There’s only one way to celebrate America’s birthday for many people in Lexington County, and the party turns a town of less than 1,000 into the center of attention for thousands more.
Gilbert hosted its 59th annual Lexington County Peach Festival July 4, and as always, it was a display of patriotism and small town Americana designed for all ages.
It began with the Peach Festival Parade at 9:30 a.m., and continued all day.
Marching and riding in the parade were dignitaries including Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, numerous state legislators including Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, Sen. Katrina Shealy and Rep. Micah Caskey, and Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon.
Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston, South Carolina’s Adjutant General, served as grand marshal for the parade.
“It’s a wonderful affair,” Livingston said. “Being able to connect, to talk to the people, to see all the communities: in the military, that’s what we fight for. We fight to protect the American people.”
Livingston and other military men and women drew some of the loudest cheers from the thousands who lined the parade route, waving flags and cheering for their heroes.
“You see so many veterans in the crowd. This is such a patriotic community,” Livingston said. “[Events like this] are our connection to the community. The strength of our military is really the will of the American people, and that’s what makes this country so strong and so united.”
Guests enjoyed a car and tractor show, more than 100 displays of arts and crafts made by local vendors, live music, carnival rides and games, and a Revolutionary War re-enactment.
On the menu were barbecue, hot dogs and of course multiple peach-themed treats including ice cream. The festivities concluded, naturally, with fireworks as darkness fell and the town went back to being small and quiet again, until next July 4th.
More pictures from the festival are posted on the Midlands Anchor Facebook page.