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Monday, September 12, 2011

S.C. Apple Festival has good year for attendance


Ray Chandler/Special to Independent Mail


Anderson Independent Mail September 10, 2011


WESTMINSTER,SC — It might have been a so-so year for apples in Oconee County, but the 50th anniversary South Carolina Apple Festival in Westminster turned in its best year in recent memory for attendance, maybe one of its best years ever, organizers said.
Organizers estimated that the crowd for the festival parade Friday included between 18,000 and 20,000 people. Turnout was likely no smaller for Saturday’s events, which included craft shows, carnival rides, a Dutch oven cooking competition and live music from two stages, officials said.
Sandra Powell, executive director of the Westminster Chamber of Commerce, attributed the success to an advertising campaign. The festival organizers had advertised in South Carolina Living, a statewide magazine published by the state’s electric cooperatives.
“I received 600 requests for information from that advertisement,” Powell said.
Powell said Ken Sloan, director of the Mountain Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau, told her that local motel and hotel space was full this weekend, though a fishing tournament on Hartwell Lake could play a part in that as well. Westminster’s Magnolia Manor bed and breakfast was full, Powell said, a first for a festival weekend.
License plates on the vehicles packed into every available parking space in Westminster told their part of the tale. Among the expected heavy load of South Carolina, Georgia and some North Carolina plates were others from Florida, Pennsylvania and Utah.
More than 130 vendors lined Main Street in Westminster, including an Oconee County beekeeper who was recently profiled in South Carolina Living, Jack Collins of the Cleveland community.
The former state beekeeper of the year offered visitors tastes of various types of honey, and many visitors went away with jars.

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