The Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce wants to form a committee to spearhead the county’s celebration of the United States’ 250th birthday in 2026.

The effort will piggyback on the state’s “South Carolina 250” campaign to observe the nation’s milestone birthday.

“We are one of the only counties that does not have a committee set up,” Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce President James McQuilla told Orangeburg County Council during a meeting earlier this month.

McQuilla asked county council if the chamber could be designated as the “County 250 Committee,” allowing the group to spearhead the planning for a 250th anniversary celebration.

“There is money for this,” McQuilla said. “There are grant funds.”

McQuilla noted that Orangeburg County was the site of many Revolutionary War battles, including the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

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Council Chair Johnnie Wright said the county will get back with McQuilla on the matter.

“I am sure that most of us will have no problems, especially if we can find the way to get the funds,” Wright said.

In an effort to ensure that all counties across the state have Sestercentennial programs highlighting their unique role in the American Revolution, the state’s SC250 Commission is issuing grants to each county to aid in the formation of a committee.

According to the South Carolina 250 website, each county can receive a $3,000, non-competitive grant toward the implementation of the committee. There is no local grant match.

McQuilla also informed council that the chamber has seen exponential growth over the past few months in comparison to historical growth trends.

He said since June 2020, the chamber has added a total of 84 new members. It has added 44 new members since Jan. 1.

“We are actually on pace by the end of the year to hopefully add another 30 to the 44 we currently already,” McQuilla said.

The chamber has had an aggressive outreach effort.

“We felt it was necessary to grab hold of the narrative and not let people believe what they want to believe about Orangeburg but to tell people about what Orangeburg is really about,” he said.

McQuilla said the chamber has built a new website that is updated daily to focus on tourism-related events and activities.

The chamber has also worked with the county’s municipalities to help promote their events and has striven to form relationships with local schools, health care entities, the faith community, law enforcement and the farming community, he said.

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