Saturday, March 14, 2015

Summerville Is Set To Fling Its Spring Doors Wide Open For Flowertown Festival 2015

Pack your wallets and put on a sweet tea smile, Summerville will fling its spring doors wide open on March 27-29 for its annual Flowertown Festival. Scheduled to ideally coincide with the yearly azalea bloom, the town's beautiful and historic Azalea Park on South Main Street will be transformed into a maze of tents and booths. It is estimated about 250,000 people from all over the Lowcountry and the Southeast U.S. attend this craft and food fare extravaganza.

Summerville's famous Azalea Park was started in 1933 and completed in 1935. All the flowers planted in the park, 33,000 of them, came from George Segelken's Summerville Floral Nursery. Mr. Segelken was a pioneer in the propagation of azaleas.

Azalea Park on a Sunday in Spring
During its early years, tourists flocked to the park. On any Sunday afternoon in spring, cars lining South Main Street bumper to bumper were a common sight. They not only came for the spectacle of beauty, but also because azaleas were an uncommon sight and relatively unknown in South Carolina, except in Summerville.

A scene in Azalea Park today
The flowers are the official doorkeepers of spring and turn Summerville into a shimmering sea of magnificent masses of magenta and various other colors of the spectrum. Drive anywhere throughout the town's historic district and you will be thoroughly 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 the tree's shadows.

The current festival was predated by a previous festival. In 1941, 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 pines.

With an origin that goes back to 1972, the Flowertown Festival ranks as one of the largest festivals in the Southeast. The three-day affair 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 jury-selected craft artisans and vendors will be given the opportunity to showcase their creative wares throughout Azalea Park.

The Taste of Summerville 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. Photographer, Susan Roberts, has been chosen as the artist to represent the Summerville Family YMCA's flagship fundraiser.

The new Kids Fest Blooming Artists, on Saturday, March 28, has been added to the festival. This will be a fun way for boys and girls ages 8-18 to express themselves visually and encourage the creative growth of young people. Blooming Artists will be located directly across from the Farmer's Market on 2nd and Main Street.

What do local residents have to say about the Flowertown Festival?
Carol--"Spring is here...and we see some people that we haven't seen since Fall. Also, means a weekend off."
James--"It means more yard art for us."
Maureen--"Having the opportunity to support small businesses and artists that offer handcrafted items! I have a definite love for handcrafted items, especially soaps - I remember, for a few years running, buying enough to last QUITE a while. Lol. My youngest (now 11) loves to come with me as well, and the $20 I normally give her to spend is quickly and happily put to use."
Vanessa--"Love, love, love it. It's Summerville's time to shine and we always do!"
Megan--"This will be our first! Can't wait!! Yay for Spring!"
As for me, I enjoy the live musical entertainment. It is also a great event to meet new acquaintances and of course, people watch.

It was a cold season in the Lowcountry. As we wave farewell to the winter, we happily welcome the warmer days of spring and embrace its arrival with colorful enthusiasm. The azalea bloom, just getting underway, is setting the stage for the premier event of the year. Come and experience Summerville's southern beauty, charm, and community pride. Come and celebrate the Flowertown Festival March 27th to the 29th. Admission is free and parking is free. Times Friday and Saturday are 9:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday 9:00am to 4:00pm.

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