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Tour groups eye Kershaw County

Posted: March 3, 2011 5:28 p.m.
Updated: March 4, 2011 5:00 a.m.

A tour full of tour guides visited the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden last week with interest in making historically significant Kershaw County a stop on various organized trips.

Representatives from all of Kershaw County’s tourism heavy-hitters -- the Carolina Motorsports Park, Historic Camden, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, S.C. Equine Promotion Foundation and Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce -- joined Camden Mayor Jeffrey Graham and Kershaw County Council Chairman Gene Wise at the museum to brief the visitors on some of the historical and recreational opportunities the county has to offer.

Graham welcomed them, saying Camden is a special place filled with history and charm, and gave a brief update on some of the projects underway in the downtown area, such as the Town Green.

“And I did drive here … I’m not 12 years old,” joked Graham, before letting the audience know he’s the youngest serving mayor in the state.

Wade Luther, Camden’s economic development director, provided an example of the downtown jockey silks -- a flag-themed silk by Claude Buckley -- and advertised the hospitality of local bed and breakfast inns for visitors looking for overnight stays.

Approximately 15 tour guides came from various states, including New York, Ohio and Illinois, to learn more about the area. Most of them lead tour groups all over the country, some worldwide.

“Some of them had already given tours through South Carolina,” said Teri Teed, assistant director of the Carolina Cup Racing Association, “but they hadn’t been to Camden, so the meeting really served its purpose. It was very well-received.”

Teed said she was pleased with the response from the visitors and that the pitch seemed to work.

“They actually had time to take a short little tour after the luncheon, and many of them just loved the area,” said Teed.

Several freelance travel writers were also on hand for the afternoon. Teed expressed optimism their attendance would lead to more publicity for Kershaw County, the horse industry and the history of the area.

Now, said Teed, the association will send out thank you notes, stay in contact, and hopefully the guides will decide to incorporate us as a tour stop.

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