031519 grits festival

The star of the show is grits at the World Grits Festival, to be held April 12-14 in St. George.

The fun, food and festivities of the World Grits Festival return to St. George on April 12-14.

Now in its 34th year, the free festival is held each year on South Parler Avenue near the center of downtown St. George.

Last spring’s festivities filled the street both day and night with a diverse audience drawn from across the Lowcountry, including Harleyville and Holly Hill, and as far away as Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Spartanburg and Irmo. Crowds were estimated at 45,000 over the weekend.

The annual celebration of the Southern breakfast staple has been an April mainstay in the Lowcountry since 1986. The event features arts and crafts, basketball toss, corn shelling contest, corn toss contest, kids fun run, rolling-in-the-grits contest, grits eating contest, 5K run, food vendors, pageant, parade, wheelbarrow race, dunking booth, hula hoop contest, corn hole toss, grits recipe judging and tasting, and more. Amusement rides, entertainment and street dancing are also featured.

How did it come to be that a small town in Dorchester County hosts the World Grits Festival? It comes down to consumption. According to legend, in 1986 the people living in and around St. George ate more grits per capita than any other place in the world. So St. George was crowned the World Grits Eating Champion and the World Grits Festival was born.

“People in this town eat a lot of grits,” said Faye Utsey, a festival volunteer. “There are some towns in Georgia that claim they eat more grits, but I don’t know if anybody’s done any research on that.”

After 34 years, the popular World Grits Festival continues to draw huge crowds and St. George continues to hold its title of “Grits Capital of the World.”

The festival’s objective is to stimulate pride in the town of St. George and surrounding communities and to provide wholesome recreation and entertainment for the entire family. Proceeds from the event are used to expand cultural and recreational facilities for all and to provide scholarship donations to deserving young people to further their education.

For more information, call 843-563-7943 or visit www.worldgritsfestival.com.

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