7+ Family-Friendly Summer Festivals in Columbia, SC

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Now, the weather has warmed, school is almost over, and already it’s festival season! If you’re looking to get out in Columbia and build memories and experiences this summer, festivals can be a great way to dip your toes in something new. Columbia has festivals year-round, but here are some family-friendly festivals coming up to take in this famously hot season.

First off, get ready to kick things off with some Southern eats!

Summer festivals in Columbia SC

South Carolina Cornbread Festival

Sunday, April 30th, 2023

Right away, this one has everything you’d expect from a festival, from pageants and cooking contests, to eating contests, kids’ play area, vendors, bingo, cornhole, and more! Did you know cornbread is from South Carolina’s indigenous invention? It originated right here in the South and is one of America’s oldest foods.
NOMA Community Garden 2714 River Drive Columbia, SC 29201 (Intersection of North Main, Anthony Ave, Drayton Street, & Newman St.)

11 am – 6 pm
General Admission $10
*For info call 803.404.3602
Get tickets online South Carolina Cornbread Festival

Rosewood Crawfish Festival

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Of course, in typical Rosewood neighborhood fashion, this event promises to be full of live music and local artisans. First up, headliner Edwin McCain whose song “I’ll Be” you might recall belting in the 90s. Also, there will be The Vegabonds, Jupiter Coyote, Cravin’ Melon, and She Might Get Loud (a band from right here)!

Not to mention, it’s family-friendly, with things for kids including rides, face painting, and crawdad races but also because kids 12 and under get in free. This event also includes a 5k, but there are no details. This is the Rosewood Crawfish Festival website.

State Fair Grounds at 1200 Rosewood Drive Columbia, SC 29201.
11 am – 7 pm
Tickets are $10 and parking is $5.
*Wondering about getting a plate of crawfish? $20 gets you 2.5 lbs WITH a corn cob AND a potato.

Pickin’ and Piggin’ at the Park (SCBA)

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Or, if you’re feeling a little more down to earth, enjoy more than 20 BBQ cooks best at this cook-off in the park. Beer will also be available for purchase. The event is all-you-can-eat at Columbia’s most accessible park with music by Randy Lucas Trio. See the Pickin’ and Piggin’ website for more.

Saluda Shoal’s Park, 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212 United States
11 am – 1:30 pm
Adults (13+) $15
Children (12 and Under) $5

ThunderFest ’23

Saturday, May 6, 2023

On the other side of town, check out this local music festival at Midland’s Technical College’s Harbison Theater. There will be an eclectic blend, with Reggie Sullivan, a Lake Murray native Bassist, headlining. More information at the ThunderFest website.

Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College St, Irmo, SC
3 pm – 7 pm
$15 all-day pass

Main Street Caribbean Festival

June 10th, 2023

Next up, another family-friendly, cultural festival. What’s more, it’s free! So, trek right down to Main Street between Richmond and Laurel Streets to experience this big Caribbean Block Party. Find out more about the Main Street Caribbean Festival, part of South Carolina Carnival.

1800 Block Main Street Columbia, SC 29201
12 pm – 8 pm

Juneteenth Festival

June 24, 2023

Earliest, around lunch, it’s time to celebrate freedom, black heritage, and more at this family-friendly event. It offers many activities including food, games, cultural and educational displays, and contests, such as a baking competition and a Queen competition. For more, see the Juneteenth Festival website.

1063 Old Two Notch Rd 1063 Old Two Notch Elgins, SC 29045
1 pm – 4 pm

Columbia’s 8th Annual Shrimp and Grits Festival

June 24, 2023

According to the Shrimp and Grits Festival Facebook, “area restaurants will compete in Columbia’s 8th Shrimp & Grits Fest. One restaurant will be named “Columbia’s Best Shrimp & Grits” by a panel of judges.” Also, there will be a winner in the “People’s Choice” division, and “tickets include unlimited shrimp and grits samples from participating restaurants and live music.” Seawell’s Catering, a local business since 1946, sponsors this event.

Seawell’s Catering, 1125 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201
6 pm- 9 pm
Children $25
Adults (18+) $45

Looking for 4th of July Festivals and Events? We have a whole article about that!

Celebrate the 4th of July in Columbia, SC!

Southeast Crab Festival

July 8, 2023

Obviously, this festival will include crabs, but that’s not all. It actually has all-you-can-eat blue crabs! There will also be fish and chips as well as drinks for sale. You can bring in your own toppings, but please no coolers. This event boasts being both a long-standing state tradition of outdoor seafood cooking and a family-friendly event. Tickets will be limited to reduce crowds. Get tickets online at the Southeast Crab Feast website and collect them at Will Call with ID.

Saluda Shoals Park
5605 Bush River Rd, Columbia, SC
1 pm – 6:30 pm
Tickets $15

Still hungry for more?

Free fun for kids at the Sumter Iris Festival

Bonus: Sumter Iris Festival

May 25th through the 28th, 2023

Iris Festival in Sumter, SC at Swan Lake

Don’t forget the Sumter County Iris Festival is about an hour’s drive on Memorial Day Weekend. It offers lots of FREE fun for the family, so this is one you don’t want to miss!

And, Soda City Comic Con is in August.

There are also car shows, 5ks, and more in Columbia this summer. The Kidding Around Columbia Event Page is where you can find more events.

Let us know about your favorite festivals and summer activities below!

Paula Billinglsey
About the Author
Paula Birch Billingsley is a Columbia native who lived a lot of other places before coming back for grad school and is happy to raise her two kids in such a family friendly place. Paula loves reading, writing, coaching kids sports, and taking in too many rescue pets.

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