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One of the highlights of the Saturday, July 28, County Music Festival will be a game of Tug-of-War between the city and county. The Williamsburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Williamsburg County Parks and Recreation Complex formed a partnership to bring the festival to fruition.                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Michaele Duke

What may be one of the biggest one-day events in Williamsburg County is about to happen. Williamsburg County Parks and Recreation Complex Director Andre Dorsey and Williamsburg County Sheriff Stephen Gardner have teamed up to host the County Music Festival, Saturday, July 28. The festival will be held at the Williamsburg County Recreation Complex at 2084 Thurgood Marshall Highway, Kingstree and promises to be a fun-filled day.

Dorsey said the idea started with a conversation. “Turquoise Rouse (Parks and Recreation Program Director) and I have always talked about doing something and the sheriff’s department wanted to partner with us to do something for the kids,” said Dorsey. “As we started to brainstorm we developed more and more ideas.”

Gardner and his staff have been very active in the community, hosting children’s movie night, active shooter presentations and other events so it seemed like a perfect partnership. “With our young people nowadays, we can’t reach them using the typical methods that have always been utilized,” said Gardner. “You’ve got to have high energy yet positive energy. That’s something that Andre has and a good way for us to get out and reach our community.”

The festival kicks off with a 5K Run/1.5 mile Awareness Walk, but this one comes with a twist. Participants are encouraged to wear a shirt with the color of a ribbon that represents a disease that may have affected them or someone they know. “What we want folks to do is whatever illness has plagued their family, a friend or them to wear that color. You could see a bunch of red, a bunch of blues, etc.,” said Dorsey. “Our main focus is bringing the community together in unity. You’d be surprised at who has suffered from some type of illness and when folks see other folks who have been through a situation, they’re interconnecting, and that’s what we want it to be about, connections.” Registration for the walk/run is 7 a.m. with participants meeting in the Williamsburg Technical College parking lot. From there, you will be bussed to Short Street to start the event and bussed back afterward. There is no charge to participate but a donation is encouraged. Space is limited so register early.

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Williamsburg County Recreation Director Andre Dorsey and Program Coordinator Turquoise Rouse hold a handful of flyers announcing the rec’s first music festival. The festival will take place July 28, with activities beginning at 7 a.m.                Photo by Michaele Duke

City verses county softball/baseball games begin at 3:30 p.m. and strength and agility will take center stage with a Tug of War competition (pulling a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or Humvee) beginning at 4:30 p.m. Williamsburg County’s very own writer and actor, Sulondia “Sue-Ham” Hammond will host the day’s events. “She has been a big influence in the community as well as just being involved,” said Dorsey.

Vendors and a business expo will be offering everything from food to jewelry to health screenings. Williamsburg County Clerk of Court Sharon Staggers and her staff will be set-up inside the gymnasium for a Back-to-School Bash. Staggers’ event will run from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. “The idea is to come out for the bash and once they get their supplies stick around for the music and fellowship,” said Dorsey.  

The music kicks off at 6 p.m. with DJ Tron, followed by a showcase of local artists performing music and live band, Level 10.  “We have contemporary Christian, jazz, R&B and Neo Soul as well as a DJ and a live band,” said Dorsey. Dorsey said they are working on a fireworks show and a dunking booth as well.

Dorsey’s wish is for everyone to have a good time. “The sheriff’s department and everyone at the recreation department are behind this 100 percent,” said Dorsey. “We just want to make it happen for the community and for folks to just enjoy and come out and have a good time.”

Gardner has confidence that the first County Music Festival will be a success because of the commitment by Dorsey and everyone involved. “When you try to see about being successful with events like such, you look for people with high energy because it takes high energy to accomplish what you’re trying to give,” said Gardner. “It’s not like you’re looking for a pat on the back or a reward for what I did. I’m just looking for success in people and that’s what I see in him.”

There is no charge to enter. Attendants can purchase food, beverages and other items from vendors. Vendors can sign up. For more information contact the Williamsburg County Recreation Department at (843) 355-5004 or Lt. Daryel Moyd at (843) 355-6381 Ext. 4607.