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West Columbia's Art on State Festival celebrates local artists and artisans

Art on State festival brings local artisans together for celebration, drawing crowds from all over South Carolina and beyond to West Columbia.

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Art on State festival is back in West Columbia, bringing with it a celebration of local artists and artisans.  

The event now draws thousands of people from all over South Carolina and beyond, and it continues to attract more every year.

Business owners like Lainie Lewis said it has brought a constant stream of folks with walking room only in her shop - which is great for business.

"Most of the businesses aren't open at night; so, it gets a whole new crowd in that they don't know we're here," Lewis said. "With the people here, I have people show up throughout the weekend. I call them 'be backs.' The 'be backs' be back."

Lewis sells art, antiques, jewelry, clothes, and unique local gifts at State Street Trading Company. It's been at its current location for more than five years.

She'll be highlighting one of her local artists, Brenda Peake.

"I had her bring in more pieces this past week," Lewis said. "She is the featured artist."

Lewis added that this week, she's already seen lots of new faces, including University of South Carolina families coming in after graduation.

This festival also gives talented artisans a chance to show off their skills. That includes Conal Smith, a journeyman blacksmith from Edgefield.

He said this is a hobby he's undertaken part-time to make gifts for family and friends.

"The basics is you're just moving metal really, so we do both the artist blacksmith side and the basics of building latches, nails, all the traditional colonial crafts that you would need just to survive," Smith said.

It's his first time at Art on State and he said he hopes locals enjoy learning something new.

"Catch people's attention and show that it's not that complicated. My setup's not. Most of it's handmade and homemade stuff that you don't need a whole commercial deal," Smith said. "You don't need a lot of money. It's pretty easy to get into really."

The event is free to enjoy until 10 p.m. Friday night. If you're looking for more fun in West Columbia, there's an artisan market Saturday morning and Rhythm on the River on Saturday night.

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