Festivals & Events

We love seeing Sumter families come together and have the pleasure of supporting some of the state's favorite and unique events.

Sumter has more than 100 festivals and events throughout the year! Here are a few highlights, but for a full list of events and to confirm dates, visit our online calendar.

  • Festival on the Avenue (typically 2nd Weekend in April) - a West African Bimbé festival of harvest, held every spring in the spirit of sharing, includes traditional soul food, music, art, dance, parades, and living history that showcases the creativity and vitality of South Sumter Community.
  • Bethune Legacy Festival (3rd Weekend in May) - a festival to celebrate an American History Icon, Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune. Mrs. Bethune was an advisor to four U.S. Presidents, a national champion of human rights, as well as the founder of Bethune-Cookman College and was born and raised in Sumter, SC.
  • Iris Festival (Memorial Day Weekend) - This three-day festival is one of the old continuous running festivals in the state of South Carolina. It includes concerts, arts & crafts, pageants, plants & flowers, antique & classic car shows, a number of contests, concerts, and lots of children's activities. Continuously named one of the top 20 events in the Southeast.
  • Black Cowboy Festival - I Was born in El Paso, Wichita Falls, and Cheyenne. Helped build the west, though you don't know it, was a slave was a free man, don't look for me in your textbooks. Am I a Man or a Myth? Come and see the Black Cowboy Festival.
  • Oktoberfest on Main - downtown Sumter transforms into little Germany for a grand evening full of German food, music, and heritage.
  • Porches of Sumter (1st Thursday in October) - ever wonder what sipping tea on the veranda was like? This is the event for you. Stroll the historic streets of the Hampton Park area and visit as homeowners open their homes and share their stories with visitors.
  • Fantasy of Lights (December 1-31) - For the entire month of December, the Swan Lake Iris Gardens come alive with a display of twinkling holiday imagery created by more than one million lights.
  • During the summer months, head to downtown Sumter for Fourth Fridays and enjoy an evening with friends, food, and FREE live music!

  • and many more.


Check out our online Community Calendar for all listings. 


To have your event listing considered for our community calendar, please contact the Swan Lake Visitors Center at 803-436-2640 or send your event flyer to [email protected]

Check out our Insider's Guide to the Sumter Shaw Community...


Check out our online map for more arts, including outdoor public art installations!

Discover Sumter Map

Plan Your Event:

Thank you for your interest in hosting an event. Both the City and the County require all persons or organizations who want to host an event on their property (parks, streets, sidewalks and more) to apply in advance. It's best rule of thumb to get your request in six (6) weeks in advance to make sure both organizations can adequately plan.

Hosting your event in City limits or on City Property?

All events on city property, parks, rights-of-way, streets, sidewalks, etc. must be preapproved a minimum of six weeks in advance of your event. Sometimes more time is needed, depending upon the complexity of the event, so please submit as soon as possible for consideration. Once you have submitted the following form, we will review your application and contact you as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.


Looking to rent a facility owned by the city?

If you are interested in a building/facility for use, please visit our Facility Rentals page. If you want to use both the facility, plus any property outside of the facility, please complete the Event Application above.


Hosting your event on Sumter County property?

If you are requesting to host an event in a County Park (Patriot Park, Dillon Park, Mill Creek Park, Live Oak Park), or on other property owned by Sumter County you must get approval from the Sumter County Recreation & Parks Department. Call 803-436-2248 or visit their offices at 155 Haynsworth St.