August means heading back to school and the winding down of summer, but there are plenty of reasons to get outside in South Carolina. From rodeos to fairs, boiled peanuts to tomatoes - summer fun isn't over yet.
Here's a sampling:
Here's a perfect solution to cooling off on a famously hot Columbia night. Brew at the Zoo offers the chance to wander through Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, sample a wide variety of cold beer and listen to live music. You must be 21 to enter, and tickets should be purchased in advance.
Calf roping, steer wrestling and bull riding are all part of the show at the annual Ed Brown's Championship Rodeo. Gates open at 5 p.m. each day, with the rodeo starting at 8 p.m. Along with the serious competition, there is plenty of fun with rodeo clowns, live bands and trick riders. There's even a calf scramble for the kids. Get your tickets in advance or at the gate.
This is a day for celebrating one of the South's greatest treasures, the Heirloom Tomato. The Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival honors those in the Midlands who grow the tomatoes, those who sell them and obviously - those who enjoy eating them! Come experience inevitable tomato goodness at an event that is, according to Southern Living, one of the "Best in the South!"
One of the country's oldest public parks - Mineral Spring Park in Williamston - is the home of the annual Spring Water Festival. The mineral spring was discovered on the property in 1842, and the land was later turned over to the small Anderson County town for a park. The spring still bubbles on the site, and the annual festival celebrates the town and the park with live music, food, games and a car show.
The final Saturday in August brings a chance to celebrate the season in style at Summerfest. The festival in historic York includes a craft fair, food court, classic car show, three stages of musical entertainment and a host of children's activities. There's even a 4-H petting zoo and a giant scale model airplane fly-in. The Friday night kick-off event features live music, food trucks and a beer garden.
The Upper South Carolina State Fair opens Aug. 30 and runs through Sept. 9 at the Greenville Pickens Speedway in Easley. The midway offers all the fair food you could want, along with rides, shows and carnival games. Don't miss the pig racing and the demolition derby. It's a good warm-up for the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia Oct. 10-21.