Grand Marshal Margaret Edwards; Scholarship Winner Aliyah Griffin
This coming weekend, the Johnston, SC, Peach Blossom Festival will showcase great entertainment, arts and crafts, food concessions, a parade, games for children, a cruise-in, and much more. The popular Festival is now in its 36th year.
The parade Grand Marshal this year is Margaret Dawes Edwards, who has spent most of her adult life making the Johnston and Edgefield County a better place to work and live.
Margaret was born and raised in the small South Carolina town of Loris. She enrolled at Winthrop College, received a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Math, English, and Spanish, and completed her degree in three and a half years. In 1943, at the age of 19, she became a teacher at North Augusta High School.
During this same year she met and became engaged to the love of her life, James M. Edwards, Jr., of Johnston. They were married on May 28, 1946, at the Loris Baptist Church. Upon arriving in Johnston, Margaret moved her church letter to Johnston First Baptist and began a lifetime of service, membership, activity, and reward in the church she has called home for 73 years.
In her teaching profession, Margaret became a part of the faculties of Ward and Trenton High Schools, as well as Johnston High School. When those schools closed, she became a member of Strom Thurmond High School in 1961 teaching math.
She continued her career and service to students there until her retirement in 1992. She considers teaching to be a profound profession of the very highest calling, affording one the unlimited opportunity to serve his or her fellowman. Reflecting upon her years as an educator, she takes tremendous pride in her former students, their many accomplishments, and maintains a lifetime of fond and grateful relationships and memories.
A reception will be held after the parade at the Chamber of Commerce office for Ms. Edwards. Former students, former colleagues, and friends are all invited to visit there.
Robert Herlong Scholarship
This year, the Robert H. Herlong Scholarship Award winner is Aliyah Griffin. Aliyah is a Senior at Strom Thurmond High School who plans to attend the University of South Carolina. She ranks in the top 10 percent of her class.
Aliyah, who will receive a $500 scholarship from the Johnston Development Corp., was selected because of her outstanding academic performance and her community service.
Some of her many community volunteer activities include her involvement in Special Olympics, Johnston Learning Center, Edgefield County Hospital, Edgefield County Toys for Tots, Edgefield County Christmas Parade, Relay for Life, and Bethlehem Baptist Church Black History Month Program and Easter Egg Hunt.
Also, she is President of the Girls Circle program at a local nonprofit, Edgefield County Youth Empowerment Center (ECYEC). The group educates young girls on how to positively deal with problems facing their community and their personal lives.
In addition she has participates in many school activities, including NJROTC Food Drive, Fine Arts Festival, tour and orientation volunteer for Freshmen, and FBLA’s Adopt a Family for Christmas and March of Dimes projects.
The Johnston Peach Blossom Festival Corporate Sponsors are Edgefield County Health Care, First Citizens Bank, IGA, J.W. Yonce and Sons, NAPA of Johnston/Edgefield, Dominion Energy, Northland Communications, Hospice Care of South Carolina, Bridgestone, Herlong Ford, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pendarvis Chevrolet, and U.S. Fibers.
This year’s Johnston Peach Blossom Festival Entertainment Sponsors are Dr. Hugh Morgan Family Practice and Titan Farms.
The Festival begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, when crafters and food vendors open. The parade is held at 10 a.m., and the free entertainment begins at 9:30 a.m., continuing until 4 p.m. A Cruise In will bring in many vehicles for participants to enjoy. The cars will be available for viewing after the parade through about 3 p.m. in the Johnston Municipal Parking Lot.
All events are held in downtown Johnston on Calhoun Street.
Last year, thousands of patrons descended on Johnston to enjoy the day set aside to honor the peach industry, which has been so important in the development of the area. Each year, the Town goes all out with the Festival to remind citizens about the peach industry and to open its arms to visitors.
The Johnston Development Corporation, a non-profit volunteer organization, sponsors the Festival. The Corporation works to aid the community in areas such as economic development, education, recreation, historic preservation, tourism, scientific and cultural opportunities, and continued promotion of Johnston.
To learn more about the Festival or the Johnston Development Corporation, visit the website at https://johnstondevelopmentcorp.org/.