Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summerville's Third Thursday June 16, 2011-A Great Place To Be

It wasn't your ordinary, nothing special Thursday in Summerville. It was the Third Thursday in Summerville. The Third thursday is an event sponsored by Summerville D.R.E.A.M. (Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management), which is a "non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic identity, ensuring the economic vitality, and promoting a sense of community in the heart of Downtown Summerville". By my own definition, Third Thursday is where people come together to look, watch, listen, and talk.

It is an event where the various businesses and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to showcase their goods, their skills and their services to the people who visit their shops. But for the owners, it is far more than just that. The patrons who visited their establishments were more than just another tranaction, they were friends, and if your were not a former acquaintance, they treated you as such.

When I first arrived, around 5 PM, I made a quick assessment of the layout. Since it was my firt visit to the event, a guide was needed to point me in the right direction and inform me about the events key features, like where all the free stuff was at. That is where Kathy came in, my gracious hostess and experienced Third Thursday patron.

Our first stop was "Aura Lee's Jewelry Handbags" at 140 W Richardson Ave. I must include at this point, I was not there for the handbags. I was informed there would be free beer and sure enough, while I was standing near the front entrance on the patio, a courteous gentleman introduced himself and offered me a beer. His name was William Summers. He slipped me his card, which informed me he was the director and VP of VFG. Surprisingly, the beer William offered me was one of my favorite brands. After exchanging a few more pleasantries, I discovered he was from Pittsburgh, which meant he was a Steeler fan. It seems like I run into a Steeler fan everywhere I go. As a former resident of Northeast Ohio and a former season ticket holder in the Dawg Pound, that put us on an uncommonly common ground.

As I drank my beer and watched people come and go, a young girl was setting up her guitar and equipment to entertain the gathering crowd. She sang her first song and American Idol came to mind. I introduced myself and inquired of her name. I asked her if she ever thought of trying out for American Idol. She informed me American Idol is coming to Charleston in July and plans to audition. I took video, drank another beer, and listened to two more songs completely convinced she has the potential to be someone who is going places. Her name is Chelsea Summers and she is a singer/songwriter. I hope to hear from her in future Third Thursdays.

It was time to check out the festivities over at the "Summerville Got Talent" show on the square. There was a decent crowd both sitting and standing around the makeshift stage. One of the contestants was a 14 year girl, who played the guitar and sang. I listened and took video of four different performers and she stood out the most. It was a good venue for hometown folk young and old to showcase their talent.

The Art Walk was next. Various displays of art work and handcrafted goods lined an unfinished part of Central Rd off W. Richardson. More live music filled the humid air and spreads of free goodies were set up in the various shops along the way, such as cheeses, crackers, deserts, and wine. The art gallery and the quilting shop were packed and noisy with the chatter of friends having a good time. At the end of the road I met Douglas Edwards and his wife. A tent was set up displaying a collection of his works. They were paintings of local landmarks and beaches done in oils and acrylics. I listened to the story of his journey and we exchanged thoughts on a common interest.

I met up with my hostess and her family. We walked to a business on West Richardson next to Aura Lee's. It was filled with numerous paintings, old collectables, and more hospitality. The owner said hello and offered me a choice between beer or wine. I opted for the beer, which she agreed was the right choice.

We finished out the night back at Aura Lee's. A young man was doing riffs on Chelsea's guitar and playing pieces of familiar rock songs. I met some more new acquaintances and another Steeler fan. Conversations ranged from what you did for an occupation to Facebook. It was a successful night of looking, watching, listening, and talking. You are cordially invited to the next Third Thursday in July starting at 5 PM. You will have a good time.

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