JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – The scorching temperature didn’t stop crowds of people from turning out Saturday for the 2017 Johnsonville Heritage Festival. The annual event was held at Venters’ Landing.
The two-day festival featured vendors, an Anything BBQ Chicken Cook-Off, a car show, live performances, kayak and pontoon boat rides on Lynches River and games, among other activities. Johnsonville Police Chief Ron Douglas, the festival’s spokesman, said the big draw of the Johnsonville Heritage Festival is Lynches River, and the planning committee tries to promote Venters' Landing as a tourist destination.
To keep with the history/heritage aspect of the festival, Smith Forge Demonstrators participated dressed in clothing from colonial times. The demonstrators had a scene set up with tents, a cannon, a place for a bonfire and other features. Every two hours during the festival, the cannon would be fired.
Dale Smith, a demonstrator, said he and the Smith Forge Demonstrators went to the landing Friday morning and were planning to stay through Saturday evening.
“We enjoy it. You’ve got to love it. My daughters are here, and my wife and their kids are all re-enactors,” Smith said. “You’ve got to love history, and you’ve got to love presentations to be a demonstrator.”
The winners of this year’s Anything BBQ Chicken Cook-Off were Myron and Barbara Wise of Prospect. This was the couple’s first time winning the cooking competition. They placed second last year.
Byron Wise said he normally cooks at home for friends and a hunting club.
“And I cook the old-timey way on a 55-gallon drum and charcoal,” he said.
The Wises received $500 for winning first place in the competition. Wise said it feels wonderful to win, especially in his hometown. His special recipe will remain a secret.
“It’s just old hometown cooking. It’s a homemade sauce,” Wise said. “I could tell you the recipe but a man told me I’d have to kill you.”