Sumter's Iris Festival is South Carolina's oldest continuous festival and is consistently ranked among the top festivals in the Southeast.
2023 Festival Dates: May 25-28
The 3-day festival includes concerts, arts & crafts, plants & flowers, antique & classic car shows, a number of contests and lots of children's activities. The fun begins the evening before the festival, with the annual "Crowning of The King & Queen" followed by the "Taste at the Gardens", featuring great music and great food from some of the area's leading restaurants, chefs and caterers.
Iris Festival (held annually on Memorial Day Weekend) Hours:
- Thursday 6 - 9pm (Opening Ceremony & Taste at the Gardens only, entertainment and food vendors only at the Garden Street Gate only)
- Friday 10am - 6pm (all gates open)
- Saturday 10am - 6pm (all gates open) DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER THE FESTIVAL WILL BE CLOSED MAY 27, 2003. GATES WILL REOPEN AT 10 AM ON SUNDAY.
- Sunday 10am - 5pm (all gates open) - IRIS FESTIVAL 2023 UPDATE: Sunday, May 28 the festival will open up regular hours with vendors and food starting at 10am with varying activities throughout the day depending upon forecast. RtA will run from 10am - 6pm on Sunday.
As the festival has gained popularity, it has become a favorite stopping place for bus tours from all over the U.S. and Canada. The annual event receives prominent news and coverage, from such publications as "Southern Living" and "Southern Travel and Lifestyle" magazines and many other major newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations as well as social media and travel web sites.
The host location, the world-famous "Swan Lake Iris Gardens" in Sumter, South Carolina was recently recognized as a Top Performing Attraction and received a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site. The Iris Festival has been named numerous times as a Top 20 Event from the Southeastern Tourism Society and was awarded a Top 100 Event in the United States by the American Bus Association.