The Okra Strut is homeless no more.
Starting next year, the address of the nationally recognized festival will be on Eastview Drive on a tract that Irmo Town Council agreed Tuesday to buy and develop as a park.
“It’s great that we finally have a home,” festival chairman Kirk Luther said.
The purchase of the 14-acre tract for $230,000 ends two years of uncertainty about the future of the 41-year-old gathering.
Complaints about noise and traffic made the festival a gypsy forced to move regularly.
Its supporters began pushing town leaders to find a permanent site for it as available spots to rent shrank.
The new park will be “a jewel for our community,” Councilman Barry A. Walker Sr. said.
Mayor Hardy King is concerned that the cost of developing the site and its upkeep will be onerous for the community of 11,000 residents.
The project has a preliminary cost estimate of $1.1 million.
But Walker says development of the park won’t be as challenging as suggested.
He envisions a partnership between Town Hall and local civic groups that will help pay for its features.
The new park will be the largest in Irmo, triple the size of the town’s first park opened a decade ago.
A larger site is necessary for a two-day event that attracts crowds of up of 50,000 persons, festival officials say.
Acquisition of the Eastview parcel was approved 3-1, with King opposed.
It was chosen over a 4.8-acre parcel on Lake Murray Boulevard that was once the site of a tennis club.
Festival officials now turn their attention to settling on a site to lease for this year’s gathering in September.