Tasty annual festival struts back to town after year’s absence

IRMO, SC (WOLO) — The Irmo Okra Strut began back in the early 70s.

“The Women’s Club wanted to fund a new Irmo library so they put together a little festival to raise money for it. That morphed from a bunch of ladies getting together to the big production we see today,” explains Mayor Barry Walker.

The festival now includes amusement rides, food, live music and even a Saturday morning parade.

“After the parade, we come back to the community park. We’re going to have 100 vendors set up throughout the park from different businesses in the town of Irmo,” Mayor Walker said.

The festival is a great way to meet your neighbor or experience the town of around 13,000.

All the festivities require a lot of cooperation from community partners and a lot of preparation.

“It’s kind of a year round thing. Getting all the carnival rides set up, sanitation, security, you name it, we got to do it,” said Whitt Cline, Irmo director of public services.

After not being able to hold Okra Strut last year, there’s even more excitement for the 47th edition. There will be activities for all ages.

“You miss getting everyone together and seeing old friends,” Cline said. “It’s nice to get everyone back together again.”

“COVID knocked us for a loop. This is like a combination of what we could have done last year and this year,” the mayor adds. “We got double the amount of money. We got double the amount of enthusiasm. People are tired of being locked down.”

However, he does remind visitors and residents that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

“Wear your mask. Get vaccinated,” Walker said. “We have hand sanitizing stations throughout the park. Use them often. Make sure you take precautions to protect yourself.”

He says the weekend is not complete without trying some fried okra.

The Irmo Okra Strut Festival begins Friday evening at 6 in the community park.

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