Spring (Cooter) Festival

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Our first Allendale County Cooter Fest was only 3 weeks after our family moved to Allendale in 2011, on Mother’s Day weekend. I actually missed the bulk of it due to work on Friday, and I made a quick 6.5 hour trip back to Greenville to pick up some more furniture.

Last year’s event was much more relaxing for our family, and we almost won $1100 in the famous Cooter Race. But even more interesting was that I started noticing that only some people call this event the “Cooter Fest.”

In general, we’ve noticed that white people in Allendale call it “Cooter Fest,” while black people call it the “Spring Festival.” Virtually every kid and teacher in the schools use the latter name.

Ever curious, I started asking around this year, and got some information. Apparently, it was originally called the Spring Festival, and was quite different from what we see today. There was more of a focus on crafts and culture, but years ago it “morphed” into the Cooter Fest.

Many long-time residents (especially older white folks) miss what it used to be. Although change is inevitable, I understand where they are coming from. Nowadays, the festival is dominated by non-local vendors and rides, the famous Cooter Race (which attracts contestants from multiple states), and two night-time street dances (Shag dancing on one end, and hip hop on the other).

Is the Cooter Fest (Spring Festival) one of the best things going on in Allendale County? I don’t think so.

Will kids (including ours) have a good time with food and rides? Oh, yes.

Will thousands (or tens of thousands?) of dollars be spent in Allendale? Yep.

Will most of that money help the local economy? No way.

If you come, will you get a good feel for real life in Allendale? Not really.

If you come, will you encourage us with your presence, and have a good time? Absolutely.

Give it a thought. I know it’s Mother’s Day weekend, but we’d love to have you come down for a day or two. Just let us know.

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