Have you attended the Sumter Iris Festival? Celebrating the gorgeous Iris flower and the onset of summer, the Sumter Iris Festival brings many opportunities for totally FREE family fun. That’s one reason among many that the Sumter Iris Festival is on our summer bucket list. Is it on yours? It should be! Way more than a flower show, here’s what we love about the Sumter Iris Festival and its home, Swan Lake in Sumter, South Carolina.
Only about an hour from Columbia, the Sumter Iris Festival is one of my favorite South Carolina festivals. I remember going as a kid and the irises becoming my favorite flower. The park includes peaceful dirt walkways around the lake, shaded by massive trees and Spanish Moss. You’ll find, nature, swans, boat rides, irises, bathrooms, and plenty to do during the Sumter Iris Festival.
About the Sumter Iris Festival
The Sumter Iris Festival is several days long at the end of May, and it’s a great event for kids since admission and most of the kid stuff is FREE.
When is the Sumter Iris Festival?
This year, it kicks off Memorial Day weekend, on Thursday night May 25th, 2023 with the opening ceremony. The Taste event begins, with music, food vendors, boat rides, and more. Friday though, is when the family time really gears up. In fact, all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday things are happening.
You’ll find a full schedule of events on the Sumter Iris Festival Website.
Lots of FREE Things to Do at the Sumter Iris Festival
Not only does the park feature beautiful nature, gorgeous blooms in the Swan Lake Iris Gardens, vendors and performances, and an excellent playground, but it also offers kids’ rides, library story time/theater performances of The Phantom Tollbooth, free goodies, antique and classic car show, and a petting zoo.
Even better, the rides, little petting zoo, admission, and more are completely free. Kids might spot performing dance teams and theater troops, classic cars, Cocky and other mascots, and more.
Here were some of our favorite parts of last year’s Sumter Iris Festival:
- Free kids rides
- Free crafts/story time/goodie bags
- Petting zoo
- The playground with the firetruck
- banana split
While all admission to the festival and most kids’ activities are free, you’ll want to bring cash/cards for parking, food, and drinks. Likewise, face painting was offered among a lot of free crafts and activities for kids but was actually very pricey, so keep an eye out for that.
Expect it to be hot as it’s the end of May (25th-28th, 2023), and expect crowds as this festival is increasingly popular as it’s been featured in Southern Living and others.
Also, expect fun!
Discover more family-friendly summer festivals near Columbia, SC.