Monday, April 1, 2013

April In Summerville Is Jam Packed With Fun Festivals-How Sweet It Is

"Today is April 1st. Sweet tea in the afternoon to y'all. April Fool's day it is." Allegedly, in 2003 as an April Fool's joke, the Georgia House introduced a bill making it a "...misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature" to sell iced tea in a restaurant that did not also offer sweet iced tea on the menu. Needless to say, the bill never went to a vote. You can't accuse the Georgia House of lacking in humor.

In the early 1900s, sweet tea was an item of luxury due to the expensive nature of tea, ice, and sugar. A song has also been written by Cravin’ Melon called Sweet Tea where they sing, "Don't try to offer anything. What it comes right down to baby, don't tempt me; I'm where I wanna be, Cause on the eighth day, God made sweet tea." Listen to the complete song, cool.

Research has unveiled facts claiming Summerville as the "Birthplace of Sweet Tea", and that's no April Fool's joke. In honor of that designation, Summerville had its first Sweet Tea Festival in 2012. And speaking of festivals, April will be one of 2013's hottest months for festivals and events in Summerville. The traditional three day Flowertown Festival in Azalea Park begins on Friday, April 5th. It is one of the largest arts and crafts festivals and ranked as one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast. Over 200,000 visitors and residents will descend upon this historic, southern town honored by antiquity as the Flowertown in the Pines.

Summerville at one time was considered one of the healthiest places in the world for people recovering from respiratory illnesses due to its pine filled woods. While many of the pine trees that graced the landscape surrounding the town have bowed to the axe and modern machinery, many still remain. The shadows of these tall trees are the perfect host for Summerville's other spring time attractions, the brilliantly colorful azalea and the purple wisteria. Vines of wisteria can be seen intertwined with the branches of smaller trees throughout the town's district.

It all begins with the usual Charleston Bagpipers marching four abreast down historic Main Street where over 200 talented artisans from across the country will be displaying their wares as well as throughout Azalea Park. There is always something new. Last year, a replica of the Hunley was displayed at the entrance of S. Main Street.

Of course, there will be the usual sights and sounds. The group that highlights a musician playing the wooden pan pipes are a familiar attraction. The Flowertown Players will be returning with acting demonstrations and short skits performed on their mobile stage at their booth. The Children’s Jubilee located at the corner of 6th Street and S. Main Street offers fun activities and rides for children. The Taste, which features a surprisingly sumptuous and varied cuisine will give festival goers a chance to sample appetizers, main courses and desserts from local restaurants. Finally, musical performances are scheduled on the main stage in the park throughout the three days.

Later in the month, on April 27th, you can be Italian for a day. The first ever Lowcountry Italian Festival 2013 will be held in Summerville, also in Azalea Park, featuring authentic Italian food, drink, merchandise, live music and a Bocce Tournament - click on sign up sheet to enter or call Joe Stringer at (843)-452-1333 for more information. The Lowcountry Festa Italiana is an independent non-profit organization created by four families to promote awareness of Italian-American culture in this area. Admission is free, festival starts at 10 AM and ends at 8 PM.

If you are not interested in being Italian for a day, that same day of April 27th the Southern Flame—Southern Food and Music Festival will be held in The Ponds of Summerville. The musicians and bands scheduled for this celebration of Bluegrass and Rock are Dee Dee Cumbee 11 AM-1 PM, Common Ground featuring Alan Bibey 1:30 PM-3 PM, Hugh Price 4 PM-6 PM and Eddie Bush 6 PM-8 PM. There will also be a BBQ Cook-off. Click on entry form to compete. There is no entry fee for this festival, but a $10 parking pass purchased at the gate is required or go to tickets to purchase a pass at a $2 discount.

We are not finished yet. The 2013 SC Humanities Festival will take place on April 18-21. The theme of the festival is "The Birthplace of Sweet Tea and Southern Hospitality." There are many exciting events planned, including lectures, tours, and performances. Many of the events are free and open to the public, but several require tickets and advanced registration. One example is the event A Southern Sweet Tea Lunch April 20th, 12PM at the Historic Timrod Library. Go to ticket information for details. A full schedule can be down loaded here.

The weather has finally taken a turn for the best. Sunshine and good times ahead. See you around town. Be sure to say hi when you see me. Oh, one last thing; Much Ado About Nothing opens at the James F. Dean Theatre Thursday, April 4th. For the complete schedule go to Flowertown Players.

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