City officials talk about the months of planning for the Pecan Festival


FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Each year, the city of Florence welcomes thousands of people and encourages them to “go nuts” at the annual Pecan Festival.

While it’s just one full day of family fun, it’s an 11-month effort to make the massive festival happen. The committee starts booking vendors in March and meet once a week as the festival gets closer.

“A lot, of course, are being coordinated through different departments. We have all the support of our police department and our parks department and our public works department,” said Ray Reich, a development manager for downtown Florence.

The first Pecan Festival was in 2004 and covered two blocks of downtown Florence. Now, the festival covers nine blocks, with eight stages catering to a different genre of music.

George JeBaily, the Pecan Festival committee chairman, said the goal is to make it a family-fun event.

“We purposely make it so that everyone from the grandchild to the grandma to the grandpa, everyone will have a great time, whether it’s enjoying a variety of music and dance that’s on our eight stages of free live entertainment or 150 classic cars that we are anticipating having here with our car show,” JeBaily said.

The biggest hurdle for the festival is the vendors. There will be 280 vendors lined along the streets of downtown Florence.

This year each vendor is required to have a pecan product.

“A big part of planning a festival that covers nine blocks is certainly making sure with all the different vendors that come in, we can provide them will the power that they need, access to water and everything to support them,” said Reich.

Despite the months of planning, the hours of working around the clock and running around, in the end people from all over get to enjoy a day of family fun.

“It all comes together like a pretty fine-tuned orchestra, with all the different people knowing what they have to do and doing their parts and making a great festival,” said Reich.

The festival committee will be back at 5:30 a.m. Saturday to set the final details of the festival. It will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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