Thousands of Midlands residents travel to Irmo for 45th annual Okra Strut
When Irmo hosted its first Okra Strut, you could buy a gallon of gas for 29 cents to put in your new car, purchased for around $3,200. In 2018 at the 45th annual festival, getting there might be a little more expensive, but admission is still free and the fun is very much the same.
Sporadic rain dampened the ground but not the excitement Saturday as thousands enjoyed live music, festival food, arts and crafts, dozens of local businesses showing their wares, and a chance to see new friends and old.
“I think everyone in Irmo is here, plus a lot more,” said Jennifer Wallace with a laugh as she looked around at the crowd from near the top of the amphitheater at Irmo Community Park. “I’ve been coming since I was a little girl and it’s just one of the best days of the year.”
The festival was born as a fundraiser for Irmo’s first library, and proceeds continue to go to community improvements of various kinds. The event has become a two-day attraction, and started on Friday this year with a concert from the Root Doctors.
Saturday began with the annual Okra Strut parade, featuring Grand Marshal Bill Rigsby, an Irmo resident who is the oldest surviving guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The fun and music continued into the night Saturday with another concert, this one by The Weight Band, featuring members of legendary rock group The Band and the Levon Helm Band.
The Okra Strut is and always has been organized and made possible by community volunteers, who are already looking ahead to year 46. To give them your thoughts and suggestions and learn more about the festival’s past, present and future, visit okrastrut.com.