After a cold winter ' one which seemed colder than usual this year ' spring is a welcome sight. Spring in Columbia is like no other place, and Mother Nature puts on a show with blooming azaleas, dogwoods, wisteria, and sunny, warm-weather days.

A beautiful yard makes for beautiful neighborhoods. So, if you're a fan of beautifying your yard, stop by and visit the South Carolina Department of Agriculture's annual Midlands Plant and Flower Festival at the new South Carolina State Farmers Market, April 14-17. The market moved from its former location on Bluff Road to a new, larger site at 3483 Charleston Highway, West Columbia, 29172. It's easy to find and easily accessible from I-77 and I-26.

The event is free and so is parking. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes, because there's a lot of area to cover under the two large farmers sheds. Last fall's inaugural festival at the market was so successful that planners for this year's event had to increase from one large shed to two. Shoppers will find a wide selection of plants and flowers for sale along with yard art, hanging baskets, outdoor flags and outdoor furniture from local and regional vendors. The South Carolina Specialty Food Association will also have vendors on hand selling a variety of items, such as local honey.


People ask all the time if the new market is open and the answer is a resounding, "YES!" The market is open and it's a great place to not only to enjoy events such as the Midlands Plant and Flower Festival, but also to find fresh, locally-grown produce year-round. Shop for your family as a way to eat fresh while cutting costs and get to know the farmers that grow our food.

For more information about the Midlands Plant and Flower Festival or what's happening at the new South Carolina Farmers Market, visit www.agriculture.sc.gov.

Contributed by guest blogger, Stephen Hudson, public information coordinator at South Carolina Department of Agriculture. Keep up with South Carolina Department of Agriculture on Facebook and Twitter.

View event details on our calendar.