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      Irmo strutting for Okra

      It's setup time for the historic Irmo Okra Strut. Chairman Kirk Luther is expecting a good time.

      "Plenty of Okra, lots of fun, thousands of people, just a great, great time."

      Earlier Thursday afternoon, the parking lot was filled with cars, and workers were working on the big concert stage, but by Friday afternoon, this place will be filled with thousands of people celebrating the big Irmo Okra Strut.

      Luther says, "35 years we've been doing this... (it) has turned into a festival with 65-70,000 people and a day and a half festival."

      Keeping all those people in line falls on Irmo Police Chief Brian Buck, who is planning for another safe year.

      "Thankfully, we've been very fortunate in the past. We've not had any major problems at the Okra Strut, and we look forward to having another successful year this year."

      And the weather shouldn't hold back the festivities even if a little bit of the wet stuff starts falling...

      Luther says, "You get wet. Simple. These blow in and blow out. We play hurricane dodgeball occasionally, but we're not worried. We think we're going to be just fine.... We are the original tribute to okra in the nation."

      A celebration of the green stuff still going strong after three decades.

      Because of the festival, there are a couple of road closings in Irmo. Both of these roads will close on Friday, September 26 at 11:00 AM and re-open Saturday, September 27 at 6:00 PM. These roads include St. Andrews Road from Thames Valley Road to the first entrance of Shoppers Walk and Thames Valley Road. All vehicles in the shopping center along Thames Valley Road must be out of the front parking lot by 2:00 PM on Friday, September 26.

      Also, you are able to park at Union United Methodist Church, Irmo High School, Crossroads Middle School, and Irmo Elementary School if you're headed to the festival. There will be shuttle buses from these locations except from Union United Methodist Church, which is directly across from the festival.

      The map of the festivites and a link to the Irmo Okra Strut web page is below.