Orangeburg’s Festival of Roses drew vendors from across South Carolina and beyond to enjoy the weekend’s festivities.

Kerry and Dan Gendron of Mom & Pop’s World’s Best Vermont Maple Syrup traveled all the way from Rochester, Vermont to attend the Festival of Roses for the first time.

They have been on the festival circuit for about three years, although the Rose Festival was only their second festival in the state. Dan’s parents were on the festival circuit for about 20 years.

“It is a family-run business,” Dan said.

The Gendron Family Farm is 105 years old and “I am the third generation on this farm.” The farm has about 20,000 sugar maple trees.

The couple offers pure maple syrup, with some flavored with whiskey, bourbon, apple pie and berries.

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“People say, ‘Well, I can get it at Sam’s or Walmart,’” Dan said. “If you ever tried that and tried this, you would never buy that again.”

Maria Vertefeuille and her mother, Collette Palmer, spent some time during the Friday before the festival enjoying a stroll through the Rose Gardens. Palmer was visiting from North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

The women are avid gardeners.

“We are just amazed at the colors and the variety and different types of roses,” Vertefeuille said. “It is great. It is impressive.”

Vertefeuille said she was struck by the names of the roses.

“It is inspirational,” she said.

Kyliegh Sharp of Lady K’s Magewares was making her first appearance at the festival. She just moved to Orangeburg from Charleston with her husband.

“I have a wizard pop-up shop,” Sharp said. “I make wizard hats and I have sold them all over the world.”

“I started on Etsy and I have sold these all over the world, including Russia,” Sharp said.

Sharp has been making wizard hats since 2014. She’s now added wizard wands, Dungeons and Dragons items, crystals and calligraphy pens to the items she sells.

“I try to imagine if you were in Dungeons and Dragons or if you were in a Harry Potter universe, if you were a wizard, what would you need, so that is how I stock my shop,” Sharp said. “It is a lot of fun.”

Sharp said she was looking for something to do for the May 4 weekend and saw the festival on Facebook.

“I didn’t realize this was such a big to-do,” Sharp said. “This is my debut in Orangeburg.”

Cope resident LaRue Fogle operates Southern Sunshine Concessions with his wife, Marlene.

The business serves turkey legs cooked on a grill. Fogle said they also serve corn on the cob and 15 different types of lemonades and shaved ice.

It is the third year Southern Sunshine has been at the festival. The business has been in existence for over 12 years.

“It is a beautiful place. The roses and everything look beautiful. We just enjoy it,” he said.

Rose Festival attendees had to dodge rain showers throughout the weekend’s festivities, but Mother Nature did not dampen too many moods at the popular festival.

The festival was sponsored by the City of Orangeburg and the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.

Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce President James McQuilla said the festival is about family, fun, food and flowers.

“This is the largest we have had in decades,” McQuilla said. “We spent a lot of time marketing outside of Orangeburg. We believe that the Orangeburg faithful are going to be here. We are trying to expand this out to the rest of the state and we are getting good feedback.”

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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