About the Olympia Festival:
To borrow a cliché, the Olympia Community Festival had a humble beginning.
In 2006, ministers and church members from four of the major churches in and around the Olympia community decided to put in to action an idea to rekindle interest in what once was a thriving and close-knit mill village. Their idea was to invite back to the community its beloved “alumni” for a day-long festival featuring music, food, vendors and tours of the historic village. Planners believed the festival also would show that the Olympia neighborhood, today a diverse and distinctive community, still has passion and energy.
Initially, a handful of dedicated organizers begin to pull together a plan for the festival. As word spread of the festival birth, other Olympia residents, former residents and friends of the historic community volunteered their time. Organizers picked an April weekend in 2007 for the debut and chose the common area in front of the beautiful Olympia Mill building for the festival site. There, the iconic World War I Doughboy – the bronze statue at OlympiaAvenue and Whaley Street which was erected to honor Olympia’s military heroes from that war – would watch over the activities.
A unique and major event of the first festival was to be a 30-minute bus tour of the almost mile-deep Olympia rock quarry. Vulcan Stone, quarry owners and a generous sponsor to the festival from the beginning, made the tour a reality and it has become a popular attraction for festival attendees each year.
From the humbled beginnings in 2007, the festival has grown each year in attendance and scope, featuring some of the best local bands and artists. And while the festival will always welcome home those who grew up in the area and love the Olympia community, the organizers want the festival to claim its spot as one of Columbia’s most popular spring-time events.