Pick Your Festival

Pick Your Festival

There are several festivals going on this weekend around the Upstate—and they are so varied that there’s bound to be one for everyone! From beer to BBQ, cycling to high-end automobiles, pick your festival and go enjoy this fall weekend.

Walhalla Oktoberfest: From Friday to Sunday, Walhalla merchants and other local vendors will have crafts and food for sale for festival goers on Main Street, and on Sertoma Field, there will be music and rides as well as vendors.

EURO Auto Festival: If you’re into cars, head over to the Preserve at Verdae, where rare and familiar cars will be on display—and while you’re there, you can sample European food and culture and bring home some automotive-related souvenirs.

Gran Fondo Greenville Family Fun Festival: This weekend is the Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greenville, with both local and celebrity cyclists—but if you’re not riding, you can still join the fun with free food, drinks, music, and festivities at George Hincapie’s Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest. Bring the kids with their bikes for children’s bike races!

Hogs & Hens BBQ Festival: The Hogs & Hens festival has been bringing visitors to Abbeville since 2013—with craft vendors, a kids zone, all-day music line-up, a petting zoo, and, of course, some amazing BBQ.

Pacolet Indian Summer Festival: A car show, performances by local school choruses and groups, children’s rides, along with plenty of craft and food vendors.

The NESS Fest: If funnel cake and festival food are not your thing, check out the health and lifestyle festival at Fluor Field, featuring workout classes, cooking demonstrations, activities for kids, and much more—all to promote wellNESS, goodNESS, fitNESS and wholeNESS.

Middle Eastern Food Festival: The St. Rafka Maronite Church in Greer is going to be serving up delicious Middle Eastern dishes all day to benefit the church. If you’ve got a hankering for some falafel, baba ghanoush, or tabbouleh—or if you’ve never tasted those things and want to try them, this is the festival for you!

Hub City Brew Fest: A $35 ticket gets you samples of 75 beers and ciders (please drink responsibly!) as well as live music and activities. There will also be food trucks and vendors on site. The event is to raise money for a multi-use bike park in downtown Spartanburg—the Bike Park at the Rail Yard.

And one more, for good measure. This is happening next weekend, not this one, but when there is such a thing as a Bigfoot Festival, you need to know about it! For hardcore believers and sasquatch skeptics alike, this Bigfoot-themed festival in Westminster is not to be missed.

Ten at the Top to Hold Trail Connectivity Workshop in Oconee County

Ten at the Top to Hold Trail Connectivity Workshop in Oconee County

October 10, 2019 [Greenville, SC] — Ten at the Top (TATT) invites members of the Oconee County community to participate in a community workshop focused on “Make the Connection: Oconee County Trails and Greenways.” The workshop will be held on October 17th from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at Blue Ridge Electric (2328 Sandifer Blvd., Westminster).

The workshop is one of 10 county workshops TATT is holding across the Upstate in 2019 as part of the 10th anniversary year for the organization.

“We’re very excited about the response we’ve had to the ten county workshops so far,” said Ten at the Top executive director Dean Hybl.

“Oconee County has so much natural beauty, and trails are one way to experience that,” Hybl continued. “But beyond the outdoor experience for trail users, trails have a very real economic impact, as is evident from the growth surrounding the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville County.”

The purpose of the workshop is for community members and business and elected leaders to explore what the possibilities are for connecting existing trails in the county and to understand the benefits to the community that such a trail system would bring.

Speakers Ty Houck, Director of Greenways, Natural and Historic Resources for the Greenville County Recreation District, and Brandy Amidon, Mayor of Travelers Rest, will talk about the Swamp Rabbit Trail from their different perspectives. Houck will talk about the nuts and bolts of getting a trail system built as well as providing statistics about the economic impact of the trail, and Amidon will talk about the impact the trail has had on the town of Travelers Rest, highlighting specific businesses.

Janet Hartman, executive director of the Oconee Economic Alliance, said, “We appreciate Ten at the Top coordinating this workshop in Oconee County. Community feedback is vital to our success and our future.  We hope to see many Oconee County residents, business leaders, elected officials and others join us at this luncheon.”

The Oconee County Workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Lunch will be served starting at 11:15 a.m., with the meeting starting at 11:30. You can register for the workshop here.

The Charles Townes Art and Technology Experience

The Charles Townes Art and Technology Experience

Quick—who was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics? If you came up with Greenville native and Furman graduate Charles Townes (extra points if you also came up with Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov, who received the award with him), then you’re going to love the Charles Townes Art and Technology Experience this Friday night in Travelers Rest. And if you didn’t come up with his name, you should definitely go see (and experience) the interactive art installation that uses light and sound to inspire curiosity and experimentation in viewers of all ages.

Created by multimedia artists Jeff Sumerel and Goda Rupeikaitė-Sumerel, the project was funded in part by a Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate grant, awarded last year at Ten at the Top’s Celebrate Successes event.

The husband-and-wife team were not, in fact, husband and wife when they began collaborating, but Goda’s work as a documentary director and producer as well as post-production specialist meshed with Jeff’s work as a documentary filmmaker—and they have become collaborators in life as well as in work.

According to a press release about this installation, “Jeff Sumerel and Goda Rupeikaitė-Sumerel create notable, one-of-a-kind stage and film works using traditional and non-traditional methods of production and collaboration to create entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable experiences for diverse audiences.”

Sumeral hopes that the curiosity sparked by this event will turn it into an annual event, bringing others in to create something new each year.

Asked what drew him to Townes, he says he was looking for a well-known Greenville native to celebrate, much like the town of Cheraw, SC has done with native son Dizzie Gillespie. He landed on Townes because “his spirit of curiosity, exploration, and risk-taking resonated not only with those working in science and technology but also those in the arts,” Sumeral says.

Photo credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt

So what exactly is an art and technology experience, and what can visitors expect? It’s not a laser show, nor a grand presentation or in-depth narrative about Townes, Sumeral explains. Rather, he says, it’s “an outdoor abstract multimedia installation that runs every 5 minutes,” with “a minimalistic film projection and audio soundtrack that incorporates quotes from Townes.”

Just bring your curiosity to the football field at Gateway Park in Travelers Rest on Friday, October 11th, between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., to experience it for yourself! And if you find yourself wanting to know more about Townes, you can read about him here.

by Sharon Purvis

Stumphouse Park Offers Outdoor Activities for Everyone

Stumphouse Park Offers Outdoor Activities for Everyone

Click for a larger map of the trails.

Maintained by the city of Walhalla, Stumphouse Park is 440 acres of natural beauty and a recreational paradise. Within the park are picnic tables and a covered event pavilion that is available to rent for outdoor gatherings—but for those who really want to explore, there is much, much more.

The Stumphouse Tunnel was originally supposed to be a railroad tunnel connecting Charleston and Knoxville, but with the interruption of the Civil War, it was never finished. Today, it’s a family-friendly ¼ mile walk (flashlights recommended)—and its consistently cool temperature inside makes it a welcome treat in this unseasonably warm weather. It also creates ideal conditions for making blue cheese; Clemson University used it for that purpose in the 1940s and 1950s, until air conditioned cheese ripening rooms were built on campus in 1956.

Issaqueena Falls can be viewed from a platform accessible by a well-maintained trail that’s about a 5-minute walk from the parking area, and there’s an easy hike to the top of the falls.

At the top of the Issaqueena Falls parking lot is a trailhead for the Blueridge Railroad Trail, a moderate-to-strenuous hike that follows an incomplete railroad bed with two additional abandoned railroad tunnels—the Middle Tunnel, which has an opening that you can go inside, and the Saddleback Tunnel, which over the years has filled with water. The hike is 2.5 miles one way, so it’s a nice mid-length hike.

The Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park is ten miles of state-of-the-art bike trail, linking the town of Walhalla to the Palmetto Trail. The trails are multipurpose, so hikers may use the trail as well, although not horses. Click here for a short promotional video about the trail, and, if you’re so inclined, this one is a 15-minute video of YouTube user Newbie MTB riding the trail.

Park Entrance Fees: $5 per vehicle, $25 Annual Pass (Oconee County Residents), $35 Annual Pass (Non-Oconee County Residents), FREE for City of Walhalla Residents. Annual Passes can be purchased at Walhalla City Hall.