Less Traveled 2010

Tracy Pou

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Small Town Spotlight: Aiken, SC

Posted 5/1/2010 1:35:00 PM

Situated in the heart of South Carolina’s Thoroughbred Country, the quaint city of Aiken has a little something for everyone. Founded in 1835, Aiken was named after William Aiken, a wealthy cotton merchant and railroad founder. Today Aiken is home to many interesting places and attractions like Hitchcock Woods. The 2,100-acre longleaf pine forest is one of the largest urban forest in the nation. Each year, Hitchcock Woods hosts the Aiken Horse Show -- considered by many to be the area’s premiere equestrian sporting event. Hitchcock Woods is open to the public for horseback riding, hiking, walking and running.

Speaking of running, Aiken holds a very unusual race each year. On the first Friday in May, usually a day before the Kentucky Derby, hundreds of people head to downtown Aiken to see lobsters claw their way to the finish line. That’s right, lobsters! The Aiken Lobster Race began in 1984 as a spoof on the Kentucky Derby and as a way to pay tribute to the area’s horse industry. This year’s Lobster Race will be held on May 7 at the Newberry Street Festival Center in Aiken. For more information call, (803) 215-2003 or go to www.lobsterrace.com.

Aiken is celebrating its 175th birthday all year long. To check out a list of activities, visit www.celebrateaiken.com.