Irmo South Carolina is a town in Lexington and Richland counties in the U.S. state of South Carolina and a suburb of Columbia. It is 12 miles outside of the city center of Columbia and is part of the Columbia metropolitan area. It is also part of the geographical area called the midlands.
Irmo is home to the annual Okra Strut. The Okra Strut is a festival and parade held every year in the town of Irmo. The festival was spawned in 1973 when the Lake Murray-Irmo Women's Club were trying to find a way to raise money for a new Irmo Public Library. Gene McKay, a news anchor and radio personality for WIS, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, came up with the idea to have a festival based on Okra. The Okra Strut was born. It started out as modest arts and crafts sale held in Seven Oaks Park, during which the women also sold Okra. By 1978, it had grown into a full-fledged festival with rides, food, and dancing, and even pets/farm animals. By 1980, proceeds from the Okra Strut had gained enough money to pay for the Irmo Town Library. The Okra Strut remains a popular festival throughout the State of South Carolina. Attendance for the 2005 festival was said to be approximately 45,000.
Irmo was chartered on Christmas Eve in 1890 in response to the opening of the Columbia, Newberry and Laurens Railroad. The name of Irmo was the result of combining the names of Captain C.J. Iredell and Henry Moseley, two important figures in the founding of the town. Despite the town's growth, Irmo does not have an actual downtown area. Rather, it includes only several clusters of suburban neighborhoods.
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