Friday, March 16, 2012

Summerville Showcases Its Southern Charm And Beauty At The Annual Flowertown Festival

House on Central Ave
Summerville presently is shimmering in a sea of magnificent multitudinous masses of magenta. It is the annual azalea bloom putting on its best dress for the upcoming Flowertown Festival hosted in Summerville's Azalea Park. The flowers are the offical doorkeepers of spring greeting all to the celebration of warmer days. Drive anywhere on the streets in the town's historic district between Central Ave. and S. Main and you will be convinced Summerville is rightfully crowned the "Flower Town in the Pines".

Rightfully the "Flower Town in the Pines" because Summerville is also famous for its pine trees, but unfortunately the pollen bloom that rains down from its branches when the weather warms is not enthusiastically embraced with happy celebration like the azaleas. Having said that, pine trees and azaleas are a perfect collaboration because azaleas grow well in its shadows.

House on Central Ave
The varieties of azaleas are as bounteous as its blooms thanks to hybridizing, crossbreeding. They are native to North America, so it is likely they greeted our arriving ancestors in some form. All North American species are decidious, meaning they drop their leaves. The evergreen varieties come from Japan where they can be hundreds of years old. The plants and blooms are mildly toxic, but I can personally despute this assumption as not likely to be a deterrent to consumption. When I lived in northeastern Ohio years ago, I planted extensive rock gardens and plant mounds on my property. I attempted to incorporate azaleas into my scheme, but was unsuccessful. It seemed the branches were a favorite delicacy of deer, who ate the plants down to a stub before having a chance to pop a bud.

Azalea bloom in Summerville
The Flowertown Festival ranks as one of the largest festivals in the Southeast with an origin that goes back to 1972. The three-day festival also carries the well deserved distinction as one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. One of the main features of this family-oriented festival centers around the promotion of arts and crafts. More than 200 craft artisans and vendors will be given the opportunity to showcase their creative wares throughout Azalea Park. The Taste is another feature that offers festival goers a chance to sample appetizers, main courses and desserts from local restaurants. A Children’s Jubilee located at the corner of 6th Street and S. Main Street will be set up with activities and rides to entertain your little ones. There will also be plenty of live entertainment. Admission is free and parking is free.

Old building at the Woodlands Inn
The current festival was predated by a previous festival in 1941 when Summerville celebrated the first Azalea Festival, a four-day event that included dances, concerts, a parade and a formal ball. The festival promoted local business and celebrated the town's community pride, a pride as old as the trees. Summerville's rich history dates all the way back to the late 1600's. In those early days, coastal residents sought refuge from the heat and mosquitoes among the cooler pines of Summerville. One of the trees redeeming features was the turpentine scent it emitted, and even doctors considered it to be a cure for a variety of respiratory ailments. Many came all the way from Europe for the pine air and its believed benefits, but it wasn't just for the air, they also came for the southern beauty and charm.

Come and experience Summerville's southern beauty, charm, and community pride. Come and celebrate the Flowertown Festival March 30th to April 1st, and this is no April fools. While you are there, be sure to check out the Flowertown Players booth. Big things are going on at the little theater near the corner of S. Main and E. Richardson. When you see me, be sure to say, "Hey." I am always interested in making new acquaitances. Times Friday and Saturday are 9:00am-5:00pm and Sunday 9:00am-4:00pm.

1 comment:

Carolina HeartStrings said...

I have never seen that old building at the Woodlands. Must go poke around and find it!