There’s always something happening in the Upstate, and this weekend there are a ton of festivals in the Upstate to choose from. Every festival, along with the town hosting it, has its own local flavor, so see if there’s one happening in a place you’ve never visited before and check it out!
If you’re inspired by our Instagram photo of the week to go visit Abbeville, this weekend is a good time to do it: Abbeville Spring Festival starts on Thursday and runs all weekend long, with tons of music, crafts, and delicious food.
For a festival and fundraiser rolled into one, head over to Pickens for the 22nd annual Blue Ridge Fest, hosted by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative employees. You’ll pay for a ticket that gets you access to bands, a classic car show, and more–and the money raised benefits local charities.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Pelham Medical Center Greer Family Fest, and the planners this year have an expanded vision for the festival to reflect Greer’s growth. With Restaurant Row, a Kids Zone, more than 150 vendors, and plenty of live music, there’s something for everyone!
The Reedy River Duck Derby is more than just rubber ducks going down the river–it’s a full-on festival in its own right! Loads of family-friendly entertainment, games, and activities will give you plenty of reason to spend the whole day in the park. And the ducky adoptions fund children’s charities.
Another festival for a cause is Piedmont’s Spring Craft and Vendor Fair, held at the Farm at Sandy Spring, which raises money for community repairs.
Spartanburg’s Earth Day Festival doesn’t actually fall on Earth Day, but on May 4th this year–it’s a celebration of stewardship, sustainability, and our beautiful planet, with interactive, educational activities for the whole family.
If your mouth is watering for the first strawberries of the season, head up to Slater and the Strawberry Festival, where, in addition to delicious strawberries, festival goers can enjoy entertainment, craft vendors, and plenty of other food.
The Spring in Bloom Festival and Bazaar in Mauldin includes a design center with an Ask a Master Gardener booth along with loads of plants for sale for your yard and garden–in addition to plenty of arts and crafts for sale, kids’ activities, music, and food trucks!
And then you can finish off your weekend with beer at the Tamassee Craft Brew Celebration on Sunday! Billed as “the original Oconee County craft beer festival,” there will be 20 different breweries sampling their wares, as well as lots of local food, music, and a home brew contest.
Keep your eye on our calendar for more festivals in the coming weeks–there are plenty more throughout the spring and summer!
If there’s anything better than seeing thousands of bright yellow rubber duckies bobbing and floating down the Reedy River, it’s knowing that each duck, adopted for a cost of $10 (or $30 for a quack pack of four), helps to fund a variety of charities supported by the Rotary Club of the Reedy River Greenville. One hundred percent of the money raised from the duck adoptions goes to charity, so you can feel good about adopting a duck for each member of your family.
The Duck Derby, now in its 15th year, is held on the first Saturday of May, rain or shine, and this year it’s on May 4th. In addition to the big race–whose winner receives a year’s worth of groceries from Publix–there is plenty of fun to be had, with music, face painting, a hat contest, dancing, and more!
To adopt a duck (or a family of ducks), click here. The goal is for 10,000 ducks to be adopted, and as of this writing, there are just over 6000 spoken for.
Bring the whole family for a day of fun at Reedy River Falls Park!
Thousands descend upon downtown Pickens, SC each spring for the Blue Ridge Fest, an effort created and operated by Blue Ridge Electric Co-op employee volunteers to raise money for local charities within their four county service area.
Blue Ridge Electric, which has long championed charitable community causes, decided in 1998 to combine the company’s philanthropic efforts and energies into one large, vibrant community event. An employee committee reviews over 100 applications annually, and must make the tough decisions on which charities will receive funding from the event. Visit the 2019 Blue Ridge Fest Charities webpage to view this year’s funding recipients.
Jim Lovinggood, President & CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Co-op, had this to say:
“On behalf of Blue Ridge Electric Co-op employees, I would like to invite you to the 22nd annual Blue Ridge Fest. This year promises to be one of the most entertaining with performances by The Oak Ridge Boys, The Tams and Jim Quick and Coastline! Over the past 21 years, Blue Ridge Fest has generated over $2.8 million dollars to support local Upstate communities. The proceeds from this event will be given to 12 local charities serving Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties. We hope you enjoy this night of great times for great causes.”
In addition to the live musical entertainment and delicious food, festivalgoers enjoy the largest Classic Car Cruise-in in the Upstate— classics such as Model A Fords, Studebakers, hot-rods, and more.
After the highly anticipated performance of The Oak Ridge Boys (and perhaps a little dancing), the evening culminates with a raffle drawing of three cash prizes, with first prize winning $10,000! A raffle ticket can be purchased for $5, or 5 tickets for $20. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets, or you can get tickets at the Blue Ridge offices in Pickens and Oconee.
Jonathan Irick, Director of Main Street Laurens since 2006, has worked hard to make downtown Laurens a place that locals can be proud of and that visitors will want to return to, and he was recently awarded the Main Street America Revitalization Professional Credential. Congratulations, Jonathan!
A press release from Main Street America said of Irick and Main Street Laurens, “During his tenure as the Director of Main Street Laurens, Jonathan has continued to lead the program and its many volunteers to become a model program both across the state and nationally. Main Street Laurens is a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote, improve and preserve the unique character and economic vitality of downtown Laurens.”
In 2014, Main Street Laurens won a Hughes Investment Elevate Upstate grant, presented by Ten at the Top, for the Finally Friday on the Square program. It was billed as a “celebration of all things Laurens,” with live music to bring people into the historic downtown area from April through September. The $5000 grant allowed Laurens to pay for the music artists for all of 2015, but the music was just the beginning—other attractions include free trolley rides, extended business hours, and special treats like an ice cream social.
Main Street Laurens’ Facebook page lists events, including the upcoming Sip ‘n’ Stroll Wine Tasting on April 25, and promotes local businesses. If you haven’t visited downtown Laurens recently, check out one of their events, visit their businesses, and be sure to tag any photos you take with #upstatevibe365!
There is an oasis in the heart of downtown Greenville that was created specifically for the purpose of healing and renewal—of hope and moving forward.
That place is Cancer Survivors Park, and it is open to anyone who has been touched by cancer—which, let’s face it, is just about everyone. The park’s vision is to “change the way we live with cancer.”
Conceived originally by a group known as Patients First, the idea was for cancer patients to have a space outside of a clinical setting to reconnect with themselves, with nature, and with their loved ones—but also a space that would give those patients and their families access to resources, information, and support.
As the space became a reality in the Cancer Survivors Park, Patients First changed its name to Cancer Survivors Park Alliance (CSPA). Once the park was complete, it was turned over to the city of Greenville to be maintained as part of the Parks Department, but the CSPA still actively hosts a variety of exercise and wellness programs for cancer patients and survivors at the park and other venues as part of their mission.
The park, situated off of the Swamp Rabbit Trail between Church and Cleveland Streets, features a boardwalk to connect the park to Church Street, a pavilion/education center, a labyrinth for meditation and contemplation, an outdoor amphitheater, and a suspension footbridge.
If you have been touched by cancer, or if you know someone who is dealing with cancer, be sure to stop by the park, check out the education center, and take advantage of the support offered by the CSPA.
Big changes are happening in Greer. One of South Carolina’s fastest growing cities is getting a major makeover. The project is known as “CenterG” for the synergy it will bring to Greer. Greer CPW has worked since the summer of 2017 to replace or rehabilitate sewer and water lines prior to the city’s work, giving much of the area known as Greer Station new underground utilities now.
In a recent article from the city of Greer, Greer City Administrator Ed Driggers mentioned, “This is one of those projects that we do about every 75 to 100 years and it just happens to be the time to do it,” he continued to mention that, “It is aging infrastructure and it will be a very complex project on which we are partnering with Greer CPW. We’ve been working with our downtown merchants for a couple of years now, advising and preparing them for this.”
In hopes of enhancing people’s experience downtown, the city is taking a design that is very unique. This new infrastructure will not be traditional—the design is called a shared street design. It has no curb and gutter and is a paver street rather than an asphalt street. Their goal is also to maintain two-way traffic for vehicles and pedestrian access in that area as well as parallel parking.
The streetscape will be funded by city resources. The $10.8 million-dollar project will include a shared street design, brick pavers, landscaping, new curb and gutters, ADA accessibility, and new lighting on Trade Street.
Matt Sossamon, Project Manager at Sossamon Construction Company, Inc., stated to Nickelle Smith of WSPA, “We’ve done a number of streetscapes throughout the Upstate —Daniel Morgan Square in Spartanburg, Fountain Inn, Abbeville, we’ve done a number of them.” He continued, “We understand the concern that the business owners have in the downtown and we’re going to do our best to minimize the inconvenience as much as possible.”
The city of Greer is encouraging folks to follow the construction process atwww.futuregreer.com and is working to communicate that despite the construction, all businesses are open and we need to continue supporting them.