Congaree Bluegrass Festival picking a grinning good time

The Dillards, a bluegrass and country band, will headline Saturday's Congaree Bluegrass Festival at Granby Gardens Park in Cayce.

The Dillards also played the role of the fictional bluegrass band The Darlings on "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1963 to 1966.

But people around here aren't wondering what time The Dillards will start singing. Tammy Barkley, the city of Cayce's event manager, said folks have been asking whether the girl from The Darlings is coming.

No, Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling, isn't. But the music will be just as good without her.

And there's a lot of it. Also playing: Bill Wells and The Blue Ridge Mountain Grass, Sugarloaf Mountain Boys, Darlene and Reflections of Bluegrass, Easy PickinsCQ and Anne and Shellie & The UBgB.

Last year, Barkley said, 3,500 came to the festival.

"It blew us away," she said. "All the vendors ran out of food. They had to go to the grocery store."

Last year there were only eight vendors; there are 28, including one from New York, signed up for Saturday. Visitors are expected from North Carolina and Georgia, and from as far away as West Virginia.

"Bluegrass is a big thing," Barkley said. "I didn't realize it.

"(Fans) are the most relaxed people. They sit and they enjoy the music."

The festival will also feature guitar and banjo contests, as well as a children's area with panning for gold, a bounce house and a haystack search.

Here's a festival bonus: there will be a band scramble contest in which musicians are randomly matched to form a band.

Guests will also get free tours of the Cayce Historical Museum.

Lawn chairs are welcome, but coolers and pets are not allowed. And there will be no alcohol sold.

"It is totally family-oriented," Barkley said. "There's no drinking."


WHEN: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: 12th St., Cayce

TICKETS1800: Free, but canned good donations will be accepted

INFORMATION: (803) 796-9020