FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The 12th annual South Carolina Pecan Festival was in full swing Saturday.
The event celebrates not only the local nut industry, but the birth of Downtown Florence.
Each year, the event grows, and this year is no different. The theme for the festival this year is “Lets Go Nuts”.
Chairman of the pecan festival George Jebaily says this year there were more activities and entertainment for attendees.
“We have the scavenger hunt, it’s called hunt like a nut, the bike like a nut and the run like a nut,” Jebaily said.
Tens of thousands of people attended and they were literally going nuts for pecans.
Conway residents Fleetwood Ham and Linda Ham came to the festival for the first time and the item at the top of their list were pecans.
“We see a whole lot of food. Everybody I see I ask where the pecans at,” said Fleetwood Ham.
Residents from Myrtle Beach Karen Benoit and Frank Benoit were also on the search for pecans Saturday afternoon.
“Somebody explained where they were and we were standing right in front of the place that has the pie that I’m looking for, so that’s great,” Karen Benoit said.
The pecan festival started 12 years ago, and since then it has given the downtown area visibility and exploded in popularity.
In fact, so popular the Benoit family decided to come to the pecan festival and Downtown Florence for their first time.
“We’ve been pumping water for three weeks so we got a break to come out here, walk around and get a little fresh air, see all of the wonderful food down here, it’s great,” said Frank Benoit.
It was also the first time for the Ham’s family who say they will be better prepared for their next visit.
“Oh yes! I’ll come back. Next time a little earlier though, because it got crowded pretty quick,” explained Fleetwood Ham.
And bigger crowds are what city leaders expect for the future as downtown continues to flourish.
“There’s a five story parking deck that’s going to be surrounded by 85 apartments that’s coming out of the ground right next to the museum. It’s kind of neat to see how people can come back and they say oh it’s changed so much in the last year,” Jebaily said.
The South Carolina Pecan Festival also featured pecan-inspired cooking demonstrations from local restaurants along with live music and entertainment.