Downtown Aiken will kick off Masters week with local artists and musical performers during its third annual Horses and Courses Art Walk on April 8.


In the past two years, the event has played host to a parade and street festival filled with decorated golf carts. The parade will not be held this year due to heavy traffic and a disruption of flow to local businesses, according to Kim Coleman, recreation superintendent with the City of Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.


On April 8 from 5 to 9 p.m., more than 40 artists will pack Laurens Street and adjacent roads, including local USC Aiken and children artists. Musicians playing bluegrass, jazz, classic rock, folk and soul music will take stage at the same time in different areas around downtown.


“We're partnering with the Aiken Downtown Development Association and Aiken Artist Guild this year,” Coleman said. “Local businesses are going to extend their hours and stay open later. We're hoping to create a good flow with all of the performers, and we will have prints, sculptures, paintings, jewelry and photography on sale for purchase.”


The mission of Horses and Courses is to promote and highlight the arts, equine and golf communities, as well as showcase the downtown area.


Residents and visitors will also be able to hang out and take pictures with USCA's Ace the Pacer mascot.


“We want to give Masters guests and residents something to do on a Tuesday night,” Coleman said. “If everyone will just pray for good weather because in the last two years, it hasn't been great.”


Horses and Courses is sponsored by the City of Aiken Arts Commission and Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, Aiken Artist Guild, Aiken Downtown Development Association and Carolina Outdoors Equipment.


For updates on times and event details, visit www.visitaikensc.com or call 803-642-7631.


Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.