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The heart of summer was beating strong in Kershaw this past weekend for the first ever Heart of Summer festival.
It brought people out to enjoy a range of activities, beginning with the Heart of Summer Sweetheart contest Friday night. Sunni Kennington was crowned Heart of Summer Sweetheart in the Teen Miss category.
The weather was beautiful Saturday morning as more than 250 motorcycles rode into town from as far away as Augusta, Ga.
Festivalgoers enjoyed music broadcast by disc jockey Jay Taylor of Interstate 107 WRHM in Rock Hill.
A 9-year-old Carolina Panther fan squealed with joy when presented with the grand drawing prize – two tickets to the NFL game between the Panthers and the Washington Redskins.
NASCAR legend Bobby Allison was on hand to pose for over 150 photographs and sign more than 500 signatures in the Jackson-Hewitt office.
Many also got the chance to see what they looked like to be behind the wheel of his 1983 replica car.
There was plenty of festival food for visitors to enjoy Saturday.
Caters' Taters had their signature potatoes, JimCo offered funnel cakes and fried Oreos, Brenda Kay offered a large menu, the Kershaw Fire Department served burgers and dogs and Jones Brothers served ice cream.
Children enjoyed games and prizes, and some bigger children and some of their parents enjoyed Miller Fun Rental's 15-foot slide and space walks.
A number of businesses and organizations were on hand.
Founders Federal Credit Union handed out information and door prizes. Carolina Hyundai showcased a 2009 model next to the S.C. Highway Patrol's "drunk cart."
The Patrol gave out junior trooper badges and bicycle safety information.
The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office showed off its canine unit.
"I had a wonderful time," said Sheila Hinson, an agent with Exit-Sandlapper Realty, which had a booth at the event.
Dr. James Koon and KCMC supplied stress relieving balls after giving people blood-pressure checks, and Family Promise of Lancaster County promoted their golf outing.
"I made more contacts than I ever dreamed I would," said Mary Atkinson of Family Promise.
Local artisans bragged that they are already looking forward to next year and will be inviting others to join them.
Dino Sims drew a large crowd when he and his group began singing gospel music. Glory Riders and Bikers for Christ offered Christian metalworking near where Sims sold his CDs.
State Rep. Jimmy Neal, D-Kershaw, and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, shook hands with constituents and presented the Sweetheart winner with her court.
They also presented a leather jacket to the overall winner of the dice walk, Mica Jones.
Ali's Angels sponsored a beautiful baby contest. The judges had a hard time choosing a winner from more than 20 entrants.
Cre8tive Sound provided music for a street dance, but had to shut down early due to an electrical failure.
A few items are still available from the silent auction at Virginia's Dream.
The 2004 Monte Carlo SS Intimidator, a last-minute entry in the auction, is available at M&M Bumper to Bumper Service Center.
Many winners of WRHM's movie passes were not present for the drawing. Those tickets are available to be picked up at Virginia's Dream.
Photos from the Heart of Summer pageant will be available at www.uniqueportraitdesigns.com.
Ann Marie Dwyer of Virginia's Dream was one of the main organizers of the Heart of Summer festival, which she hopes will become an annual event in Kershaw.