CHARLESTON — From performers to free peaches, South Carolina’s tourism industry will be working to tell the story of the state’s attractions to those attending next month’s Democratic National Convention in nearby Charlotte.
“We certainly believe a lot of folks will take advantage of being in Charlotte to see some of South Carolina’s tourism attractions such as Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head,” said Jane Scarborough, the executive director of the state’s Olde English District that promotes tourism in seven counties between Columbia and Charlotte.
Leaders have formed a South Carolina 2012 committee to promote the state and its $15 billion tourism industry, just as Charlotte formed a Charlotte 2012 committee to help organize the convention.
The DNC has booked some rooms in York County and re-enactors from nearby Historic Brattonsville and Catawba Indians in full regalia will visit those hotels during breakfast on opening day of the convention on Monday, Sept. 3.
While none of the state delegations will be staying in South Carolina, media and others are expected to stay in there, Scarborough said.
The Saturday before the convention, the Experience South Carolina Festival with local performers, artists and cuisine is being held in downtown Rock Hill.
Marion Edmonds, a spokesman for the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism says journalists have already done stories on nearby Andrew Jackson State Park. The park, located outside Lancaster, S.C., focuses on the boyhood of Jackson, considered the first leader of the modern Democratic Party.
The Friday after the convention, motorists will be treated to free peaches and information about South Carolina at the state’s Interstate 77 welcome center.
Edmonds said officials are working to make sure the real story of South Carolina is told.
“It’s important that the folks who are going to be coming in contact with the media have the right answer so you don’t have somebody making up an answer they heard from their grandmother 40 years ago,” he said.
Two of those real stories are that South Carolina – or perhaps California – is the real peach state, not Georgia. The other is that Jackson was born in South Carolina, not, as some argue, North Carolina, Scarborough said.
South Carolina is second to California in growing peaches “although Georgia does a better job of marketing,” she said. And she said there’s a letter in Jackson’s hand in the state archives confirming he was born in South Carolina.
While South Carolina works to promote the state, it was not able to get a state tourism brochure included in the packets to be given to convention delegates.
“Charlotte has been very good at working with us,” Scarborough said. “But you can’t blame them for that.”