our RICH History
The South Carolina Festival of Flowers strives to showcase Greenwood as a destination for flowers, families and fun! It all started 52 years ago with show gardens at Park Seed Company and quickly evolved into a community celebration. Our signature attraction includes 44 "living" topiary sculptures placed throughout Uptown Greenwood.
Everything begins with the Main Weekend, June 7 - 9, 2019. The festival includes over 30+ events throughout the month of June and offers entertainment options ranging from gardening and performances to sporting and cultural events.
Summer of 1968
Greenwood’s first South Carolina Festival of Flowers was held in the summer of 1968 to coincide with the 100th anniversary celebration of George W. Park Seed Company. The Festival was the brainchild of what was known then as the Tourist and Conventions Committee of the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Director Al Parker and Committee members recognized that Park Seed Company hosted “grower days” each year and that hundreds of professional flower growers came to Greenwood to meander through Park Seed’s famous trial gardens. They thought it would be a good idea to capitalize on having those visitors see other venues in Greenwood.
The rest is history. Since that year, the Festival has been built around Park Seed Company’s annual Flower Day. Dick Stowe, chair of the Tourist and Conventions Committee, served as the first Festival Chairman, and Judy Funderburk of Bennettsville was crowned Princess of Flowers. During the Festival’s early years, admission was free to most events, including the Park Seed gardens and open house, arts and craft show, photo exhibit, military band concerts and other popular attractions.
Change and Growth
Since then, the Festival has grown to include a wide array of activities, many added under the leadership of Frank Cuda, who was Festival Director from 1992 to 2006. In 2007, the Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary and welcomed Kay Self as the new Executive Director.
In 2008, the South Carolina Festival of Flowers introduced a new logo celebrating its Carolina roots. The logo features Yellow Jessamine (the state flower) encircling the words “Festival of Flowers” with two Carolina Wrens (the state birds) perched below.
Also, in 2008 the Topiary Project was launched which brought a whole new dimension to the Festival and has become the Signature event. Presently, there are 44 topiaries on the square in Uptown Greenwood, SC during the month of June.
Then in 2009, the Festival gained regional recognition by winning four Excellence Awards at the Carolina Showfest Convention. The South Carolina Festival of Flowers received awards for “Best Merchandise,” “Best Website,” and “Overall Event of the Year” for South and North Carolina. Executive Director, Kay Self was also recognized as “South Carolina Director of the Year.”
Ellesor G. Holder took the helm in 2011 for the 44th SC Festival of Flowers. She built on the successes of Frank Cuda and Kay Self and continued the tradition of making the Festival one of the best in the state and region. She rebranded the festival with a more distinctive and contemporary logo which symbolized the diversity and floral history of the SC Festival of Flowers.
Under Holder’s leadership, the festival received the SC Festival & Event Association’s prestigious Excellence Award, 2013 Event of the Year. She also garnered two Silver Awards for the Festival’s 2013 TV Ad and Mobile Application/Website at the International Festival and Events Association Conference.
52 Years in June 2019
The SC Festival of Flowers continues to be named one of the Southeast Tourism Society's “Top Twenty Events.”
The major cultural goals of the event are: increase awareness of Greenwood, SC as a thriving horticultural community; emphasize through performances and exhibits Greenwood’s commitment to the arts in its many forms; and to celebrate Greenwood’s relationship with the George W. Park Seed Company, one of America’s leading horticultural direct marketing companies.
Not only has the Topiary Project grown but attendance at the Festival has steadily grown too. In the last few years it has reached a record with over 128,000 people visiting Greenwood and taking part in many of the events and activities. In 2018, the economic impact of the SC Festival of Flowers was $5,900,000.
The SC Festival of Flowers is a division of the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce and shares the same Board of Directors.