Central Railroad Festival set for April 23

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — The Central Railroad Festival aims to be both fun and informative.
“We really want people to focus on Central’s railroad heritage,” said Kathi Dimmock, chair of the Central Railroad Festival Committee. “We want the festival to celebrate the railroad’s heritage, and it’s also to educate and to entertain.”
The Central Railroad Festival will pull into historic downtown Central on Saturday, April 23.
The festival begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m., featuring entertainment, food, music and more than 25 arts and crafts vendors offering a variety of handmade items.
“The committee is really excited about the event we’ve put together for the Railroad Festival, the Town of Central and the visitors who come into the town for the festival,” Dimmock said.
The event focuses on the whole family, she said.
Live entertainment will include the SWU Jazz Ensemble, the D.W. Daniel High School Jazz Band, top 40 classics from The Flying Saucers, and more. At the kids’ stage, Gregg “Buffalo” Barfield will have fun, interactive entertainment for the youngsters. The Central-Clemson Library, Arts Center of Clemson and Lowe’s will offer more hands-on children’s activities.
There will be free entertainment for all ages. Also open for free tours will be the Central Railway Museum, which features a large HO-scale model railroad layout complete with cities, towns and features found in the region more than a half century ago. The museum also houses a Heritage Room, featuring classic model trains popular in the mid-20th century.
Central restaurants will be open on the day of the festival. Street vendors will offer festival favorites, including pizza, hot dogs, barbecue, nachos, corn dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, funnel cakes, kettle corn, fried Oreos and more.
Explore more of the town’s history by taking the Central Heritage Tour. The walking tour is a 1.1-mile loop that visits several sites in town, including the Central Roller Mill, Red Caboose and the Central History Museum. Take a CAT bus out to Collins Old Town for a trip to the past.
Admission to the festival is free, and convenient parking is available. Clemson Area Transit buses will run continuously, taking festivalgoers from parking areas. Shuttle service is available from Central Town Hall and Central area churches.
Central Area Business Council and the Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce are sponsors of The Central Railroad Festival. The Town of Central and the Central Railway Museum also support the festival.
Just prior to the festival will be the “Keep it Movin’” 5K race to benefit Central Elementary School’s Walk-Run program, which encourages students to walk or run before school on the school track. This year, more than 250 students are actively involved in the program. The race will start at 8:30 a.m. For details about the 5K, contact Paige Bowers at (864) 397-1401 or
As the Central Railroad Festival concludes, festivalgoers are invited to stick around for Bizness Suit and their own brand of “bluesy rock ‘n’ roll,” plus the band Letters & String, downtown as part of the Greater Clemson Music Festival.
As part of the music festival, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues will take the Main Street stage at 5:15 p.m.
Dimmock said the Railroad Festival and the Music Festival have partnered together for the last two years.
“It’s an event that we’re trying to build on,” she said.
For details about the Greater Clemson Music Festival, visit
The Central Railroad Festival is held rain or shine. April showers in this area tend not to last very long, so don’t let a little rain deter you, Dimmock said.
“If the people would just come out and support the event, we would appreciate it,” she said.
For festival details, call (864) 654-1200 or visit the Central Railroad Festival website at