On behalf of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our many visitors. We are thrilled to have you with us during this exciting week of entertainment, tradition and, of course, golf.
One of the more notable things about our area is the presence of Southern hospitality, so in true Southern belle style, please allow me to graciously be your hostess and tell you about all of the wonderful things to do and see in Columbia County.
One of our proudest achievements just so happens to be our newest and largest facility, Evans Towne Center Park, located in the heart of Columbia County. This new park is home to a dog park, large playground area, picnic pavilions, a splash pad and the Lady Antebellum Pavilion.
The pavilion is named in honor of local talents, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of the trio Lady Antebellum. The band opened the park in October of 2011 and played a dedication concert to benefit local charities. While the pavilion might be named for “Lady A,” the stage has been named after another hometown singer/songwriter, Josh Kelley.
Josh Kelley will perform along with Little Big Town at the inaugural Par Tee @ the Park Concert at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion on Thursday. A stage dedication ceremony for Kelley will take place at the start of the event. We would love for you to check out this awesome new facility while enjoying the tunes of some of country music’s hottest acts. Also, after the concert, Warren Moon will be the host for a Legends of Sports Celebrity Party with special guests Lee Elder, Eric Dickerson and more.
The Lady Antebellum Pavilion will welcome several musical acts this year. From Rick Springfield to Charlie Daniels and Travis Tritt, there is sure to be something for everyone. For more information on upcoming concerts and to purchase tickets, visit www.evanstownecenterpark.com.
If music is not your thing, I have a few suggestions to help you discover our region. From gorgeous natural resources to unique shops and eateries, Columbia County has many things we hope you’ll take the time to explore.
• Did you know that Oliver Hardy was born in Columbia County’s city of Harlem? His legacy and that of his comedic partner, Stan Laurel, is celebrated every day at the Laurel and Hardy Museum of Harlem (free admission, open Tuesday- Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Annually, Harlem hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world on the first Saturday in October for the Oliver Hardy Festival.
• A portion of the largest U.S. Corps of Engineers project east of the Mississippi River is located in Columbia County. Locally known as Clarks Hill Lake, J. Strom Thurmond Lake and Dam at Clarks Hill offers water sports enthusiasts 71,000-unspoiled acres of water with 1,200 miles of shoreline featuring some of the best freshwater fishing in the United States. Nationally-televised bass fishing tournaments, including the BASS/ESPN Elite Series Tour, are held at Columbia County’s Wildwood Park.
• Speaking of Wildwood Park, it is home to the International Disc Golf Center, managed by the Professional Disc Golf Association. We are blessed with several championship disc golf courses.
• Two public golf courses (Bartram Trail Golf Club and Jones Creek Golf Club) might still have a limited number of tee times available this week.
• Open free to the public year round, you’ll enjoy Savannah Rapids Park featuring the historic headgates of the Augusta Canal and the Savannah Rapids Regional Visitor Information Center. Kayak, canoe, bike, hike or just stroll down the Augusta Canal Tow Path. Trained staff wait to help you with directions, restaurant suggestions, or shopping recommendations. They’re open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Grab a picnic lunch and enjoy springtime at Steed’s Dairy Farm. Steed’s Dairy is a real working dairy farm. Available activities include a petting zoo, jumping pillow, giant tube slide, rubber duckie races, pre-school play area with swings and slides, corn kernel pit and more. (Open through April 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $8 per person) Visit www.steedsdairy.com for more information.
• You can get your game on at Adventure Crossing, an entertainment/sports facility that has a 6,100 square foot lasertag arena, go karts, batting cages, and miniature golf courses. Or if you’d like to work on your short game, try Putt Putt Golf and Games for a nationally-acclaimed miniature golf course.
Check out our Web site www.choosecolumbiacounty.com for more ideas on things to do while you’re here. Come back and see us!
(Shelly Clark is the interim executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau.)