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South Carolina Festival Of Discovery 2022 Details & Full Schedule

The annual South Carolina Festival Of Discovery is taking place in Greenwood, SC from July 7 to 9, 2022. Get all the details about the festival in this post.

For more tips planning your next trip, check out all of our travel posts.

Turkey legs on a grill with the words "South Carolina Festival Of Discovery Details & Full Schedule" digitally written on top.

The South Carolina Festival Of Discovery is an annual blues and barbecue festival happening in the namesake of Greenwood County, South Carolina.

The festival, now in its 21st year, takes place in the center of Greenwood, South Carolina, this year from July 7 to 9, 2022.

The majority of the festival happens on or near Main Street, so keep that in mind for road closures. Main Street, and several side streets, will be closed Thursday, July 7 at 6 pm and will remain closed until Sunday, July 10 at noon.

South Carolina Festival Of Discovery: Everything You Need To Know

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At the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery, you’ll discover (mostly) barbecue and blues music. Plus, the beautiful town of Greenwood.

A sign advertising the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

Where is Greenwood?

Greenwood, South Carolina is in Greenwood County, in western South Carolina, near the Georgia border.

It’s found in District 96 in South Carolina, which consists of Greenwood, Abbeville, Edgefield, Laurens, and McCormick Counties.

Greenwood is home to the South Carolina Festival Of Flowers, which originally began in 1968. This year, 42 topiaries were featured throughout the town in the month of June. Some of the topiaries will be on display during the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

A barbecue menu at the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

What is the main attraction of the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery?

The main attraction is me, of course. I’m kidding. But, I will be at the festival as a guest of the Old 96 District Tourism Commission and will potentially be a judge in one of the barbecue competitions over the festival weekend (Update: We did not get to judge. Maybe next year).

But, the main attractions besides your favorite blogger, are the barbecue and the blues.

Music is life, but let’s start with the food.

Brisket nachos.

Barbecue:

Barbecue will be served from lunch Thursday through Saturday evening. There will be 16 barbecue vendors at the event, all serving hot and fresh barbecue. You can stop by, peruse their offerings, and enjoy lunch or dinner (or lunch and dinner).

A woman buying food at a vendor tent at the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

In addition to the barbecue vendors, there will be food trucks and other non-barbecue vendors set up around the festival area. There are also dessert trucks, selling items like doughnuts and sno cones, as well. Outside food and drink isn’t permitted at the festival.

Tickets for the 2022 People's Choice Event at the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

People’s Choice Event:

If you’re indecisive, Saturday is for you. That’s when the People’s Choice event is happening. From 10 am to 3 pm, anyone can purchase sample tickets for $1 and redeem them with the barbecue vendors. If you purchase five tickets, you’ll be given a voting ticket and can cast your ballot for your favorite barbecue.

Of course, you can sample all of them, but five samples should be filing.

At 5 pm, the People’s Choice winner will be announced. The 2022 South Carolina Festival Of Discovery People’s Choice winner was Cherrywood BBQ (we tried their barbecue during the People’s Choice event, but we voted for two different vendors).

Additional competitors will be judged in a Kansas City Barbecue Style competition as well. The 2022 South Carolina Festival Of Discovery grand champion was Smokin’ Sweetmeats.

Kids competing in a barbecue contest at the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

Kids Que:

If you have a kid who loves Top Chef Juniors, the Kids Que competition is for them. Kids ages 6 to 15 will compete Friday, July 8 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Using two pounds of ground beef, a pound of bacon, and a charcoal grill, kids will compete to make barbecue that will be judged blindly.

An adult will be with the child at all time and can only assist with difficult tasks, like lighting the grill or making hard cuts. Everything else will be done by the kids.

Musicians Sir Rod and the Blues Doctors on the Main Stage at the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery.

Blues Cruise:

Don’t be confused by the name: Blues Cruise. It’s not an actual cruise on a boat. Rather, it’s you cruising around to different venues in the area to check out live blues music from local and national bands, like Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues (from South Carolina), Bennett Matteo Band (from California), Marie Martens (from Chicago), and 61 Ghosts (from Maine).

Our favorite band of the weekend (which we saw twice: once on the main stage and one at Howard’s) was Sir Rod & The Blues Doctors.

There will be a Main Stage with music on Thursday from 6 pm to 8:30 pm, Friday from 11 am to 10 pm, and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm.

There will also be the Uptown Market local stage with music from 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Friday and 2:45 pm to 8 pm on Saturday.

Musicians on stage at Inn On The Square at the S.C. Festival Of Discovery.

But wait, there’s more. The following local businesses will have live blues music in their venues as well: Aromas Uptown, Buffalo Grill, Good Times Brewing, Inn on the Square, Flynn’s on Maxwell, Howard’s on Main, Montague’s, TW Boons, Polo’s Restaurant, and Southern Soul on Main.

A carnival fun house.

Kids Zone:

There will be a full designated area on Maxwell Avenue, in the Uptown Market Parking Lot, for rides for kids. There will be a Ferris wheel, loop, swing, fun house, inflatable slide, and more. Plus, some food vendors set up in that area.

It’ll be open from 5 pm to 10 pm on Friday and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday. Tickets are $1 each or 25 for $20.

Alcohol:

Alcohol will be available for sale, if you’re 21 or over.

What’s very cool is that on Thursday or Friday, you can buy a wristband for $10 (on Saturday it’s $5). The wristband allows you to take beer and wine (no liquor) outside of the festival area and within designated areas in downtown Greenwood. So you’ll be able to purchase a wristband (in front of Howard’s on Main or at Uptown Market) and take your drink around to the other venues to check out their live music.

Competitors in a hot dog eating contest.

Hot Dog Eating Contest:

On Saturday, there will be a hot dog eating competition from noon to 1 pm. Only South Carolina residents, who are 18 and older (or under 18 with parental permission) are able to compete. So I can’t participate and neither can Joey Chestnut, but we can watch.

It costs $5 to enter, which includes a t-shirt and all the hot dogs you can eat in 12 minutes. The winner receives $500.

The 2022 South Carolina Festival Of Discovery hot dog eating contest was Greenwood’s own Bryan Crocker who ate 17 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

A ceramic pig decorated with stickers.

South Carolina Festival Of Discovery Schedule

Barbecue vendors will be set up during the entire event.

Thursday, July 7

Music at the Main Stage: 6 pm to 8:30 pm.

Friday, July 8

Cornhole Tournament: A cornhole tournament will be held at Uptown Market at 7:30 pm.

Kids Que: From 6 pm to 8 pm, kids ages 6 to 15 compete in a judged barbecue contest at Uptown Market. Entry is $50 and includes the 14-inch charcoal grill, which must be used to cook in the competition.

Kids Zone Rides: Open from 5 pm to 10 pm at Uptown Market. Tickets are $1 or $20 for 25.

Music at the Main Stage: 11 am to midnight.

Music at the Uptown Market Local Stage: 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Saturday, July 9

Awards Ceremony: All award winners, including People’s Choice, will be announced at the Main Stage at 5 pm.

Cornhole Tournament: A cornhole tournament will be held at Uptown Market at 7:30 pm.

Kids Zone Rides: Open from 10 am to 10 pm at Uptown Market. Tickets are $1 or $20 for 25.

Hot dog eating competition: From noon to 1 pm, South Carolina residents can compete. Entry is $5 and includes a t-shirt and all the hot dogs you can eat in 12 minutes. The winner’s prize is $500 with prizes for second and third place as well.

Music at the Main Stage: 11 am to midnight.

Music at the Uptown Market Local Stage: 2:45 pm to 8 pm.

People’s Choice: From 10 am to 3 pm, anyone can purchase a ticket for $1 to sample barbecue. For every five tickets purchased, you get one voting ticket to vote for people’s choice.

The outside of the front of a hotel.

Where to stay for the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery?

If you’re looking for places to stay in the Greenwood area during the South Carolina Festival of Discovery, we found a few hotels for you to choose from:

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Other Things To Do In Greenwood, SC:

Miss Ann's Fried Chicken in Greenwood, SC.

Restaurants In Greenwood, SC:

Besides the ones listed above, you might want to check out these others:

A woman standing in the rain in Abbeville, SC with the words "Things To Do When It Rains In Abbeville, SC" digitally written on top.

Abbeville, SC travel ideas:

If you’re heading to Greenwood, SC for the SC Festival Of Discovery, you’ll want to check out nearby Abbeville as well. It’s such a cute town.

If it happens to rain when you’re there, don’t worry. We have a great list of Things To Do When It Rains In Abbeville, SC.

Have you been to the South Carolina Festival Of Discovery? Let us know your favorite parts in the comments.