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031019 Dogwood Festival

An African drumming group was part of the entertainment at last year’s Dogwood Festival in Denmark. Entertainment, vendors, carnival rides, an art show, a pageant and more are planned for this year's festival.

DENMARK – Some welcomed changes and cherished traditions are on tap for the upcoming 38th annual Dogwood Festival in Denmark.

“The 38th annual Dogwood Festival is a time for food, folks and fun. It’s a time for all of us in the community to get together and enjoy the early spring weather,” said Reba Lofton, the festival’s chairwoman.

The event will be held Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6, with the pageant being held on the Saturday before the festival. Changes include some new prestige for the festival pageant and a greater emphasis on the arts.

“This year, the Dogwood Festival Pageant is a preliminary for the Miss S.C. Pageant,” Lofton said. “The Miss S.C. Pageant gives a $50,000 scholarship for young women. … I am just excited that we are able to use our pageant to help somebody get to that next level and perhaps win that scholarship.”

The winner of this year’s pageant will appear in the 2020 Miss South Carolina Pageant, she said.

“The theme of the festival, art show and poetry slam is ‘flight,’” said festival committee member Dr. Anna Martin, who is an art teacher at Denmark-Olar High School.

The theme stems from recent talk of creating a flight school at Denmark Technical College as well as the fact that North Air Field is a short drive away.

“However, the flight theme is also a metaphor for growth, change and nature, so it can have multiple meanings. I look forward to finding out how artists interpret the theme. I want to make an artwork myself, and I will know as it emerges from my hand,” Martin said.

Because of ongoing construction of the new city hall, the carnival rides will be located on a lot near the Brooker Center this year. The new location is about a block away from other activities.

Rides and concessions will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 5, and all day Saturday.

There will also be entertainment, a parade, a community prayer breakfast, vendors offering food and other items, and the traditional Painting of the Dogwoods on Carolina Highway. This year, the Palmetto Garden Club will contribute floral arrangements to the art show and the prayer breakfast.

Dogwood Festival Art Show participants can enter online from March 1-12 at http://jimharrison.com. From March 13-22, new entries and accepted work will be received at the Jim Harrison Gallery during normal business hours. There is an entry fee of $20 for up to three works. The art show closes April 27, and artists may pick up their work during normal business hours. The gallery is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact the gallery or signetstudio9@gmail.com for more information.

Dogwood Festival Pageant participants can submit their application and a $30 fee at Denmark City Hall. The deadline to enter the pageant is Monday, March 18. The pageant will be held 6 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at a location to be announced. The divisions are: Wee Miss Dogwood Festival, ages 5-8; Young Miss Dogwood Festival, ages 9-12; Junior Miss Dogwood Festival, ages 13-16; and Miss Dogwood Festival, ages 17-21. Contact City Hall at 803-793-3734 for more information.

Parade applications are due by March 29 at City Hall. The parade line-up is at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 6, across from Shuman-Owens Supply, 5688 Carolina Highway. The parade will start at 11 a.m. and proceed down Carolina Highway through downtown Denmark.

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Contact the writer: rbaxley37@gmail.com.

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