Branchville’s Raylrode Daze Festivul will return for the 55th year this weekend.

The community mainstay will feature live entertainment, food and retail vendors both familiar and new to longtime visitors.

The festival will open with live music from Bamberg native and American Idol finalist Warren Peay on Thursday night.

Other performances from the Las Vegas Show Band, Legends in Concert (including Elvis), Roy Neptune and various dance groups will follow throughout the weekend, festival Treasurer Carrie Johnson said.

The number of food trucks – around 45 – and retail vendors – around 60 – is tied for last year for the most the festival has had, Johnson said.

Other live entertainment will include the festival’s classic gunfighting show, parade, hula hoop contest, kangaroo court, can-can girls, a pet show and spike driving.

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New for this year’s festival will be a small carnival featuring rides for small children in the festival’s “fun zone,” Johnson said. There will also be a mechanical bull and dunk tank.

Parade float, car, truck, golf carts and ATV owners can still register to participate in the parade until 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Johnson said. To sign up, email your name, type of entry, phone number and email address to

The parade procession will begin lining up at Ross Horton Field and MUSC Health Fitness Center on Freedom Road at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m., making its way down Freedom Road before disbanding at the old Branchville High School on Barton Street.

Overall attendance numbers are dependent on the weather and whether a University of South Carolina, Clemson University or S.C. State University home game falls on the festival’s weekend, Johnson said. All three play at home this Saturday.

Johnson, who has been with the festival since 2002 and whose grandfather was the first president of the festival, said the festival is a big part of the community. With a small budget and being completely volunteer run, the festival depends on community support, she said.

“We’re not getting any younger,” she said. “In order for the festival to go on, we need people to come help.”

Volunteers can contact Kelvin McAlhany at 803-515-3933.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5553. Follow on Twitter: @bozardcaleb.

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