{ SC's May Calendar + Our Featured SC Event }

May 1 - May 2  —  This year's May Calendar of SC Events is brought to you by the award-winning South Carolina Strawberry Festival, Fort Mill's signature salute to spring! Join us in 2015 for a week of events and activities, culminating in the festival on May 1 and 2. Admission is free. The event features over a dozen concerts – including the Gin Blossoms – plus amusement rides, pig racing, a car show, a magic show, canine athletes, a pancake breakfast, a golf tournament, a horse race, a wing-eating contest, wrestling matches, and an appearance by 2015's three Strawberry Queens!

{ Magnolia Plantation: Blossoming with Beauty }

One of the oldest estates in South Carolina, Magnolia Plantation dates to 1672. It stands proudly along the Ashley River near Charleston. Though named for the grand Southern magnolia tree, the property is better known for its wide variety of camellias and azaleas. Together, along with a profusion of other vivid flora, they make Magnolia the Lowcountry's most visited plantation.

( Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

Originally granted to Morris Matthews during the Colonial period, the property was acquired by Thomas and Ann Drayton in 1676. The Draytons, who had come to Charleston from Barbados, built a small home on their land and quickly established a successful rice plantation, cultivating what would come to be known as Carolina Gold Rice. This cash crop made Lowcountry planters extremely wealthy, the Draytons included.

( Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

While known for their sprawling beauty, Magnolia's gardens originated from a much smaller, formal design. Thomas and Ann Drayton added the first garden, which they would later name Flowerdale, shortly after the completion of their home in the mid-1680s. However, the gardens and estate suffered much damage when the property was used as an encampment for both British and American forces during the Revolutionary War. The Drayton sons fought against the British and later became South Carolina statesmen.

( Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

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