Sumter Iris Festival in South Carolina

By Paul Ladd on October 21, 2012 at 10:00 am EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett

The Sumter Iris Festival is a local institution, the oldest continuous event in South Carolina and one of the most popular festivals in the Southeastern U.S. Held every Memorial Day weekend, the three-day event has for generations drawn visitors from around town and around the country.

A king and queen are crowned on the evening before the Iris Festival officially begins. Opening festivities also include Taste at the Gardens, which highlights some of the area’s best local foods, along with live performances by area musicians.

Sumter’s Swan Lake-Iris Gardens is home to the Iris Festival. The lake features swans from five continents, and is also a bird sanctuary and a destination in its own right. You’ll also find beautiful Japanese iris beds around by the lake.

There’s something for everyone at the Sumter Iris Festival. Dozens of vendors display and sell their food and wares, and concerts and other entertainment are part of the event. Visitors can also enjoy quilt and car shows, all kinds of contests, and fun activities for children. Admission to the festival itself and parking are free.

The Sumter Iris Festival hosts thousands of visitors from many states and Canada each year, including groups who come on bus tours. Southern Living magazine and other print and broadcast media have covered the festival, giving it higher visibility both regionally and nationally.

Find more fun events in Sumter, SC.

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