September is the month we bid farewell to summer and offer a warm hello to fall. The month kicks off with Labor Day festivals, parades and barbecues, and finishes up with a taste of fall and its harvest.
Here's a sampling:
Sept. 3-5: Chapin
The town of Chapin near the shores of Lake Murray takes three days to say goodbye to summer at its annual Labor Day Festival and Parade. It kicks off Saturday with a run through Crooked Creek Park, while Sunday brings a concert and street party - the finale of the town's summer concert series. On Monday, the parade rolls at 9:30 a.m., followed by a full day of festival fun, featuring a children's carnival, live music, vendors and a cupcake eating contest.
Sept. 3: Clover
So here are two things to love about South Carolina-barbecue and bluegrass. Tasty barbecue and foot-stompin' music come together in the Clover Community Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 3, at the Butts and Bluegrass Festival. And what's better than barbecue? All-you-can-eat barbecue by some of the region's top cooks, for just $10. There will be official judging by the SC Barbecue Association, but you can vote for your favorite, too.
Sept. 6-10: Westminster
Roadside apple stands in Upstate South Carolina are a sure sign fall is on the way. The start of the harvest is celebrated in Oconee County-from the day after Labor Day through the following weekend at the South Carolina Apple Festival. There's whitewater rafting, arts and crafts, music, a parade and children's rides. And don't go home without trying a fried apple pie and picking up a bag of homegrown apples.
Sept. 9-10: Aiken
If arts and crafts are your passion, put Sept. 9-10 on your calendar for the 40th annual Aiken's Makin craft festival. Spend a beautiful day outdoors and get a start on your holiday shopping as you browse among the glassworks, wood, ceramics and other crafts in historic, downtown Aiken. Shopping make you hungry? You'll find vendors offering everything from gyros to kettle corn to funnel cakes.
It's a bargain hunter's dream - a yard sale that goes on for 85 miles. The Big Grab, with locations through Blythewood, Ridgeway, Winnsboro and other small towns, lets you shop and negotiate from sunup to sundown. Some spots feature multiple vendors, while others offer individual sellers spread along the route.
Sept. 17: Charleston
Tartans and kilts, highland dancing and pipe and drum competitions will take over Charleston at the Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. Don't miss the "heavy athletic competitions" including the sheaf toss, the stone of strength and the caber toss, performed by professional and amateur athletes from around the Southeast. The main day of festivities is Saturday, but you can get an early start at the Scotch whiskey tasting Thursday night. (Sept. 15)
Sept. 19-26: Branchville
The Orangeburg County town of Branchville is proud of its history as the home to the world's oldest railroad junction. Each September, it celebrates that history at the Raylrode Daze Festivul. The festival brings together old days and new, with carnival rides and can-can girls, pageants and hay bale stacking. Don't miss the chance to visit the Branchville Railroad Shrine Museum and Depot, a restored historic depot filled with antiques and memorabilia.
Sept. 22-25: Greenville
One of the most anticipated events of the year in Greenville is the four-day Euphoria food and wine festival. Featuring food tastings and music shows, food truck rodeos and wine seminars, the event brings together top chefs, great food and renowned singer/songwriters.
Sept. 30-Oct. 1: Beaufort
The bounty of the Lowcountry waters fills downtown's waterfront park at the Beaufort Shrimp Festival. Up to 15 local restaurants will sell samples of their best shrimp dishes as they compete for the Silver Cup award. You can vote for your favorite dish and compete for yourself in the shrimp-heading competition (or shrimp peeling for the kids).