When to Go

Central South Carolina comes alive in spring, beginning in early March, when the azaleas, dogwoods, wisteria, and jasmine turn normal landscapes into fairylands of pink, white, and purple shaded by a canopy of pines. The heat of late May through September can be oppressive, particularly in the Midlands. Festivals celebrating everything from peaches to okra are held in summer. Fall brings the state fair in Columbia, SEC and ACC football to the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, rich yellows and reds of the changing trees in the mountains, and a number of art and music festivals.

Festivals

Summer kicks off the festival season in the Midlands, and there's plenty to celebrate. Check out www.scbarbeque.com for information on South Carolina barbecue festivals.

euphoria Greenville. Each September, downtown Greenville comes alive with this four-day event showcasing the Upstate's best farms and chefs, featuring ticketed dinners and live music. Greenville, South Carolina. www.euphoriagreenville.com.

Irmo Okra Strut. September's Okra Strut in Irmo is slimy fun and includes live music and carnival rides. Irmo, South Carolina, 29063. 803/781–7050; okrastrut.com. Free.

Lexington County Peach Festival. Every Fourth of July, indulge in fresh peach ice cream and take in live country music, or just bite into a sun-warmed peach while enjoying the peach parade and the evening fireworks. Gilbert, South Carolina. www.lexingtoncountypeachfestival.com. Free.

South Carolina Peanut Party. The peanut is king at this annual fest held in Pelion each August, featuring rides, a parade, and a pageant. 951 Pine St., Pelion, South Carolina. discoversouthcarolina.com/products/2116. Free.

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