Like crisp fall weather, Branchville’s Raylrode Daze Festivul returns in September, beginning Sunday and running through next weekend.
“We are ready to roll,” said festival president Tom Jennings.
“This is our 51st festival. We are a long-running festival,” he said. “We’ve changed a few things up this year. We’re going to have the same events, just maybe have them on a different day.”
Sunday, Sept. 22, is the kickoff for the festival. The welcome center opens at 1 p.m. and rides on the Cal Smoak Special begin as does registration for the car show.
The Branchville High School marching band will perform from 1: 30 to 2:30 p.m. and the car show runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Upstart Life Ministries will perform from 3 to 4 p.m. with bingo from 4 to 6 p.m. with proceeds benefiting the Branchville High Senior Beta Club.
At 4 p.m., the Can-Can Girls perform, followed by a mock gunfight by the Branch Junction Gunfighters.
On Wednesday. Sept. 25, CHIPS Balloons and Magic will entertain from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Sept. 26, “One Man Band” Don Colton will perform from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 27, will see the opening ceremonies for the festival, beginning at noon in front of the Branchville Depot. Jennings and Branchville mayor H. Franklin Dickson will offer their welcomes.
In attendance will be all the festival queens: Little Miss Raylrode Junction Kenley Gainey, Young Miss Raylrode Junction Chloe Varner, Junior Miss Rayrode Junction Virginia Belle Ott, Teen Miss Raylrode Junction Carley Kinard and Miss Raylrode Junction Desereah Rutland.
Parade grand marshal Susan Ott Stockton, a former Can-Can Girl, will address the crowd, as will honorary conductor Lamar Metts.
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“Lamar was very instrumental in working on the Cal Smoak Special in the earlier days of our festival,” Jennings said.
Arts, crafts and concessions vendors will offer their wares from 2 p.m. to midnight, and rides on the Cal Smoak Special will continue through the day.
Double B Entertainment will be spinning tunes from 1 to 5 p.m. At 5:30 and 7 p.m., the Can-Can Girls will put on two performances. Kangaroo Court will be held at 7:15 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. sees the return of the Branch Junction Gunfighters. And from 8 p.m. to midnight, there will be a street dance and a performance on Edwards Street by local band Men of Distinction.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, parade line-up begins at 9:30 a.m. with the parade starting at 11. After the parade, trophies will be awarded on the Branch Junction stage.
Starting at 1 p.m., there will be events around town, including rides on the Cal Smoak Special as well as the arts, crafts and concessions vendors.
There will be no carnival rides this year, Jennings said, because “we don’t have any place in town that we could put a carnival.”
At 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the Can-Can Girls will perform, Kangaroo Court will be held at 2:15, 5:15 and 7:15, and the gunfighters will perform at 2:30, 5:30 and 7:30.
The kids spike driving contest starts at 3:30 p.m., followed by the adult version at 4. The “womanless beauty pageant” follows at 4:30.
Another street dance will begin at 8 p.m., and singer-songwriter Cody Webb, a South Carolina native, returns to the festival for a performance.
The festival wraps up on Sunday, Sept. 29. Area churches welcome visitors in apparel of their choice. Registration for the pet show will held from 2 to 2:30 p.m., the pet show will run from 2:30 to 3 p.m. and Second Chance of Orangeburg Animal Rescue will be on site from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Once more the Can-Can Girls perform at 4 p.m. and the gunfighters perform at 4:30. Closing ceremonies will be held at 5 p.m.
“We just want people to come out and enjoy the festival,” Jennings said. “Come visit with us, see what we have to offer. We’d love to have you.”
Jennings noted that the concessions slots for the festival are full, but he still has openings for arts and crafts vendors. Anyone interested can call him at 803-682-1736.