Prepare for a Harvest…of Good Times!

Friday, September 23rd marks the first day of autumn this year…a new season, bringing fall-themed activities to the Sumter area.  With temperatures hovering around the low-to-mid 80’s for a few weeks to come, the weather is perfect to get out and enjoy!

The beginning of October 2011 brings two uniquely “Sumter” happenings, both of which are guaranteed to reap a harvest of fun and education for all attendees.  The first of these is a new event, “Porches of Sumter:  Simply Delicious,” taking place on Thursday evening, October 6.  For $25 per person (advance), come out and enjoy food, beverages, music, fun and fellowship on a number of the lovely traditional porches of Sumter’s historic district (only not mine—it’s huge, but it needs painting!).  The festivities begin at Memorial Park at 6 p.m., and will last until 9, with music provided by Latitude.  Tickets will also be available at the park’s Registration Tent for $30.  The evening is hosted by the Sumter Chamber of Commerce, and is bound to bring up memories of evenings spent on neighbors’ front porches, enjoying refreshments and maybe just a tiny, little bit of old-fashioned gossip.  For more information, please call (803) 775-1231 or visit the Chamber online at www.sumterchamber.com.

On Saturday, October 8, the Carolina Backcountry Harvest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sumter County Museum’s Carolina Backcountry.  Join the museum staff and a troupe of historical re-enactors of all ages for this much-loved annual celebration as they demonstrate what life was like for people of Sumter District back in the days before video games, movies, the Internet, telephones and all of today’s distractions—when people had fun mainly by interacting with one another.  Docents in period costume (circa 1800) will demonstrate cooking, woodworking, blacksmithing and other skills that were required to prepare for a comfortable winter.  Having spent some years serving as the village chandler (candle maker), I can assure you that Backcountry Days are a great experience (except for the time I tried to build up my fire and realized too late that I had no idea what “fat lighter” was, and why one should not throw a human-head-sized chunk of it onto the coals).  The Sumter County Museum is located at 122 North Washington Street, across from Tuomey Healthcare System, but the Backcountry can also be entered via drive-in gates on the second block of Church Street.  Admission is FREE…and come prepared to roll a hoop, walk on stilts or taste a fresh, hot biscuit with hand-churned butter and country ham.  For more info, visit the museum online at www.sumtercountymuseum.org or call (803) 775-0908.

As we leave behind one of the most ferociously hot South Carolina summers in memory, get a cool breeze and a taste of the past at these two great outdoor events.  For more information on these and other early-fall activities, please call the Swan Lake Visitors Center at (803) 436-2640 or toll-free, 1-800-688-4748.

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