Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summervillians And Visitors Filled The Town's Streets To Capacity And Enjoyed The Sweetness

On May 26, 2014, The Azalea Magazine published an article in which it documented the history of the tea plant in America and the South's affinity to sweet tea. It concluded with this momentous statement, "So I'm going to do it. In regards to Summerville's role in the great Southern drink of tea, ice, and sugar, I'm going to step out on a pretty thick limb and say it. Come on and say it with me, Summerville is the birthplace of sweet tea. My appeal to all Summervillians; take pride, take ownership. I feel the need to say it again…Summerville is the birthplace of sweet tea." Well, that limb was the size of Angel Oak's bottom branch and Summervillians have determinedly responded to the appeal.

Since taking ownership of this historic mandate, the town of Summerville has guzzled in the sweetness. The Sweet Tea Trail was established to help visitors and locals alike explore all that Summerville has to offer. Also, the Sweet Tea Festival was inaugurated and is celebrated every September. And quite fittingly, as of June 10, 2015, on National Iced Tea Day, the Birthplace of Sweet Tea smashed the Guinness Book of World Record for the World's Largest Glass of Sweet Tea.

A ten foot container manufactured by Scout Boats and painted for authenticity, the largest glass of sweet tea was positioned in front of Town Hall at the head of the Square. The process for the 1,400 gallons of sweet tea began at 7:00am. At which time, 116 pounds of tea leaves from the Charleston Tea Plantation was brewed. At 11:30am, the concentrate was combined with 2,100 pounds of local sugar from Dixie Crystals and 3,000 pounds of ice was added. The official record ceremony with the Guinness Book of World Records took place mid-afternoon with Bill Collins and the Guinness Book of World Records' representative. Shortly thereafter, the party began, and what a party it was.

The largest crowd I have ever seen in Summerville, outside of the Flowertown Festival, ascended on the town and filled the downtown streets. All of Summerville's sweet tea lovers, desiring to stake their claim in a piece of the action and history, stood in a line that continuously stretched from Town Hall to Central Avenue for several hours. Along with the sweet tea, music lovers danced to great music by Midnight City and others filled the shops and restaurants.

It was amazing and it was historic. It was a testimony to Summerville's affirmation to the appeal made by the Azalea Magazine in 2014 and a demonstration of the Town's community pride. Congratulations and the pictures tell the whole smashing story.

If you want to read the full article from the Azalea Magazine, click on "Birthplace of Sweet Tea."

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