Central prepares to celebrate its railroad heritage,Annual festival set for April 23

CENTRAL — Get on board for fun, food, festivities and more during Central’s annual Railroad Festival celebration. Held in historic downtown Central, on Saturday, April 23, the one-day festival begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m.

“The Central Railroad Festival has activities for the entire family,” said Bobby Ballentine, festival organizer. “Come spend the day, enjoy the entertainment and the great variety of food. There are tons of free activities for the kids.”

This year’s festival boasts to be bigger and better than ever with approximately 50 vendors on hand, a wide array of musical entertainment, and endless fun-filled activities for children — including inflatables, face-painting, games, prizes and — new this year — Build ’n’ Grow construction projects, specifically designed for children, sponsored by Lowes.

Highlighting the Railroad Festival in Central is the addition of the Norfolk Southern Railroad locomotive simulator, which will allow festival-goers the chance to “operate” and “feel” what it is like to conduct a rapidly moving freight train.

Of course, the railroad festival would not be complete without allowing participants to immerse themselves in the rich history and heritage that ties Central and the railroad together.

The Central Railway Museum, abundant with railroad memorabilia and model train displays, will be open for those interested in making a connection to the past. Eight different historical sites in Central — including Collins Ole Town and Freedom Hill Church — are part of a guided tour open to historians of all ages.

Family friendly entertainment in a wholesome, historically vibrant atmosphere is what the Central Railroad Festival is all about. For lots of good eats, tractor train rides, furniture and wood carving, live music featuring Daniel High School’s Jazz Band, Young Appalachian Musicians, Tony Tidwell, and the Folsom Prison Gang (a Johnny Cash tribute group), and, of course, trains, don’t miss this year’s Railroad Festival in Central.

Admission to the festival is free and convenient parking is available. Clemson Area Transit will offer shuttle rides for festival attendees to and from parking areas at Town Hall and Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home on S.C. 93.

For additional information, call (864) 654-1200 or visit the Central Railroad Festival website at