LAKE CITY, S.C. – The streets of downtown Lake City were filled Friday night with art lovers and performers as the seventh year of ArtFields kicked off.

The festivities began with a drumline parade that ended on the Village Green. The Benedict College band performed on the green and got the crowd engaged with its dance moves. From there, attendees of the art competition and festival strolled the streets to view artwork and watched performances from a variety of groups.

Street performers included jugglers from Good Clean Fun, dancers with the By the Sea Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio of Myrtle Beach, a jazz band and other acts.

Volunteers helped festivalgoers navigate to the different exhibit venues and ensured everything ran properly Friday evening.

Hubert McFadden has been volunteering with ArtFields for six years. He said the nine-day event in Lake City gets better each year.

“I think my favorite part is meeting new people,” he said.

Harriett Rose, who volunteers in the ArtFields Welcome Center, echoed McFadden’s opinion that the festival and competition are constantly improving.

“You have a lot of repeaters comment on how nice Lake City is,” Rose said. “We live up to the quote ‘Southern hospitality.’”

Among the people who attended ArtFields on Friday was United States Senator Lindsey Graham. He, along with Lake City philanthropist Darla Moore, was seen in several of the downtown venues during the evening.

Graham said Friday was his first time visiting ArtFields and he was overwhelmed.

“When you think you’ve found the best piece, then you go to the next piece,” Graham said. “But it’s going to be hard to beat the spark plugs and golf clubs that look like a sheep.”

The piece Graham referenced is titled “Babbey” by Monks Corner artist Dennis Nelson. It is a mixed-metal application that is on display at Miles of Style at 112-B Sauls St. in Lake City.

ArtFields will continue through May 4 in Lake City. Activities on Saturday begin with the Color Me 5K and Field Day at 7:30 a.m. It is $25 to participate in the color run. People will be able to participate in Field Day activities on the Village Green as they wait for results.

Infinity Show Band will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Village Green.

Competition venues will be open most of the day so that people can view the work of hundreds of Southeastern artists.

ArtFields hours are:

>> Saturday – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

>> Sunday – 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

>> Monday through May 4 – 10 a.m. 7 p.m.

These times apply to the ArtFields Welcome Center, competition venues and public art.

To register to vote for an artist’s work, purchase ArtFields merchandise and to get event information and purchase tickets, visit the welcome center at The Stables at the Crossroads, 128 N. Acline St.

More information and a full schedule of events can be found at artfieldssc.org.

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