Soak in these final days of summer, then switch gears right into fall in this month. September is full of events that highlight the best of both – baseball, football, seasonal produce, various cultural celebrations, outdoor concerts and much more. Read on to make the most of the changing seasons in the Heart of SC. 

Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/ Walk at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center | September 8

Prepare to be deeply moved as you run or walk alongside first responders and members of the military, remembering the many lives lost 22 years ago on 9/11. The loop begins and ends at the First Responders Remembrance Memorial, comprised of two crossed steel beams from the World Trade Center South Tower, and the path is dotted with photographs commemorating those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty on that fateful day in history.  

South Carolina Gamecocks Football at Williams-Brice Stadium | September 9 & 23

As the Columbia Fireflies wrap their season (catch the last few home games until April this month!), Gamecock football ushers itself in. After a neutral site game in Charlotte kicks things off, Williams-Brice will be ready to welcome you back home with games against Furman and Mississippi State on the schedule (don’t miss Alshon Jeffery’s jersey retirement celebration during the latter!).

36th Annual Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral | September 14 - 17

When the aromas of roasted lamb and honeyed baked goods once again fill the air, you know the Greek Festival is back in town. Enjoy four lively days of music, dancing, shopping and getting your fill of gyros, baklava, keftedes and all your other Greek food favorites. Opa!

Park(ing) Day | September 15

In Columbia SC, we like to tout it’s a place where city meets nature. Taking that notion to a whole new level is the annual Park(ing) Day, during which curbside parking spots all over downtown Columbia are turned into delightful miniature public parks and social areas conceptualized by different community entities and organizations. Transforming humdrum spaces into unexpected places, indeed. 

45th Annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History and Culture at Mann-Simons Site | September 16

Historic Columbia’s free annual celebration of South Carolina’s Black history and culture returns this month with all the usual programming we look forward to each year – tours of the Mann-Simons Site and Modjeska Monteith Simkins House, artist demonstrations, a marketplace, the educational Kids Zone and more – plus an impressive lineup of choirs, DJs, solo acts, bands and even a fashion show providing the live entertainment all day long. 

Meeting Street Music Fest at 600 and 700 Blocks of Meeting Street | September 16

A brand-new music festival is making its debut across the river this month. Taking place in the middle of the 600 and 700 blocks of Meeting Street in West Columbia, attendees can enjoy an evening of performances by the Reggie Sullivan Band, Turnstiles and headliner Meli’sa Morgan. This free event is sure to have you up on your feet dancing the night away and already looking forward to a second installment next year. 

SC Horror at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center | September 16 – 17 

Get a jumpstart on spooky season with jump scares at the SC Horror convention. If you fancy all things frightful, are tickled by the terrifying, elated by the eerie and a straight sucker for some spine-tingling screams, then dress up as your favorite serial slasher, creepy clown, demonic doll or other horror movie mainstay and head to the convention center for a weekend full of guests, vendor shopping, onsite haunted attractions and more…. If you dare. 

Concert in the Gardens at Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens | September 21

Just in case the gardens at the Hampton-Preston Mansion didn’t feel magical enough, Historic Columbia has decided to up the atmosphere with a performance by some of the members of the South Carolina Philharmonic. Pack a picnic, find your perfect patch of grass upon which to set up camp and enjoy a lovely pre-fall evening amidst music, history and nature. Please note this event is for guests who are 21+. 

49th Annual Irmo Okra Strut at Irmo Community Park | September 29 – 30 

What began in the 70s as a fried okra fundraiser to build a town library has, in just shy of half a century, since grown into a two-day festival to include live music, the largest parade in the state, arts and crafts, rides, okra (of course) and so much more. Drawing tens of thousands of attendees annually, the Irmo Okra Strut is an institution in the Columbia region’s calendar of events and most certainly not to be missed. 

16th Annual Palmetto Peanut Boil at 2900 Devine Street | September 30

We sure love our crop-focused festivals ‘round here and it’s only fitting that the official State Snack of South Carolina should get its own. So once you’ve gotten your fill of okra, pop over to Devine Street to give legumes some love at the Palmetto Peanut Boil. 

Hop Forward: Best of SC Craft Beer Festival at Junction 800 | September 30

Back for its second year, the South Carolina Brewers Guild is once again bringing together more than 60 breweries from all over the state to showcase their finest frothy beverages to the thirsty, tasting glass-wielding masses. 

Concerts | Locations and dates vary

Enjoy live musical entertainment all month long. See shows by Mt. Joy and Chicago at Township Auditorium, Sister Hazel at Icehouse Amphitheater and Noah Cyrus and Moon Taxi at The Senate. Plus, head to Icehouse Amphitheater every Thursday this month for their free Icehouse Live Concert Series. September’s lineup features Cat5 Band, Swingin’ Medallions, The Root Doctors and Under the Sun. 

Oktoberfests | Locations and dates vary

September also marks the start of Oktoberfest season and a couple of our local breweries are jumping in on the fun early. This month’s celebrations include Steel Hands Oktoberfest, Springdale Oktoberfest – Dalesfest 5K, Oktoberfest at Krafty Draft!!! and Oktoberfest at Savage Craft Ale Works. For a compilation of Oktoberfest celebrations in Columbia to start planning ahead for, check out our roundup here.