South Carolina’s Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour Introduces Fifth County to Tour Lineup Increasing Farm Sites Along The Nation’s Largest Free Farm Tour

On June 27 – 28, 2015, the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour will host its second regional tour introducing a fifth county to the tour lineup. Tours will be on Saturday from 9am-5pm, and 1-5pm on Sunday. While 2015 marks the second consecutive year for the regional tour, it serves as the fourth Ag + Art tour in the Catawba Region since launching in 2012.

Already the largest free farm tour in the nation, the 2015 Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour will be bigger than last year, stretching across five counties in South Carolina including Chester, Lancaster, Fairfield, Union and York. The tour continues to grow adding Union County farms and artisans to this year’s lineup generating more than 50 farm sites featured along the tour.

The Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour is a self-guided tour and features local artisans and farms throughout the Catawba Region. The tour gives visitors the opportunity to see where their food comes from, interact with artists, purchase their work, enjoy live entertainment, and learn about rural life.

 

“The tour has received great feedback and most recently received the County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation, says Ben Boyles, co-chair of the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour.  Governor Nikki Haley also encourages all South Carolinians to learn more about our heritage and history through this event and other community events.” Last year during the first regional tour, Governor Haley proclaimed the week of the tour as the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour week.

A few sites to see along the tour include Benford Brewing Company (Lancaster County), Catawba Cultural Preservation Center (York County), Elder Farms Family Homestead (Fairfield County), Fishing Creek Creamery (Chester County), Native American Studies Center and Garden (Lancaster County), Three Horse Milling Company (Union County), Rock Ridge Farm (York County), Royal Greens (Fairfield County), Simple Times Farm (Union County), and The Powell Farm (Chester County).

This month, each county will host a kickoff event to introduce the featured farm sites and artisans in their communities. Kickoff events include a range of activities such as barbeque feasts, concerts, farmers markets and cooking demonstrations by local chefs using local fresh produce.

County kickoff events are scheduled as follows:

· Chester County will host the 2015 Chester County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 23; 6 – 8pm in downtown Chester at the Market Building (116 Columbia St., Chester)

· Fairfield County will host the 2015 Fairfield County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 25; 6 – 8:30pm at the Mission Ridge Training and Golf Retreat in Winnsboro (601 S. Congress St., Winnsboro)

· Lancaster County will host the 2015 Lancaster County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 26; 7  – 11:30pm at the Historic Lancaster County Courthouse (104 N. Main St., Lancaster)

· Union County will host the 2015 Union County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 19; 6 – 9pm in the 116th block of Main St. in Union near the Union County Arts Council

· York County, SC, will host the 2015 York County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 11, 5 – 8pm during the Old Town Farmers Market in Rock Hill (115 Caldwell St., Rock Hill, SC).

The first Ag + Art Tour started in 2012 in York County as a way to merge agriculture and art. York County hosted a total of 3,000 visitors in 2012. The tour expanded to include Lancaster County in 2013 with 6,000 total visitors, and added its third and fourth counties to include Chester and Fairfield in 2014 with a total of 8,000 attendees for the entire tour.

The tour is coordinated by a regional leadership team and county-level planning teams that are coordinated by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and the Olde English District Tourism Commission. Partner organizations include economic development, chamber of commerce, tourism bureau, farm and artisan organizations, education and extension office, arts councils and community volunteers.

For more information on the 2015 Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour contact Ben Boyles at 803/981-3021 or visit (www.AgandArtTour.com) for details!

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