It’s Iris Festival week! The gardens are alive with last-minute preparations…and some of the most beautiful day lilies I have ever seen, lots of annuals, and of course, the Japanese irises in their glory (I know, because I literally walked down and checked about thirty minutes ago).
The Sumter Iris Festival will be held Friday through Sunday, May 27-29, with the kickoff event on Thursday, May 26. At 5:15 p.m., the Mayor and other dignitaries will cut the official ribbon, signaling the beginning of a Sumter tradition since 1940. Immediately following, join us at the Taste at the Gardens, featuring a great variety of local fare and some fantastic live entertainment from Chief Complaint, Sumter’s own band of rockin’ doctors. (BTW, the band alone is worth the $5 admission…there’s not a better bargain in town!)
Temperatures are expected to be in the high 80’s (but this is South Carolina, so that’s subject to change), so be prepared for a crowd. Last year, we counted visitors from at least eighteen states, and of course a great part of the Sumter community will be on hand, checking out everything from fine art to foot-long sausage dogs. And for those of you who covet the kaempferi for your own, this is the ONLY time of the year that you can purchase Japanese Iris plants here on the premises, right in the beautiful Bland Gardens. Admission to the festival is free.
There are a few changes and additions to the schedule this year, so the recommended course of action is to check out the Iris Festival website—and then get ready to come down to Swan Lake Iris Gardens and enjoy a wonderful weekend! The Visitors Center will be keeping special weekend hours, open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so do come in and say hello—and check out the free Tuomey health screening on Friday morning, followed by a quilt show on Saturday and Sunday. We look forward to welcoming you to one of Sumter’s grandest celebrations! For more info, please call the Swan Lake Visitors Center at (803) 436-2640 or 1-800-688-4748.