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.
Ten at the Top hosted over 300 young professionals at the Greenville ONE Center on Monday for the fourth annual PIQUE: Young Leaders Elevating the Upstate, presented by ScanSource and emceed by WSPA-TV’s Jamarcus Gaston. From discussions about the spoken and unspoken generational differences in the workplace and the steps needed to take to moving up the career ladder, attendees were engaged, alert, and ready to ask their burning questions throughout the entire event. Following the wrap-up panel, young professionals enjoyed food and beverages thanks to Coffee Underground, Cribbs Catering, and Growler Haus as well as a live art demonstration by Clemson-based artist Peter Barry sponsored by the Melting Pot Music Society. (All photos courtesy of Bart Boatwright.)
WSPA-TV’s Jamarcus Gaston welcomes attendees to the 4th annual PIQUE.
Chunsta Miller, General Manager of the Anderson Mall, gave a presentation on Developing Executive Courage.
Young professionals had the chance to talk with executives from a variety of fields in the Executive Networking Roundtables.
Networking is a time for making new connections, but also finding a familiar face.
Sessions were engaging and interactive, with plenty of audience participation.
In a panel session on Moving up the Ladder, West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders (left), Leesa Owens, Director of Government and Community Relations at Michelin (center), and Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development at Greenville Tech (right) shared steps young professionals can make to prepare themselves for advancement.