FLORENCE, S.C. – The 2019 South Carolina Pecan Festival will be held Saturday in downtown Florence. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the 16th annual event, sponsored by the Florence Downtown Development Corporation and the city of Florence.
The festival will feature eight stages of live entertainment and more than 250 arts and crafts, nonprofit and food vendors.
The Ohio Players will headline the entertainment.
There are enhanced Kids Zone and STEM Zone this year, said George Jebaily, chairman of the festival.
“It is all free,” he said. “This is a very family-friendly event.”
There is a Pecan Cook-off competition.
“Just show up at the Pecan-palooza Stage by 10:15 with entries,” he said. “Each entry must contain pecans.”
Judging will take place between 11 a.m. and noon.
New this year is the “Go Nuts With Pink for Breast Cancer” competition. Think pink.
Jebaily said all of the vendors are asked to feature pecan products. He said last year they became creative with things like funnel cakes topped with pecans.
Young Plantation is the main pecan vendor. Young’s will offer something new this year, too, Jebaily said. It will have jalapeno pecans.
There will be arts and crafts on Evans Street with a Chalk Art Contests to begin at 10 a.m. The sidewalk chalk art will be in front of the new Jazz State. Individuals or teams of up to four participants can create art using chalk in a 5-foot by 5-foot space. There is no entry fee.
Other activities include amusement rides, an antique car and tractor show, plus 10K, 5K and half-marathon races. The morning will start with the Run Like a Nut half-marathon, starting at the Fitness Forum, across from the library on South Dargan Street.
There will also be a metric century and half-metric century bike ride and a 10-mile loop ride, which is new.
Medals will be awarded and cash prizes will be handed out to the top three male and female finishers in the half marathon of $100, $50 and $25 for first, second and third place.
Register at the Kids Zone for a chance to win a free bicycle.
Many activities are planned for the entire family, Jebaily said.
The festival will start at 10 a.m. and end at 7 p.m.
“We want people to come and have a good time,” Jebaily said. “We are appreciative of all of the sponsors and volunteers. Without them, this would never happen.”
Jebaily said the event takes 11 months to plan and a tremendous amount of effort from volunteers and city staff. He said it a truly a coordinated effort on the part of many people.
PDRTA is taking people to and from the event. The routes begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. with pick up and drop-offs every 20 minutes. Jebaily said between 2,500 and 3,000 people took the bus to and from the event last year, and he is expecting more to use the service this year.
Find the routes at florencedowntown.com/downtown-events/pecan-festival/parking-transportation/.