About UsHistory of the Irmo Okra Strut Festival
The Irmo Okra Strut Festival is a free festival thanks to our sponsors! Individual fees apply for rides, amusements and food/drink. Family fun, live music, and all the goodness that is Okra begins: Friday September 29th 2023, 6:00pm – 11:00pm and runs all day Saturday September 30th 2023, 9:00am – 10:00pm. Check out our full story below.
Lake Murray- Irmo Woman’s Club
Back in the early 1970’s, the Lake Murray-Irmo Woman’s Club decided to raise funds to build a library for the town of Irmo. Their long history of charitable contributions to the community was well known, but the large amount of funds required for a new library made it a daunting task. One day, some of the Woman’s Club members heard a broadcast from local commentator & WIS radio personality Gene McKay, who mentioned that he had seen a downtown Irmo hardware & general store business named the ‘Ancient Irmese General Store’, on the corner of Fork Avenue & Woodrow Street, where Little Caesars Pizza is today on St. Andrews Road. ”What were these Ancient Irmese like?”, McKay wondered. “Probably short people — a farming tribe who lived off okra!”
The Okra Strut
McKay’s on-air musings gave the Woman’s Club the solution they needed for their fundraising program. Later that same year in October, the Woman’s Club held a small arts and crafts fair at Seven Oaks Park that they dubbed, “The Okra Strut”. The Club began the long-standing tradition of frying up okra for the fundraiser to benefit the library fund. Seven years and thousands of servings of fried okra later, the Woman’s Club had finally raised enough money to fund Irmo’s first library, located on St. Andrews Road.
49 Years of Family Fun
More recently, the Okra Strut Festival is hosted by the Town of Irmo, SC, and is managed by the Town Council and the Okra Strut Commission. The festival is a two day event featuring live bands on both Friday and Saturday evenings, a Saturday morning parade (the largest in the entire state of South Carolina!), plus arts and crafts, rides and amusements, as well as lots of festival food. Attendance for the celebration averages around 25,000 attendees annually but has seen as many as 60,000 visitors to the previous festivals. Money raised by the festival is put back into the community through charitable contributions to local civic and school organizations, for scholarships and improvements of public areas. 2023 is the Okra Strut Festival’s 49th year. That is almost half a century providing families from all over the United States with the perfect end of Summer Celebration. With Lake Murray near by, Irmo has some of the most beautiful campgrounds, so spend the week, enjoy your stay and end your Summer the right way!
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With so much packed into two days, you may want to follow us on Facebook so you can see all the great things we have for you to experience!
Get in Touch
The Irmo Okra Strut is put on by volunteers that meet monthly at the Irmo Town Hall. We welcome you to join us at one of our monthly meetings. Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send all mail to: P.O. Box 406 Irmo, SC 29063