Tourist in your own town

Have you ever taken a different look at the town you live in? My family loves to go on small adventures and today we decided to do take an adventure not far from our home… in our city of Columbia, SC. We were able to experience a carnival atmosphere, take a step back in history, and take in the arts.

IMG_0959The day started on a sidewalk in the Rosewood area of town. It was time for the annual #MardiGrasSC parade. This is a great parade with such fun and energy. Mardi Gras is an growing event in Columbia. My family loves to watch every year. The parade is great because anyone can be a part of it. Just show up! My favorite part is probably the drum line. It’s a great family event. The parade participants throw a ton of beads and candy for the kids (and adults alike). People dress up in great costumes and for a brief moment you feel slightly transported to New Orleans. This was the 4th year of the parade and it was the largest to date. After the parade you can join an all day celebration of Mardi Gras at City Roots, an in-town sustainable farm. We are such fans we are going to participant with our own Krewe next year.

Here is a little taste of the Benedict Drum Line  that preformed today.

After the parade, we decided to take a step back in history by taking a gorgeous stroll across the Gervias St. bridge. Over the last month Columbia has been celebrating the Burning ofIMG_0969 Columbia by General Sherman during the Civil War. The “celebration” continued today with the Battle of Columbia. At 12:00 the city was under siege by union troops on the banks of the Congaree River. We watched the battle begin as the cannons were fired from the west and the Confederates used shotguns to fire back from the east banks. There are still a number of events this month to continue the celebration.

I used to teach history and visited a number of American Revolution and Civil War reenactments but I don’t think I have ever been as close to the cannons while they were being fired as I was today. My entire body felt the cannon blast. I have no idea how the reenacters can stand it. I was not prepared with earplugs and my fingers stuck in my ears was not the best protection. It makes me think about how many actual soldiers that made it home from the war could hear.

IMG_0978The final destination for the day was an infusion of the arts at the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA). It was a Valentine’s Family Day.  CMA has the BEST events for families and adult nights. The family day included multiple stations to create valentine’s day cards, heart necklaces, secret message cards, create your own gallery, fingerprint art, and selfie booth. CMA also created a great scavenger hunt in the art galleries for kids and parents.

The programing at the Columbia Museum of Art just keeps getting better. My favorite event they hold is Arts and Draughts. It’s a monthly night out with art, music, and local brews.

The best part of the day was when the 8 year old says, “Today was a really great day.” Today we were able to enjoy multiple facets of the city and it was all FREE. So get out there and become a tourist in your own city. You might be surprised by what you find.

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