Orangeburg’s third annual Park Palooza brought the community together with puppies.

Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Park Palooza took place at the Edisto Memorial Gardens.

“We wanted to have an event that brings people out to our largest park,” Community Events Coordinator Meredith Garris said.

Park Palooza, which celebrates National Parks and Recreation Month, “produces a great turnout every year,” she said.

“Families are walking around, enjoying the puppies, food, sweet treats and the music,” she said.

The Maude Schiffley Chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had a booth at the event for the first time. The SPCA is a non-profit adoption center that finds homes for abandoned, stray and surrendered dogs and cats.

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“We’re so thrilled that Meredith invited us to be a part of this event. We are here to promote the SPCA. Everybody drives down these roads every day here in Orangeburg and they see these dogs walking the streets, they see these cats and cat colonies. We’re trying to eliminate all of that,” Orangeburg SPCA’s Vice President Marcie Britton said.

The SPCA brought four puppies to the July 22 event for people to adopt.

Shirley Wolfe, a board member of Orangeburg’s SPCA, says one of the puppies was named by a child at the Park Palooza. The child named the puppy “Kemari,” after himself.

Park Palooza was sponsored by Clemson Cooperative Extension, Orangeburg County Soil and Water District and Keep Orangeburg County Beautiful.

People at the event learned about pollination and participated in planting activities.

Families came out to support Girl Scout Troop 471 as they donated the Kindness Rock Garden to the Sensory Garden located at the Edisto Memorial Gardens.

City of Orangeburg Public Information Officer Jennifer Van Cleave says events like Park Palooza encourage residents “to participate and go to their local parks.”

“We want to celebrate our parks in the city of Orangeburg. We have parks all over our city. We want people to understand that this is a service that we offer to the community,” Van Cleave said.

Orangeburg native Lashundia Wolley attended the Park Palooza for the first time.

“We’re always saying ‘There’s nothing to do,’ so I came to show support and I’m glad I did,” Wolley said.

Wolley brought her husband and granddaughter along with her. She says they enjoyed visiting the food trucks and listening to the live band.

“We went and got some fish from Three Cooks and A Miracle. Now we’re listening to the music and chilling,” Wolley said.

The live music was performed by Southern Blend, a South Carolina-based band.

“We wanted the band to come out and entertain and get people to dance. The band gets people moving on their feet,” Garris said.

Zoey Davis, a park employee, says she looks forward to “getting out and dancing here and there” and “seeing the smiles on people’s faces.”

“I enjoy the people, getting out and interacting with them. I’m back to experience and explore what Park Palooza is this year,” she said.

Davis says she enjoyed trying out new vendors, “I’m gonna shout out A Sweet Squeeze since they’re doing fresh lemonade. Even though I’m a native of Orangeburg, it’s nice to see different businesses out that I can support.”

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