Salley see another successful Chitlin Strut with hundreds of visitors
The cold and cloudy weather Saturday did not stop hundreds of people from flocking to downtown Salley to party and eat for the 53rd annual Chitlin Strut.
The small town was packed Saturday with people, young and old, tailgating and enjoying every minute of the long-running festival, which features the unique Southern dish called chitterlings, also known as chitlins.
Chitlin’s, which are made by boiling or frying the small intestines of a pig, were served to attendees for $10 a plate, but many people chose to pass, instead opting for an array of other Southern dishes.
James McFadden, of Sumter, enjoyed a plate of chicken gizzards instead.
“I’ve been coming here for over 25 years,” McFadden said. “I come for the people. It’s truly a time and place for us all to get together.”
Like McFadden, many attendees shared similar reasons for returning year after year to the festival, even if it was a long drive for some.
“This will be my fifth year,” said Shaneeda Cross, of New York. “I have a cousin who lives down here in Aiken and she was always telling me about this Chitlin Strut thing. Finally, I decided to come down and see what all the fuss was about. Now, here I am five years later still coming. I look forward to it every year.”
When asked what makes the event so special, the majority of the crowd said the same things – “food, fun, family, friends and atmosphere.”
David Willingham and DJ, also known as Georgia Girl, both from Augusta, hosted hundreds of friends and family at their festival tailgate spot in downtown Salley, which they have held for 10 years.
“We just come out, welcome anyone who wants to drop by and we have a good time,” Willingham said. “This really is just all about togetherness.”
Whitney, Jane and Sharon Smith could be seen eating and dancing at their spot Saturday.
“I’ve been coming for over 40 years,” Sharon Smith said. “It’s beautiful here. The atmosphere is wonderful and there is no violence – just people having fun. You can’t ask for better than that.”
Sheila Toole, of Aiken, has been attending the event for five years now and she likes hanging out all day with her friends and family, as well as meeting new people.
The event also featured a parade, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, carnival rides, entertainment, a souvenir shop, a hog calling contest, strut dance contest and a beauty pageant.