SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — One of the lingering effects of the pandemic has been event cancellations and, when it happens in a small, rural town, it can mean more than just a fun day missed.
Mayesville’s mayor described it as “like a drought,” as the downtown streets remain mostly empty.
Traffic from the annual Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Festival is a nonfactor for another year as the coronavirus remains a concern.
“It really has hurt the community,” Miller said. “Not only for the business, and the business is the most important thing, but people in general, family in general. You miss that connection, talking with them.”
The festival, typically held in May, attracts hundreds in honor of Dr. Bethune, who is a civil rights trailblazer, education leader and native of the area.
Food and activities mean an opportunity to connect, filling the quiet streets with conversation and showcasing what’s new in town.
“We have added the historic museum for the town of Mayesville which will encompass the story of the town of Mayesville back during its heyday,” Miller said.
Apartments, a health center and deli are also under construction.
“We’re going to gear up for 2022,” Miller said, “and we’re looking forward to everyone to come back and we’ll put the COVID behind us and we’re going to move forward.”