Watch It, Explore It, Do It


Photos courtesy of Western S.C. BlueWay Festival and Nathan Elliott

Get your outdoor fix at the Western S.C. BlueWay Festival.
If you’re going to have a final summer fling, then do it with gusto. That seems to be the M.O. of the organizers of the Western South Carolina BlueWay Festival, scheduled for Saturday, August 28 at Baker Creek State Park in McCormick. They have planned a full slate of events for the third annual festival, which wasn’t held last year because of covid, that’s overflowing with activities on water and on land.

After all, even when summer days are counting down, the weather is still just right for outdoor fun in this area.

“I think we’re going to have a great event. People are ready to do things,” says Karen Greene, the BlueWay exhibitor/vendor coordinator. “We structured the festival so that there are three ways to enjoy it – Watch It, Explore It and Do It.”

Show Time
The festival includes a full day of entertainment by professional groups including Freestyle Connection BMX Bike Show, which features an acrobatic stunt team.

“This year they’re bringing an airbag ramp so they can go higher,” Greene says. “We expect some really high-flying tricks.”

Another performer, Canine Stars of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” fame, is a stunt dog team made up of professional trainers and their adopted rescue dogs.

JARRRWake School is expected to put on a wakeboard show, Savannah River Kayak Rentals will provide kayak demonstrations and Brittney Conklin will exhibit paddleboard yoga.

Interactive Fun
Exhibitors and vendors will set up booths to demonstrate the use of their wares, but they’ll take it a step further to reel in the festival-goers.

“Vendors will have interactive outdoor recreation,” says Greene. “It’s a better way to engage potential customers. If they have something fun to do, it’s a better experience for everybody. They’ll also have goofy prizes to give away.”

Activities include fishing demonstrations, casting contests, axe-throwing, archery, kayaking, a disc golf putting clinic and a tall water slide into Clarks Hill Lake.

“All of our attendees get a chance to try out bikes, disc golf, SUPs and kayaks,” Greene says. “We have things that people really want to do. We love the area, and we want everybody to see what a great destination this is for outdoor, healthy living.”

Competitive types also can take part in kayak paddling races, paddleboard relays and a geocaching contest.

“It’s all about outdoor, healthy living,” Greene says. “I think covid has brought it to our attention how important a healthy lifestyle is.”

Festival-goers also can learn about local hiking and biking trails as well as other opportunities for outdoor adventures in their own backyard.

Menus & Music
A festival isn’t a festival without good food and good music, and the BlueWay Festival has those necessities covered, too.

A variety of vendors will serve foods such as barbecue, burgers, funnel cakes, Mexican cuisine and, of course, good old-fashioned fried festival foods.

Back Paddle Brewing in Lincolnton and Good Times Brewery in Greenwood, South Carolina will be on hand, and the two breweries are collaborating to brew a special craft beer for the BlueWay Festival.

Musical entertainment includes Surrender Cobra, a Greenwood, South Carolina band made up of three brothers and their dad, and She N She of Augusta, a duo that started performing together after they met at an open mic in 2010.

Most of the festival activities will conclude at 5 p.m. when attention will turn to the final musical performer of the day, Crawford, Colt, & Waite featuring Brandi Colt. This Greenwood singer and songwriter combines traditional country with Appalachian Carolina clay roots and the Texas red dirt country sound.

The festival has grown each year, attracting about 1,200 people to the inaugural event in 2018 and about 3,000 people in 2019. Organizers hope to have an even bigger crowd this year.

“We want everyone to have a good time, get fresh air and enjoy the outdoors. We’ll have the festival rain or shine. Honestly, we’re wet anyway,” Greene says. “It’s really a good family fun day.”

If You Go:
What: Western S.C. BlueWay Festival
When: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, August 28
Where: Baker Creek State Park, 386 Baker Creek Road, McCormick, South Carolina
How Much: Free admission
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