I join with the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, the Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority, as well as local business owners and residents, to welcome you to Columbia County!
We're thrilled the world's best golf brought you here, and hope you'll find some time to explore all that our beautiful county has to offer. From unique eateries and shops to gorgeous natural resources, Columbia County has many things we hope you'll take the time to discover.
Here are a few of the facts:
--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 each day at the Laurel and Hardy Museum of Harlem (free admission). Annually, Harlem welcomes thousands of visitors from all around 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. (Look for us on ESPN2 for this year's "Pride of Georgia" event to be held May 1-4!)
And speaking of parks, you've hit the jackpot in Columbia County.
-- 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.
-- We're also proud that Columbia County is home to Champions Retreat. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, this 27-hole private golf club is a spectacular course that has received several national awards.
-- We're home to the International Disc Golf Center, managed by the Professional Disc Golf Association, and are blessed with several championship disc golf courses.
-- 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. Trained staff wait to help you with directions, restaurant suggestions, or shopping recommendations. They're open daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
-- You can get your game on at Adventure Crossing, an entertainment/sports facility that has a brand new 6,100-square-foot laser-tag arena, go-karts, batting cages and miniature golf courses.
If you've visited us in the past, you've probably also noticed that we've added some new places to spend money. The new retail outlets and restaurants at Mullins Crossing and other centers throughout the county are just some of the amazing growth since your last visit.
The kind folks of Columbia County are ready to share their warm hospitality. Traffic jams are inevitable, but we hope you'll listen to local talk radio, enjoy the beautiful spring flowers that grace the yards of our homeowners, and learn a little more about our community.
Visit our Web site, www.choosecolumbiacounty.com, for additional information. And please come back and see us soon!
Beda Johnson is the director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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