The community gathered downtown on Sunday to welcome the return of the Taste of Orangeburg following the pandemic.

Regional Medical Center President and CEO David Southerland enjoyed his first time at the event.

“I think it’s really, really great – a lot of people coming out, a lot of good food,” Southerland said. “There’s a good variety of food and you get to visit with your friends and neighbors.”

Local restaurants came together on Sunday afternoon to offer selections during the Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association’s event. The Boo Bash was also held for children.

Southerland said the events offered people a chance to bond with one another.

“The more you can share information, share good food and people just talk about your interests, whatever they are, you get to know each other better. You learn how to trust people better.

People are also reading…

“That’s why I’m here, trying to meet more and more people in the community,” Southerland said.

The vendors in attendance were:

• Orangeburg Country Club with gumbo and rice and meatloaf sliders

• Ms. Tooky’s with Southern food and sides, including stone stew and macaroni

• Buck Ridge Plantation with shrimp and grits and chicken perlo

• Original House of Pizza with Greek salad with house dressing, lasagna and spanakopita

• Tulio’s with pizza slides and fettucine Alfredo

• Rotary Club of Orangeburg Morning with turkey legs

• Randolph Artisan Italian Ice & Gelato with pineapple cups, gelato and Italian ice

For many at the event, it was important to support the local businesses in Orangeburg.

Chef Evan Johnson of Buck Ridge Plantation said it’s important to maintain traditions and support the local businesses that continued during the pandemic.

“Local businesses are what drove us through all the hard times,” Johnson said.

Rodney Tumbleston said, “I always like to support local business.”

And at the Taste of Orangeburg, “You get to taste the things that you normally don’t go to.”

“We might try those out next time. It’s fun to support the restaurants and DORA and what we’re doing in the downtown corridor,” Tumbleston said.

Yajie Guo said, “I think this is a great idea to have the local businesses present their signature dishes to the public.”

In addition to the food, the event featured a D.J. playing music and families meeting and having fun.

“The food is really good and I’ve been coming to this for years and it’s always a treat,” Tumbleston said.

Southerland said, “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s just a really good way for the community to get together and enjoy each other.”

Guo said, “I think it’s just enjoying the beautiful weather and people are enjoying the food with friends and family.”

Terry Benjamin II, a Claflin University mass communications senior, is reporting for The Times and Democrat as a Lee Enterprises-sponsored news-sports intern.

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