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WECO “Love Local” Business Spotlight – Tube the Congaree River, Kinetic Derby Day, Art on State and Rhythm on the River as West Columbia spring approaches

The City of West Columbia has partnered with WestMetroNews and the Greater CWC Chamber of Commerce to highlight areas of the community that promote business and visitor/tourism opportunities.

Mayo and Miles

River tubing is the top attraction in West Columbia in the warm weather months. Michael Mayo is the owner of Palmetto Outdoor and he directed an enormous number of tubing trips down the river in 2023.

“July and August of last year were record-braking months,” Mayo told West Columbia City Council at the council meeting on Tuesday. “We had a tremendous 2023.”

At that meeting West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles described Mayo as “the best ambassador for West Columbia.”  

Cayce-West Columbia Chamber President and CEO Tim James agrees with Miles. 

The Cayce-West Columbia Chamber and Visitor Programs Board of Directors strongly recognize that tourism promotes business, and Michael Mayo is definitely an Ambassador for that notion,” James said. “The tourism initiatives of Palmetto Outdoor and Michael Mayo have a proven and longstanding success in encouraging visitors to travel here, where they eat, play, stay, shop and enjoy our community. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Mayo is just as fond of West Columbia and the Chamber. He said the City of West Columbia, by providing access to the river and lots of parking, has made the recreational use of the river much more practical. He said the support of James and chamber businesses has been an important part of the success of Palmetto Outdoor.  

Mayo also said that 62 percent of the river visitors came from more than 50 miles away.
“They come from all over the nation to experience the white water and Spanish moss on the Congaree River,” he said. “We track visitors by ZIP Code. Ten percent of our business comes from Florida and we have tubers coming from Boston, New York, Washington DC, and Virginia, as well as Charlotte, Charleston, Atlanta, and Augusta.”

Those visitors are a boon to the tourism economy and drive business to local hotels and restaurants, said Mayo. “It puts heads in beds when they come from far away.” he said. “And they eat at our  restaurants.”

The DoubleTree Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Towneplace Suites, the Hampton Inn, and Residence Inn are West Columbia hotels that river visitors frequent. 

Mayo said Palmetto Outdoor also draws a high volume of visitors in the winter for canoe trips in the Congaree National Park swamp. The tubing season will begin in April and steadily increase as the weather warms. 

Mayor Tem Miles promoting Riverwalk

There are more opportunities to get out and enjoy the West Columbia spring, including: Kinetic Derby Day; Art on State; the Rhythm on the River Spring Concert Series.

West Columbia’s Kinetic Derby Day featuring iMAGINE is scheduled for April 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It’s held on State and Meeting streets. West Columbia City Council recently approved a road closure map for Kinetic Derby Day.

The Kinetic Sculpture Parade leads the way, followed by soapbox and obstacle course racing. State Street transforms into the iMAGINE STEAM Festival, fostering creativity. The day includes competition and fun for all ages as teams construct unique vehicles and art installations. Register for building, racing, sponsoring, volunteering, or vending at www.kineticderbyday.com

The 8th Annual Art on State event is at 5:30 p.m. on Friday May 10. Presented on the 100 and 200 blocks of State Street by the City of West Columbia, it features a live music line up of three performing acts.
Also: artists will paint live murals in the street. Businesses on State Street will have specials for the event. Come enjoy the beautiful view of the city skyline, dine, stroll, and immerse yourself in art! (Bring the kids. There will be sidewalk chalk for them to express their creativity.)

The Rhythm on the River Spring Concert Series -Presented by the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber begins on May 18, at the West Columbia Riverwalk 109 Alexander Rd, West Columbia.
Going Commando will play on May 18 and there will be a food truck from Karen’s Kitchen and Catering.

Click for more Rhythm on the River 

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