Sumter Iris Festival: FREE Family Fun in Sumter, SC

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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.

Iris Festival in Sumter, SC at Swan Lake

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.

Kids enjoy Sumter Iris Festival at Swan Lake

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 23rd, 2024 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.

Free fun for kids at the Sumter Iris Festival

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, a parade, special performance by Charleston Polynesian Dancers, 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
  • Nature
  • 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.

Iris Flowers at Sumter, SC

Expect it to be hot as it’s the end of May (23rd-26th, 2024), and expect crowds as this festival is increasingly popular as it’s been featured in Southern Living and others.

Also, expect fun!

About the Author
How does Kidding Around® bring readers high-quality and up-to-date content month after month and season after season? We have a dedicated team of writers and editors who regularly update our fabulous content to keep it current and relevant for our readers. This team combs lists of events, heads out into the community to experience new Upstate offerings, and communicates with local businesses. Many of our updated articles and event lists, like this one, reflect the contributions and hard work of multiple Kidding Around® team members.

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