Sumter’s eSTEAM Festival has been canceled for the second year in a row because of COVID-19.

The event usually draws thousands of students, teachers, parents and people from the community to South Main Street in downtown Sumter for a day of STEAM-based, hands-on activities, demonstrations, exhibits and vendors with a goal of introducing youth to and piquing their interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. It is in conjunction with the celebration of National Manufacturing Day, which is always the first Friday of October. eSTEAM has been held that Saturday in the past.

Erika Williams, manager of communications and strategic initiatives for Sumter Economic Development, confirmed the cancellation Friday.

eSTEAM held its inaugural event in 2018 and was poised to hold a bigger-than-ever day of festivities in 2020 before the pandemic shut it down. After a dip and leveling out of the virus locally and nationwide this spring with the introduction of vaccines, festival leaders announced its return for this October. However, those plans were squashed when cases, hospitalizations and deaths started to increase again, currently to levels not seen since last winter and summer.

Public health officials and infectious disease experts have been urging people to get vaccinated. Sumter County, the state’s 15th most-populous county in South Carolina, has the fourth-lowest rate of people completing vaccination. While it is true there are rare breakthrough cases of the virus – when a vaccinated person gets sick from the virus – the vast majority of people filling hospital beds locally, statewide and nationwide are unvaccinated, according to public health data.


Credit: The Sumter Item


Further event details are located at or facebook/eSTEAMsumter.