Iris Festival FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:
  1. What are the dates for the Iris Festival?
    The Iris Festival is held annually over Memorial Day Weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
    • The opening ceremony will take place at 6 PM on Thursday evening, followed immediately by our annual kickoff celebration called The Taste of the Gardens, which has free admission with themed entertainment until 9 PM. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, but no coolers are allowed. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
    • All other vendors and activities are open Friday and Saturday from 10 AM - 6 PM and Sunday from 10 AM - 5 PM and parking and admission is free.

  2. Is there a charge for admission or parking?
    There is no charge for general admission and parking is free on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. However, vendors are required to have pre-approval to sell anything and they do charge for thier products.

  3. Where are parking areas located?
    The main parking area is located across from the Heath Pavilion on Garden Street (off West Liberty Street). Overflow parking is available at the Sumter County Civic Center at 700 West Liberty Street - shuttle buses will run all day Saturday and Sunday from the Civic Center to Swan Lake.

  4. Is there space for RVs?
    We are sorry, but RVs cannot be brought into the garden parking areas. They may be parked at the Sumter County Civic Center. Limited hookups are available but they must be pre-planned and scheduled through the American Legion Post 15 (call 803-236-0569).

  5. May I bring my pet with me to the Festival?
    Swan Lake Iris Gardens is a bird sanctuary; therefore, pets are strictly prohibited. Please note that this does not apply to service animals.

  6. Where are the iris beds located?
    The Japanese Iris beds are located at the water’s edge on both the north and south sides of the gardens.

  7. Will there be irises for sale?
    Yes! The Sumter Master Gardeners will host their annual iris sale during the festival. This is the only time of year that they are for sale at the gardens. Supplies are limited, so come early for the best selection.

  8. What types of vendors are at the festival?
    The vendors range from artists, crafters, gardeners, clothing, candles, toys and more, including a variety of food and beverage options. There are over 200 vendors every year.

  9. Can I sell my products and/or services or pass out general info at the festival without a vendor booth?
    No. The entire Swan Lake Iris Garden grounds is reserved for Iris Festival-approved vendors only. Open solicitation is not allowed at any time during the festival.

  10. Remember that the list of rules and FAQs specific to Swan Lake Iris Gardens apply to the festival as well. Please review before your visit. Thank you.