From lower Richland County to Lake Murray, people from across the Midlands – and beyond – ventured out Saturday in search of a good time, food and a little civic interaction.
The fun parked tens of thousands of people in Irmo, onto USC’s campus and Five Points, on Rosewood Drive, on Columbia’s Main Street and in the Vista on a day filled with festivals.
Bow ties on display. There was no shortage of bow ties at the second annual Bow Tie Run that started at USC’s Horseshoe. About 250 runners turned out for the 5K that honors the memory of Andrew Sorensen. USC’s 27th president, Sorensen was known for his colorful neckwear and his work for Big Brothers Big Sisters, which the run helps support.
Spotted: Six-month-old Burns Williams, wearing a tuxedo tie, and a half-dozen bow tie-wearing pooches.
One cool parade. Near the shores of Lake Murray, life in the town of Irmo uncoiled along St. Andrews Road in the annual Okra Strut parade and festival. Politicians, beauty queens and bands marched along as people lined the streets.
“Isn’t this the coolest parade ever?” Terry Rhodes asked his 2½-year-old granddaughter Macie. “She hasn’t stopped waving.”
Food, music and more. Afternoon crowds at the fifth annual Viva La Vista strolled the retail, arts and entertainment district as a jazz group played on one of several stages. City residents Chad and Christen Jones were drawn to the event along with their 2-year-old daughter, Paige.
“It’s the opportunity to try a bunch of different food and hear a bunch of different music,” said Chad Jones. “... We should do more of this in Columbia – maybe not all on the same day.”
Ciao, baby! Over at Columbia’s fifth annual Italian Festival on Main Street, the crowd showed geographic diversity.
Linda Washington, 53, who moved to the Capital City a year ago from Los Angeles, was with her friend Mary Goddell, 42, who moved here two months ago from Grand Rapids, Mich. Both were drawn to the authentic food, which they missed from “back home.”
Also enjoying the cuisine? Michael Smyth, who’s new in town from Provo, Utah. The 28-year-old took a job four months ago at the Amazon plant near Cayce and was out with friends Saturday, exploring.
Spotted: A T-shirt that said, “You bet your bocce balls I’m Italian” and four sisters originally from Abruzzo, Italy, who came in from Atlanta just for the festival.
Reaching out to young voters. Quentin Gayten was home from college in Mississippi, where he’s a linebacker for the Delta State football team, when he heard about the voter registration drive at Big T’s Bar-B-Que in lower Richland County.
He stopped by the Garners Ferry Road restaurant for a bite to eat before filling out a registration form.
Manager Greg Brown’s goal? Get more young people to the polls.
Feelin’ artsy on Rosewood. For arts and crafts lovers, Columbia’s Rosewood Arts Festival was the place to be. Visual artists sold their wares, while performers provided a festive backdrop.
“This is nice,” said Cathy Abrams, who was playing host to her brother, Tim Fincham, of Norfolk, Va. The two were out looking for some fun. “We heard it was going to be a big weekend.”
Contributing: Clif LeBlanc and Andy Shain