Irmo Okra Strut Faces Cancellation

8:38 AM, Apr 8, 2010   |    comments
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Irmo, SC (WLTX) - Irmo officials say this year's Okra Strut may be cancelled. Organizers are running out of time to find an alternate location after the property owner backed out of the lease.

The Okra Strut draws thousands of folks to Irmo every year. But this September there may not be anything to strut about.

"It looks like right now, we may have to take a recess,"said Irmo Mayor John Gibbons.

Gibbons says the biggest problem is finding a new location for the festival.

"Before the Okra Strut last year in September the new owner of the shopping center notified the Okra Strut (commission ) to let them know that he was going to cancel that lease,"said Gibbons.

The decade long lease was in its 6th year, but there was an opt out in the contract.

Adding to the dilemma, Gibbons says the board of commissioners lost most of its staff members in recent months.

"Not having a paid administrator to do it, four of seven commissioners are gone,"said Gibbons.

Irmo Town Park was considered as a possible alternate location. However it's too small to host thousands of people and vendors.

Also Gibbons says members of nearby Youngs Chapel expressed concerns.

"Once it gets dark and you have lots of people, alcohol and darkness, I'd be concerned about what would happen to the church,"said Gibbons. The chapel has dozens of stained glass windows that may be hard to replace if damaged.

Meredith Allan with the Irmo Chamber of Commerce says canceling the Okra Strut will hurt business.

"I think it's an emotional loss collectively for the community and businesses would lose out,"said Allan.

Meanwhile Gibbons sasy a final decision is nearing. "A drop dead rate is close. Very close,"said Gibbons.









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