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Wedding & Event Venue Near Aiken, SC.

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Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Aiken, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Aiken, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Aiken native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Aiken, SC

Weddings

 Event Venue Aiken, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Aiken, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Aiken, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Aiken, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Aiken, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Aiken, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Aiken, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Aiken's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Aiken.

 Wedding Venue Aiken, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Aiken?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Aiken, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Aiken, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Aiken, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Aiken, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.

Decor

When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Aiken, SC
Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Aiken, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.

Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Aiken, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Aiken, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Aiken, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Aiken, SC

Latest News in Aiken, SC

All South Carolina residents can vote early; here’s what you need to know in Aiken County

The June 14 primary will be the second time all South Carolina voters can cast their ballots early.S.C. Gov. Henry Master signed a bill into law in May that created a two-week period of in person early voting beginning at 8:30 a.m. May 31 and ending at 5 p.m. on June 10.Except for the 2020 general election, South Carolina voters that wanted to cast ballots early needed to have a reason to do so.In Aiken County, in person early voting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Ronnie Young Aiken...

The June 14 primary will be the second time all South Carolina voters can cast their ballots early.

S.C. Gov. Henry Master signed a bill into law in May that created a two-week period of in person early voting beginning at 8:30 a.m. May 31 and ending at 5 p.m. on June 10.

Except for the 2020 general election, South Carolina voters that wanted to cast ballots early needed to have a reason to do so.

In Aiken County, in person early voting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Ronnie Young Aiken County Government Center located at 1930 University Parkway in Aiken.

Absentee voting by mail is still allowed for qualified voters including people who have disabilities or who are attending people with disabilities, who are 65 or older, who are members of the military or married to someone who is in the military, who are in the hospital, who aren’t going to be in their county of residence on June 14, who have employment obligations, or who are in a jail awaiting a trial.

People who want to vote absentee are required to apply by phone, mail or at the county voter registration office.

The phone number of the Aiken County Voter Registration and Elections office is 803-642-2028. The mailing address is P.O. Box 3127, Aiken, SC 29802.

After receiving their application, people are asked to return it to the voter registration office by mail or in person by June 3. Once people receive their ballot, they’re asked to return it to the election office by 7 p.m. on June 14. Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery.

Absentee voters are still required to have the ballot signed by a witness and to have a photo identification if they return their ballot in person.

People will need to bring a photo ID to vote early or if they vote on election day. Acceptable forms of photo ID are a driver’s license or DMV ID card, a military ID, voter registration card with photo or a passport.

South Carolina uses an open-primary system, meaning that a registered voter can vote in whatever primary he wishes to vote in regardless of what party he’s registered to. As such, voters will need to choose which primary, Republican or Democratic, to vote in.

S.C. House and Senate to iron out plutonium settlement spending plan differences this week

There is a $78 million difference between how much Aiken County would receive in the plans of the South Carolina Senate and South Carolina House of Representatives for allocating the state’s plutonium settlement money.Both chambers of the South Carolina General Assembly incorporated plans to spend the remaining $525 million of the money the federal government agreed to pay after failing to build the Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site or remove the plutonium stored at the site that was to be used in ...

There is a $78 million difference between how much Aiken County would receive in the plans of the South Carolina Senate and South Carolina House of Representatives for allocating the state’s plutonium settlement money.

Both chambers of the South Carolina General Assembly incorporated plans to spend the remaining $525 million of the money the federal government agreed to pay after failing to build the Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site or remove the plutonium stored at the site that was to be used in the facility.

Because the budgets and the plans are different, a conference committee of three senators, Senate President Thomas Alexander, Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler, and three representatives, House Speaker Murrell Smith, House Majority Leader Gary Simrill and Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday to work on creating a compromise between the two versions.

The Senate budget would provide $206.75 million to 20 projects in Aiken County, or 39.4% of the $525 million. The House budget would provide nearly $128.58 million, 24.5% of the total, to 13 projects in Aiken County.

S.C. Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, said ideally the conference committee would decide to use the Senate spending plan. He added that if the committee didn’t use the Senate plan, he would like it to be as close to that plan as possible.

Nine projects are funded in the Senate budget but not the House budget including an Aiken County Law Enforcement Center ($20 million), a nursing school building at Aiken Technical College ($11.5 million) and upgrades at the Horse Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant ($10 million).

S.C. Rep. Melissa Oremus, R-Graniteville, said she had called a lot of people over the nursing school building. She said it was badly needed to address a shortage of nurses and to offer students an option other than USC Aiken.

S.C. Rep. Bart Blackwell, R-Aiken, said all the projects listed in each budget were important but added the nursing school had attracted a lot of community attention along the potential law enforcement center.

Two projects are funded in the House budget but not the Senate budget: improvements to Aiken’s Generations Park ($1.2 million) and facility renovations at the Aiken Railroad Museum ($900,000).

Three projects are funded in both budgets but at different amounts.

The House budget calls for nearly $22.98 million to go to Aiken County Public School District to help build a new career and technology center at Aiken Technical College. The Senate budget allocates $30 million.

The new career and technology center is also one of the projects included in the Aiken County Public School District’s penny sales tax and so funding will also be provided through the sales tax.

Aiken County Public School District Superintendent King Laurence said at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce First Friday event in April that he and Aiken Tech President Dr. Forest Mahan had been talking about the potential for a new career and technical center on the Aiken Tech campus for a long time.

“We’re excited to see it getting closer and closer,” he said.

The House budget provides $20 million to the Aiken for downtown and Northside redevelopment compared to $25 million in the Senate plan.

The House budget calls for the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam project to receive $15 million compared to $20 million in the Senate version.

South Carolina, Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers remain locked in a court battle over the dam project. In essence, South Carolina and Georgia are arguing for the dam and the Corps is arguing that it isn’t necessary.

Eight projects are funded at the same levels in both budgets:

• Offsite infrastructure for the Savannah River National Laboratory ($20 million);

• A cyber command building in North Augusta ($15 million);

• National Guard Dreamport at USC Aiken ($10 million);

• An industrial park project in eastern Aiken County ($10 million);

• An Aiken Rural Health Services building ($6 million);

• A water line along S.C. Highway 39 with elevated water tanks ($4 million); and

• A regional solid waste transfer station in North Augusta ($2 million).

Fort Gordon in nearby Augusta became the site of the Army Cyber Command two years ago and has added 9,000 people over the past eight years according to Tom Clark, executive director of the Alliance for Fort Gordon.

North Augusta Administrator Jim Clifford said at the quarterly luncheon of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce in May that the city is working to attract businesses to compliment the new cyber command.

“We’re trying to advocate for cyber and cyber businesses to be here in North Augusta. Georgia really got out of the gate quickly with the Georgia Cyber Center,” Clifford said. “I think there’s still opportunities out there to be had, and if those opportunities are there, I want them to be here and not in Columbia County or Richmond County, I want them to be here in the city of North Augusta.”

The Dreamport is also connected to the cyber center.

Maj. Gen. Brad Owens said in January that the center will be a portal into the state’s cyber enterprise. In an earlier interview with the Aiken Standard, he said the Dreamport could make Aiken and Augusta a cyber hotbed.

“You’re bringing world-class talent together in a collaborative way that nobody else can compete with,” the general said in October 2021. “It’s all going to converge right here.”

S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, told the Post and Courier North Augusta earlier this year that he applauded the inclusion of the industrial park in the spending plans.

“Eastern Aiken County needs that sort of development to create jobs in that part,” he said. “This is the opportunity to fund that.”

In both the Senate and House budgets, Barnwell County receives $110 million.

The Senate budget allocates all $110 million for the construction of a consolidated Williston and Blackville High School and a career and technology center at the site.

The House budget allocates $105 million to that project but leaves $5 million for multipurpose buildings for the county, Blackville and Williston.

The Senate budget sends $24.5 million to Allendale County while the House budget sends $19.5 million.

Both plans allocate $15 million for capital improvements at Allendale High School. They also fund a community center but at different amounts. In the Senate budget, the center receives $2 million. In the House budget it receives $4.5 million.

The Senate budget includes $5 million for industrial site development and $2.5 million for law enforcement center upgrades. The House budget does not fund these projects.

With the exception of Edgefield County, the Senate budget is also kinder to the counties that are not directly impacted by the site but are adjacent to it.

Edgefield County

The House budget calls for five Edgefield County projects to receive a combined $31.8 million: a law enforcement center ($18 million), an advanced manufacturing center at Piedmont Technical College ($10 million), workforce improvement and training at Edgefield County Schools ($1.6 million), renovation and construction at Bettis Academy ($1.2 million) and an athletic complex at Fox Creek High School ($1 million).

S.C. Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, who represents part of Edgefield County, said it was the county of residence for the second-largest number of Savannah River Site employees. He said he had received a letter from the county government advocating for the law enforcement center so that was what he advocated for.

The Senate budget funds three of the five projects at lower amounts. The law enforcement center receives $8.6 million instead of $18 million, Edgefield County Schools receives $500,000 instead of $1.6 million for workforce development and training, and the Fox Creek athletic complex receives $500,000 instead of $1 million.

Hixon said the citizens of Edgefield County were concerned about the law enforcement center in Edgefield County because it was very outdated.

“We were trying to get most of it paid for,” Hixon said. “If the county can’t get the $18 million, the county’s going to have to bond it to finance it and so our taxes could possibly go up and no one likes that.”

The Senate budget also funds one project at a higher amount. The advanced manufacturing center at Piedmont Technical College receives $12 million instead of $10 million.

“I did not advocate for the funding for Piedmont Tech because the people from Piedmont Tech never contacted me,” Hixon said. “I was a little amazed with that $12 million that was in there.”

The Senate budget does not fund one project included in the House budget: the Bettis Academy improvements.

Bamberg County

Bamberg County is the only other county to receive money in the House budget. The House budget allocates $5 million for a school facilities bond reduction. The Senate budget doesn’t include the bond reduction but does allocate $4 million for a spec building and $2.3 million for airport improvements.

Other counties

The Senate budget funds approximately $19.6 million for projects in Colleton, Hampton, Lexington, Orangeburg and Saluda counties. The House version does not include these projects.

Both the House and Senate budgets allocate money to areas neither directly or indirectly impacted by the Savannah River Site.

Taylor said including the other counties of the state was a political necessity.

The House budget allocates $223.1 million to an intermodal facility and infrastructure at the Charleston Navy Base.

Taylor said he didn’t think the other parts of the state should receive this much from the settlement.

The Senate budget sends $131.3 million to the county transportation committees of the 43 counties not directly impacted by the site for road projects to be proposed and approved.

Taylor called the Senate plan more reasonable.

Oremus also said she understood that some money had to go to other parts of the state and that the delegation has worked hard to make sure Aiken County gets its fair share of the settlement funds.

Once the conference committee creates the compromise version of the state budget, both chambers will be called back to approve the plan.

Both chambers are set to return on June 15.

From there, it will go to Gov. Henry McMaster for a signature or a veto.

McMaster typically signs the budget but uses a line-item veto to remove specific projects from it. The House and Senate then meet again and usually override those vetoes.

Staff, adults intervene in fight after Aiken County school dance

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Horse Creek Academy called it unfortunate that a school dance ended on a sour note when a fight erupted outside after the festivities.A 14-year-old girl and her mom were taken to a hospital to be checked out as a result of the incident, according to deputies.The fight broke out around 8:40 p.m. Friday in the pickup area outside the middle school year-end formal.Even though the school had five staff members monitoring the pickup area, two female middle school students got into an argument that es...

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Horse Creek Academy called it unfortunate that a school dance ended on a sour note when a fight erupted outside after the festivities.

A 14-year-old girl and her mom were taken to a hospital to be checked out as a result of the incident, according to deputies.

The fight broke out around 8:40 p.m. Friday in the pickup area outside the middle school year-end formal.

Even though the school had five staff members monitoring the pickup area, two female middle school students got into an argument that escalated into a physical confrontation, the school said.

Staff members intervened to try to keep the girls from hurting each other, according to the school.

Then three family members jumped out of a vehicle and got involved, Taylor said.

“That’s really where the problem is,” Taylor said.

“We’re educators. We understand that things happen between the students from time to time,” she said.

But for adults to get involved, “this was a first for me in 22 years,” Taylor said.

The adults tell a different story in an incident report from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office. In fact, they showed up at the lobby of the agency’s headquarters to report the incident.

One of the girls’ mothers said her daughter “got jumped on from behind and was getting punched in the head” and none of the school employees on the sidewalk were dong anything about it.

She said she and another family member tried to pull the girls apart, and got that accomplished with the help of the school staff.

The mother said she got hit in the face during the scuffle but that she was OK.

She and her daughter went with emergency medical crews to a hospital to be checked out.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office stated in the incident report that deputies didn’t see any marks on the parties involved.

An investigation determined the two girls got into a scuffle, but deputies were unable to pinpoint who started it.

Despite the fight after the festivities, Taylor said the students “were wonderfully behaved” during the middle school dance as well as a dance for high school students on Saturday.

“It is so unfortunate that a wonderful evening for our Middle School Village had to end this way,” the school said in a statement. “Please know that the authorities are now handling the situation with the utmost seriousness.”

Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

Taste of the Town: Taj Aiken takes eaters on a culinary adventure of Indian cuisine

With an array of Indian dishes that range from the velvety butter chicken of Delhi to the merciless vindaloo of Goa, Taj Aiken is a taste-buds adventure.To prep the palate for fireworks to come, fork into samosa chat. Warm dumplings cut into bite-size hunks support a hodge-podge of chickpeas, yogurt, tomato and onion sparkling with herbs and spices. Ingredient temperatures are both cool and hot; flavors are spicy and sweet. It is a dazzling way to start the meal.Another good kickoff is a dish from Chennai called gobi 65. (Gobi ...

With an array of Indian dishes that range from the velvety butter chicken of Delhi to the merciless vindaloo of Goa, Taj Aiken is a taste-buds adventure.

To prep the palate for fireworks to come, fork into samosa chat. Warm dumplings cut into bite-size hunks support a hodge-podge of chickpeas, yogurt, tomato and onion sparkling with herbs and spices. Ingredient temperatures are both cool and hot; flavors are spicy and sweet. It is a dazzling way to start the meal.

Another good kickoff is a dish from Chennai called gobi 65. (Gobi is cauliflower.) Nobody knows how gobi 65 or chicken 65 got its numerals or exactly what they mean. Could it be the number of ingredients? Was it first popularized in 1965? Maybe it was item #65 on a menu. However it got named, the 65 formula of encasing food bites in crisp-fried crust that hums with pepper, ginger, cumin and curry spices is a joy to crunch and to savor.

Contrary to Indian food’s reputation, not everything is blazing hot. Some Taj Aiken dishes are gently spiced; many can be ordered medium-hot or mild. Pyromaniacs have theirs “Indian spicy.” I tried that once. It rendered me speechless, gasping for air.

If you do like hot food, consider vindaloo. Available with only vegetables or with chicken, shrimp or lamb, it is a tangy, vinegar-tinged tsunami of bright red tomato sauce energized by garlic and spice. Its soft pieces of potato are a welcome analgesic for a scorched tongue.

Mango lassi, a fruit-sweet beverage of imported Indian mango pulp, house-made yogurt and cardamom, also is a helpful coolant.

Many of Taj Aiken’s curries are mellow enough to qualify as subcontinental comfort food. Few are more soothing than butter chicken. Tender, boneless nuggets from the tandoori oven are submerged in creamy tomato sauce that is onion-sweet and butter-rich. It does have a hint of chili flavor, but only enough to remind you just how mild it actually is.

Rounds of naan – flatbread baked in the tandoori oven – nearly are weightless, on the line between crisp and chewy. Glistening with ghee (clarified butter) and speckled with garlic or stuffed with nuts or cheese, naan is a pleasure to munch. It is especially welcome because so many Indian dishes are about their sauce. Naan is ideal for dipping and mopping.

In dozens of visits since its days off the lobby of the old Hotel Aiken, I have found Taj Aiken to be wondrously unpredictable. “Medium spicy” sometimes is quite peppery, other times barely so. One day samosa chat is a contrast of dramatically hot and cold ingredients; a week later, the temperature range is tepid to barely cool. Will it tilt towards sweet or piquant? In pictures I’ve taken of it over the years, samosa chat looks different every time.

I am not complaining, not in the least. No matter how it varies, samosa chat’s flavor palette is the same, and it always is delicious. As I said, eating at Taj Aiken is an adventure.

Note: The menu abounds with dishes for vegetarians and the gluten-intolerant.

Taj Aiken: 213 Richland Ave. W., Aiken, S.C. 803-845-9245. https://tajaiken.com/

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Fireworks shows, Memorial Day events happening here

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Memorial Day is May 30, a Monday, but there are plenty of ceremonies happening this weekend where families can get together to honor the lives lost in our military.The Aiken Memorial Day Parade will be held Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. There is no fee to be in the parade, but you do have to register online for entry. All entrants will receive an email the week of the parade with lineup information if they are...

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Memorial Day is May 30, a Monday, but there are plenty of ceremonies happening this weekend where families can get together to honor the lives lost in our military.

The Aiken Memorial Day Parade will be held Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. There is no fee to be in the parade, but you do have to register online for entry. All entrants will receive an email the week of the parade with lineup information if they are participating in the parade.

Otherwise, you can sit along Laurens Street and Park Avenue to watch!

Also in Aiken, American Legion Post 153 will be hosting a Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony at the Horse Creek Valley Veterans Memorial Park at 10 a.m.

Starting at 1 p.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10601 will be hosting a Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony. Aiken County Veterans Council Chairman Lowell Koppert is expected to be the guest speaker.

On May 30, there are multiple events starting at 11 a.m. in Aiken:

Marine Corps League Detachment 939 will be hosting a Memorial Day Remembrance at the Aiken County Veterans Memorial Park. There will be a re-dedication of the Aiken Vietnam War Memorial monument directly after the ceremony, as well as a second special ceremony to re-dedicate the Vietnam War Memorial monument that was moved from downtown in the City of Aiken.

At 1:30 p.m., Denizens of the Deep will conduct their “Tolling of the Boats” Ceremony followed by a ceremony. The location is at VFW Post 5877, 116 Midway Circle in Aiken.

Then in North Augusta, American Legion Post 71 will be hosting a Memorial Day Remembrance at the Wade Hampton Veterans Park.

And in Edgefield, the county’s Memorial Day Program will be held on May 30 at 10 a.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Park, directly across for the Edgefield National Guard Armory.

The program will have a special reading of the names of the fallen heroes in Edgefield and will e represented by crosses and American flags throughout the park.

The Charlie Norwood VA in Augusta will hold a Memorial Day Ride 2 Remember and wreath-laying ceremony on May 29.

The first ride stop will be at the downtown campus (950 15th Street) at 12:15-12:45 p.m, and the second stop will be at the uptown campus (1 Freedom Way) at 12:45-1:45 p.m. The wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 1:15 p.m. at the Uptown main entrance flagpole.

The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) of Augusta will observe Memorial Day on Monday starting at 11 a.m. at the All Wars Monument on 4th and Broad Streets.

But if you’ve got time to make it out to a Greenjackets game, SRP Park will light up the sky on Saturday night games and during Sunday holidays. Here’s the schedule:

The Saturday dates are June 4, June 18, July 2, July 30, and Augusta 20.

The holiday Sunday dates are May 29, July 3, and September 4.

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