It’s All Right Here

It’s Labor Day weekend!  Traditionally, many people say a final goodbye to summer by heading for the beach…but why, when there are great things to do right here at home?  And as for people who live at the beach year-round (or in any big tourist area), you can pretty much bet they are looking for things to do that will get them away from the crowds!

In Sumter, our summer fun has not ended, and there are plenty of things to do this weekend right here at home:

  • Enjoy a hiking or biking adventure at Poinsett State Park—Saturday is going to be pretty hot, but the rest of the weekend will be pleasantly warm (though not blistering).  Park admission is free…and why not organize a picnic while you’re at it, on the beautiful and historic grounds of Sumter County’s biggest state park?
  • Check out the action all weekend long at the Palmetto Tennis Center.  The USTA Regional Level 3 tournament will host 128 boys and girls, 16s and 18s from twenty-four states.  Admission for spectators is free.  Call (803) 774-3969 for more information.
  • Enjoy a “Splash-In” at the City of Sumter Aquatics Center!  Movies start on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30.  Sunday Family Night does not feature a movie, but it does get everyone into the pool for only $5 (up to four family members—additional family members are admitted for $1 each) from 6:15 until 8 p.m.
  • Check out classic performances from Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman in the film version of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, playing Friday night at the Sumter Opera House.  The movie starts at 7:30 p.m., and admission is only $2.50 per person.
  • Do some line dancing during Country Music at the Terrace with Eddie Rogers & the Sunshine Band, Friday night from 7-10 p.m. at the City Centre Terrace (next to Angel’s Restaurant).  Free admission!
  • The new exhibit at the Sumter County Gallery of Art features Sheila Pree Bright and Andre Leon Gray.  Gray’s mixed-media assemblage and installation works, constructed of found materials, are put together in an “eye gumbo” that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.  Sheila Pree Bright is a talented photographer whose large-scale pieces are sure to attract attention.  Both installations explore the ethnic diversity of our nation and the African-American experience.  Admission is free, and the Gallery Gift Shop will be open.  For more information, call (803) 773-0543 or visit online at
  • A “Roast and Toast” on Saturday, September 3 at the Sumter County Civic Center will honor Sumter’s own Judge Ernest Finney, Jr., South Carolina’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice.  This special benefit event’s proceeds will go to the Mary McLeod Bethune Museum Development Association.  For ticket prices and more info, please call (803) 453-5014.
  • Monday, September 5, will feature the Patriot Day Golf Tournament at Sunset Country Club, benefiting the Folds of Honor Foundation.  Shotgun start at 10 a.m.—to register or for more information, please call (803) 773-7220.
  • If you’ve never experienced the glory of Milford Plantation, Sumter County’s most beautiful antebellum mansion, this could be the time!  For more info, please click here.  Milford is located off Highway 261 near the town of Pinewood.
  • Right here in our own backyard, Swan Lake Iris Gardens is open to the public every day from 7:30 a.m. until dusk.  Enjoy the 150 beautifully landscaped acres, let your kids explore the playground, and be sure to visit the “Recovery” sculpture by Grainger McKoy, whose work will be featured at the prestigious High Museum of Art in Atlanta next month.

Wow…this has turned out to be one seriously long blog entry.  But really, it’s a long weekend, and there’s lots to do, so why not?  For more information on places and events in Sumter, visit us online at

The staff at the Swan Lake Visitors Center wishes you and yours a safe and happy Labor Day holiday!

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