The Other Denmark

By Raj Patel, DaTashia Holman, Teonna Rice, Ta’Najya Holman, Amber Thomas, and Laila Donaldson

Ms Judy’s Sixth Grade Gifted & Talented Class at Denmark-Olar Middle School

Denmark, SC, United States

South Carolina has a lot of small towns that you have probably never heard of. For most of these towns their one claim to fame is their annual festivals. In Denmark, South Carolina we celebrate the Dogwood Festival every spring. The Dogwood Festival started in 1985.

Dogwood Trees

What is a dogwood, you say? The dogwood is a tree or shrub that grows every spring and yields hard timber. But in Denmark we celebrate this tree for its pink and white blossoms that bloom every April. The dogwood’s height can be anywhere from 15 to 20 feet when grown in the sun, but as high as 40 feet when grown in the shade.

The Cherokee believed that tiny people lived in the dogwood trees for the sole purpose to teach the Cherokee people how to live in peace. Denmark appreciates the beauty the trees bring to our town.


To celebrate the blossoming of the dogwood trees, during the first week of April, the town of Denmark has a festival. You always know when the festival is getting close when the spray painted images of dogwood blossoms pop up almost overnight on the town’s main street. It is a family-oriented event in downtown Denmark. Its two days include many events:

  • a prayer brunch
  • a parade
  • live entertainment
  • food
  • rides
  • games and contests

A Diabetes Awareness walk is held at Voorhees College because diabetes cases are said to be twice the national average in Bamberg County.

On Friday the Dogwood Festival starts and it continues on Saturday with a parade. The parade is followed by food booths, rides for children and entertainment at the city center.

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Stilt fisherman in Sri Lanka
stilt fisherman in Sri Lanka

Photo Credit: Robin Seabury



Math Resources
  1. In what year will the Dogwood Festival celebrate its 50th anniversary?
  2. What anniversary is the Dogwood Festival celebrating this year?
  3. Considering that 9.3 percent of the United States population has diabetes, about what percent of Bamberg County citizens have diabetes? If there are 15,500 residents of Bamberg County, how many individual cases of diabetes are there?
  4. Look up the average height of a dogwood tree. Using similar triangles or trigonometry, find a tree near you that’s a similar height.
  5. Look up the height of the tallest dogwood tree on record. If a building has several stories that are 11 feet tall, how many stories is the tallest dogwood tree?
  6. If the maximum diameter of a dogwood tree is 50 centimeters, does that seem like a very thick tree to you? Justify your answer. How does that compare to the diameter of a tree near you?
  7. A species of Asian dogwood has berries that can be much larger than the species native to the eastern US. If these berries are twice as large as the native ones, how much greater mass do they have? What if the berries are three times larger? Ten times? Identify the pattern that is developing.
Extension Questions

The species of dogwood tree native to the eastern US (Cornus florida) is susceptible to a fungus that can kill trees in damp, wet seasons. As a result, many people have turned to an imported dogwood species from Asia (Cornus kousa) that is hardier. The Kousa dogwood, however, has larger berries that are often difficult for birds to eat. Some people have called it an invasive species.

    1. Do research on these two species and decide which one you would choose to plant. Why did you make that choice?
    2. Look up the history of the kudzu plant. How have your feelings about the Kousa dogwood changed after reading about kudzu, if at all?
Explore Further
  1. How to identify a tree
  2. Website of the Museum of the Cherokee in South Carolina
  3. Website for Denmark’s county Chamber of Commerce
  4. Website for Voorhees College
  5. Information about dogwood trees
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