as well as weapons, camp items and relics recovered from several battlefields. The museum includes a library and research materials. In addition, the museum features a scale model of the 1860s Florence stockade as well as artifacts from the CSS Pee Dee, the only commissioned Naval vessel built in the area. The museum is at 107 S. Guernsey St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday.
The Florence Symphony Orchestra has been astounding sounding since 1949. The organization was told back then that Florence was too small to support an orchestra, but the symphony now features 60 members and presents four performances each year. The all-volunteer ensemble also works closely with the Florence County Youth Orchestra and a Florence Symphony Guild support group. Visit www.florencesymphony.com for more details.
Party alert: The city of Florence hosts six festivals each year. The Pecan Festival occurs downtown, while Francis Marion University hosts both the International Festival and Arts Alive. Other events are the Spirit of Florence July 4 Celebration of Family, the Greek Festival and the Sankofa Festival that recognizes African-American heritage. Celebrations in neighboring municipalities include the South Carolina Tobacco Festival in Lake City, Gator Festival in Olanta and Founders Day Festival in Johnsonville.