Midlands events draw large crowds

mlucas@thestate.comApril 3, 2013 

— ONLINE

While they can all boast of record-breaking crowds, several of the Midlands’ recent marquee weekend events saw large turnouts, including the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, held March 22-24.

“The Swamp People were phenomenal,” said the classic’s director, Denise Frost.

While organizers only had preliminary numbers for the classic’s three-day event, the appearance of reality TV show stars RJ and Jay Paul Molinere, Frost said, may have boosted the outdoor show’s numbers to more than 30,000 – up from last year’s attendance of 25,000.

“We’re definitely up,” she said.

Five Points’ annual St. Patrick’s Day event, held March 16, also drew a large crowd of 36,448 revelers, said Merrit McHaffie, executive director of the Five Points Association.

That number, while down slightly from last year’s record-breaking 40,657, is still considered a large turnout for the festival, now in its 31st year.

In addition, McHaffie said the festival received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback on a customer experience survey. The event’s musical lineup and new street layout, designed to alleviate crowd congestion, received high marks, she said.

“Overall, everyone said it went very smooth,” she said.

While organizers of the Carolina Cup in Camden are expecting final numbers until next week, preliminary estimates showed the event, which coincided with the Easter weekend, drew roughly 55,000 to 60,000 people.

The annual steeplechase event usually draws crowds of 65,000 to 70,000 or more, said Teri Teed, assistant director for Carolina Cup Racing Association. Attendance was thought to have been impacted by the holiday or those wanting to spend time with family members on spring break.

Reach Lucas (803) 771-8657.

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