20 SC Festivals Where You Can Taste the World

By:Libby Wiersema

Date:2/15/2018

Though steeped in Southern-ness, South Carolina reflects a mosaic of cultures. This diversity is celebrated annually at festivals across the state. Not only are they educational and entertaining, but they are delicious, too. Here is a sampling of annual events where you can experience global flavors without leaving the country:

Irish Festivals

Shepherd’s pie, corned beef, cabbage – everyone gets lucky at an Irish festival. Add a mug of Irish beer for a little extra good fortune.

Lowcountry Irish Festival, Mt. Pleasant (February)

Fun features: Four performance stages and after-fest jam sessions

Irish Fest, Camden (March)

Fun features: Leprechaun parade and highland games

Irish Fling, Newberry (March)

Fun features: Leprechaun scavenger hunt and a bar hop

St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade, Myrtle Beach (March)

Fun features: Leprechaun competition and shepherd’s pie eating contest


Italian Festivals

There’s nothing like the aroma of sausages on the grill to put you in the mood for a fair or festival. When you’re noshing at an Italian festival, however, it’s just the tip of the cannoli. Pasta, pizza, eggplant Parmesan, zeppoli, gelato and more make these celebrations of Italian culture “musts” on your festival to-do list.

Summerville Italian Feast, Summerville (September)

Fun features: Roll up your pants for the grape stomp and sample Italian wines

St. Phillip Neri Italian Festival, Fort Mill (May)

Fun features: Cannoli 5K run and Italian idol contest

Festa Italiana, Myrtle Beach (June)

Fun features: Pasta and pizza eating contests and an Italian-themed gift boutique

Hilton Head Italian Heritage Festival, Hilton Head Island (November)

Fun features: Bocce court and preparation of the “World’s Largest Meatball”


German Festivals

Bavarian white sausages, knackwurst, bratwurst, spaetzel and more – it’s just a sampling of some of the German goodies you’ll find at these lively Oktoberfests. Do a polka and roll out the beer barrel!

Greer Station Oktoberfest, Greer (October)

Fun features: Oompah bands and a chicken dance competition

SpartOberfest, Spartanburg (September)

Fun features: 10K Pretzel Run and a Christmas market

Walhalla Oktoberfest, Walhalla (October)

Fun features: Kiddie carnival and fireworks

Oktoberfest in Old Town, Rock Hill (September)

Fun features: Wiener dog race and strolling accordionists


Greek Festivals

Greek communities across South Carolina take a lot of pride in their culture, as evidenced by the many Greek festivals happening each year. Here are just a few where you can indulge in dolmades, spanakopita, moussaka, gyros, baklava and so much more:

Charleston Greek Festival, Charleston (May)

Fun features: Church tours and wine tastings

Greek Festival, Florence (May)

Fun features: Greek dancing and a drive-thru for carryout meals

Columbia Greek Festival, Columbia (September)

Fun features: Live Greek battle re-enactments and Greek grocery store

Greek Festival, Greenville (May)

Fun features: Greek marketplace and concert of traditional hymns


Melting Pot

Check out these festivals where the cuisine and heritage go hand-in-hand:

Lowcountry Nosh Jewish Food and Heritage Festival, Charleston (November)

Foods include corned beef, chopped liver, bagels, knishes, rolled cabbage and homemade sweets.

Fun features: Live music and tours of the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, the second oldest synagogue in the U.S.

Korean Festival, Columbia (November)

Foods include bul-go-gi, udon, kimchi, fish cakes, bibimbob, roasted rice and dumplings.

Fun features: Korean fan dances and martial arts demonstrations

Main Street Latin Festival, Columbia (August)

Foods include arepas, cuajito, pork and chicken pinchos and tostones.

Fun features: Salsa, merengue, reggaeton and grupero – be ready to dance, dance, dance!

Hilton Head Gullah Festival (Entire month of February)

Foods: At ticketed events, dine on West African-inspired Gullah dishes such as okra soup, conch stew, seasoned shrimp, stewed oysters, shrimp and gravy, fresh fried fish, grits and biscuits.

Fun features: Gullah gospel choirs and art exhibit and sale

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