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May has to be one of the nicest months to spend in Downtown Greenville. With the beautiful blue skies, the lush greenery and near-perfect weather (well…. MOST of the time, anyway), there is much appeal to spending the day here. Many residents, myself included, choose to revisit that favorite pastime from childhood – bike riding – to explore our Downtown. And Downtown is only too happy to oblige bike enthusiasts!

May is officially National Bike Month…but here in Downtown Greenville, every month can be Bike Month. From designated bike lanes on our main streets to bike docking stations scattered throughout, Downtown Greenville is definitely a “Bike Friendly” community. The City of Greenville’s “Bicycle Friendly Community Initiative” began in 2006 as a city council resolution. It quickly gained in popularity as bike enthusiasts, including many bicycle racing professionals, rallied behind it. The result is Bike Friendly Greenville, whose goal is to provide infrastructure, education, and outreach to increase the number of trips made by bicycles by improving roads to accommodate bicyclists and creating programs that encourage alternative transportation. The program was recognized by The League of American Bicyclists for its work to bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation and work through advocacy and education with its prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community award. To learn more about Greenville’s Bike Friendly Program, visit their Bikeville page at http://www.greenvillesc.gov/ParksRec/Trails/bikeville.

As mentioned, many of Downtown Greenville’s streets offer Bike Lanes, so that bicyclists can safely share the road with motorists. These special lanes are clearly marked with a white bicycle. For more information, a map of specified bike lanes and other bike safety tips, download the City’s Bike Safety Brochure, found here: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/ParksRec/Trails/forms/BikevilleBrochure.pdf. Rather enjoy your bike ride without the distraction of cars? Downtown offers several bike paths that wind through our lovely public parks, including North Main Park, McPherson Park and Cleveland Park. If you would like a little more “mountain” to your biking, check out The Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 17+ mile multi-use trail, part of which winds its way through Downtown. Several of the trials in Cleveland Park also offer a satisfactory mountain bike experience. For more information and maps, visit: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/ParksRec/Trails/SwampRabbitMap

After enjoying a day of bike riding, you will most likely want to park your bike and enjoy all the sights and sounds that Downtown has to offer. The City has recently installed several bike racks throughout Downtown, where you can safely stash your bike before having lunch or taking in the sights. See the attached map for a list of bike rack locations: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/ParksRec/Trails/forms/DowntownBicycleRacksPlan.pdf

Don’t own a bike? No worries…there is no need to miss out on all the fun! Greenville B-cycle, a partnership between Upstate Forever and the Greenville Health System, is transforming the way we get around downtown Greenville. With six stations and 28 bikes, the system provides community members and visitors an active way to get around town. Four bicycle docking stations are located Downtown at 206 S. Main Street, 215 Rhett Street, 100 W. McBee Avenue and 11 College Street. Two additional stations are located at Sterling Community Center (113 Minus Street) and County Square (301 University Ridge). With a purchase of a membership online, or a one day guest membership, you can then have a bike to use at your leisure. For more information on this program, visit: http://greenville.bcycle.com.

If you want a little more variety in your bike choices, then check out Reedy Rides, a longtime provider of rental bikes to the Downtown area. Available seven days a week, Reedy Rides feature 3, 7 and 21 speed comfort cruisers to choose from as well as kid’s bikes, child trailers, tag-a-longs (third wheel), a tandem and trike. They provide not only the bicycle, but a helmet, a small bag for keys/phone/wallet, and a lock. They will even deliver to your hotel if you are visiting our fair city! Because it can get busy this time of year (especially on pretty weekends) reservations are strongly encouraged. For more information, or to make reservations, call (864) 419-2944 or visit: http://reedyrides.com.

So there you have it Downtownies. Greenville definitely goes all out to make her Downtown very bike accessible. So, grab your bike (or rent one) and head Downtown on one of these gorgeous Spring days to take advantage of our city’s Bike Friendliness! You’ll appreciate our Downtown in a whole new way! Safe Biking!



(Art, The Bard, Greeks, Great Scots & a little Caribbean Crush…)

It’s still May and despite some decidedly unseasonable weather last week, it’s still one of my favorite times to be Downtown! As the flowers bloom, so does Downtown and she shows off with a whirlwind of events that’ll get you out of your house and down on Main Street! This week’s blog highlights everyone’s favorite Arts festival, some works by the Bard, party with some cool Caribbean vibes, going Greek and a lot of guys in kilts!

To art lovers, Spring means one thing…ARTISPHERE! This weekend, our fair city will play host to this exuberant celebration of the visual and performing arts. Beginning with a fancy Opening Gala at Courtyard by Marriott and Nantucket Grill on Thursday, Artisphere launches into full swing on Friday, May 10th. Featuring not only exhibits from local and regional artisans, this arts extravaganza also spotlights performances from local musicians, theatre groups, dance troupes and other performing artists. Saturday and Sunday’s festivities also include Wine Tasting, Artists’ Demonstrations and Classes, as well as fun events for the kids at Kidsphere. And, since Sunday is Mothers’ Day, this event offers an excellent array of creative gift ideas for Mom. As always, restaurant vendors will be on hand to offer a variety of choices in food, beverage, beer and wine. Hours for this festival are noon -8PM on Friday, 10AM – 8PM on Saturday, and 11AM – 6PM on Sunday. There is no admission to this event held on Main Street and Broad near Falls Park. For more information, visit http://www.Artisphere.us.

Fans of all things flamingoes and flip-flops will LOVE the South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s Annual Fundraiser, Caribbean Crush! This laid-back event featuring Caribbean steel drums, fantastic food, beach drinks and a silent auction has been the talk of the town for the past 6 years. So, don your sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts and join the other Bermuda-shorted partiers at ZEN on Friday, May 17th. The festivities go into full swing at 7PM, with tickets still available for $50 and all proceeds benefitting the many wonderful programs for children and teens the SCCT has to offer. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.scchildrenstheatre.org.

The Greeks have known how to throw a party for thousands of years and Greenville’s Grecian community proudly carries on that tradition with their annual Greek Festival. For four fun-filled days (May 16 – 19), Greenville becomes “Greekville” as St. George Greek Orthodox Church becomes a sea of all things Greek. Beginning on Thursday, May 16th, you will be able to satisfy your cravings for souvlaki, gyros and all kinds of yummy Greek pastries as lunch and dinner will be served at the Hellenic Center. Don’t have time to sit down to eat? They have drive-thru service at the Elford Street entrance, so you can get a taste of Greece in minutes. The “glendi” (that’s Greek for party) really starts up on Friday, with an assortment of food, traditional Greek dance and live music. All that dancing will leave you exhausted, so be sure to stop by the Kafenion (Greek Coffee Shop) to recharge your batteries with a steaming cup of Greek coffee and a wedge of delicious baklava, before strolling through the Marketplace to view an assortment of Mediterranean wares. The festivities continue full swing through the weekend until Sunday evening. Hours are 10:30AM to 8PM (Dining only) Thursday, 10:30AM to 10PM Friday and Saturday, and 11:30AM to 8PM Sunday. Cost of admission is only $1. For more information, visit: http://www.stgeorgegreenville.org/GreekFestival.

On Thursday, May 23, the Scots invade Downtown in true Highland fashion to rock out to the music of the Celtic band, Cleghorn (with guests, Smash the Radio and The Greenville Pipes & Drums) at Downtown Alive! Then on Friday evening, Downtown will be awash in plaid as kilted revelers stroll down Main Street in the Great Scot Parade. Starting at 6PM, the Parade, which grows larger each year, will feature pipe bands, Scottish military re-enactors, Highland themed floats, Scottish forest fairies and more tartans than you can shake a bagpipe at – all to get the weekend started Highland style! The Friday festivities will grow to a fevered pitch with a raucous “ceildh” (that’s Gaelic for party)at the Peace Center Amphitheatre, featuring the music of Rathkeltair and Albannach. Want to really release your inner Braveheart? Then join your fellow Gaelic enthusiasts at the 2013 Greenville Scottish Games at Furman on Saturday, May 25. Competition begins at 8AM with evnts such as caber-tossing and piping continuing all day. Afterwards, visit the food tents to taste such Scottish delicacies as haggis (trust me, you really DON’T want to know what’s in it) and to browse through the vendors’ tents featuring goods from the heathered isles. Once again, Saturday’s events will wind down with a rockin’ Celtic Jam. For an events schedule, to order tickets and for more information on the Scottish Games, visit: http://gallabrae.com.

If all the world is a stage, then the stage is definitely set for the Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park. Every Thursday – Sunday, beginning May 23, Downtown thespians and other fans of a fellow named Shakespeare, will have the chance to experience some of his finest works…with a twist. This season marks the 19th for the festival , which Southern Living has named one of the Best Summer events in the South and attracts over 18,000 each summer. The Festival kicks off with a modern retelling of the action-filled drama, Hamlet (which runs through June 15th) The next in the series, Comedy of Errors will open on July 11th and run through August 3rd. Performances begin at 7PM and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.warehousetheatre.com/upstate-shakespeare-festival.

So Downtownies…May is practically bursting with fun things to do in the DTGVL! So, why are you still sitting at your computer? Get yourself Downtown and enjoy all it has to offer! See you there!



(Or…Movies, Market, Men in High Heels, Painting the Town Red & Lots of Rubber Duckies…)

May has to be one of my favorite times to be in Downtown Greenville. The near-perfect beauty of Downtown’s bright green foliage, & brick red buildings silhouetted against the Carolina blue sky is enough to take my breath away! Add to that, the increasingly pleasant temps and the also-increasing number of great events going on, and you have more fun than should be legal! Too much fun, in fact, for just one blog! This week’s “Part 1” contains tidbits about Moonlight Movies, The Saturday Market, a Men’s High Heel Race, an invitation to paint the town Red…and a whole lot of cute little rubber duckies!

Fans of classic movies anxiously await Moonlight Movies. This free, city-sponsored event allows movies fans to view the classics outdoors in the splendid beauty of Falls Park. Shown each Wednesday (weather permitting) starting at 8-ish in the evening, this family-friendly event takes place every May and September. This year’s theatrical line-up includes the 1953 drama, “From Here to Eternity”, starring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr (May 1), John Ford’s 1956 western, “The Searchers”, starring John Wayne (May 8), the 1938 Cukor comedy, “Holiday”, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant (May 15) and the delightfully quirky “Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein” (May 22). The movie for May 29 is a Viewer’s Choice, where the movie garnering the most fan votes will be shown. The choices are “To Catch a Thief”, “On The Waterfront” and “Philadelphia Story”. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome, but like most city-sponsored events, pets are not allowed. For more information, visit http://www.greenvillesc.gov.

Let Kentucky keep their thoroughbred racing horses, we’ve got cute ‘lil rubber duckies! This most beloved of Downtown’s annual events, the Reedy River Duck Derby, takes place Saturday, May 4th at Reedy River Falls Park and benefits the many local charities assisted by the Rotary Club of Greenville. An all-day event (10AM – 4PM), the fun includes plenty of kid-friendly activities for families. The highlight, of course, is the race itself, which starts at 2:30PM, with participants battling for an array of fabulous prizes. A mere $10 will purchase a certified racing duck to enter in the race (MUCH less expensive than a high-strung thoroughbred horse), or you can purchase a “Quack Pack” for $30 and receive 4 ducks for the price of 3 (all to better your chances of victory). Prior to the official duck race, the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District will conduct its own race of “Yucky Duckies” to promote clean water. If you would like to purchase a duck for the race or wish to find out more about this event, visit: http://www.reedyriverduckderby.com.

One of the most anticipated openings in Downtown Greenville is the start of The Saturday Market. Visitors and locals alike are invited to take a morning stroll on Main Street (at Court Street) every Saturday from May to October to experience the delectable sights, sounds, scents and flavors of this favorite Downtown tradition. The 2013 market season starts up again this Saturday, May 4, from 8AM until noon. Featuring the finest in fresh local produce, beautiful crafts by area artisans and live music by some of the region’s best talent, The Saturday Market is family friendly fun for all! For more information and a calendar of weekly events, visit http://saturdaymarketlive.com.

The next event is also one of Greenville’s favorite May events – The Red Party. Each year, AID Upstate invites others to “Dine With Friends” as part of their annual fundraising and Aids Awareness campaign. After having dinner with your pals, participants are invited to The Red Party to enjoy drinks at the cash bar and free desserts. Everyone is welcome to come and “Dance Your Face Off” at this year’s Silver Jubilee soiree at ZEN Greenville on Saturday, May 4th. The festivities will start up at 9PM and last until midnight! There is no need to purchase advance tickets, but a $25 donation is required (and greatly appreciated) at the door. Funds raised will provide supportive services to those Upstate families affected by HIV/AIDS. For more information on The Red Party, AID Upstate or to participate in “Dining With Friends” visit https://www.facebook.com/TheRedParty.

Women in high heels…fashionably elegant …Men in high heels…side-splitting hilarity! See how the “other half” lives or just come get your chuckles – all for a great cause – at the 2nd Annual Men’s High Heel Race on Sunday, May 5. The stillettoed, testosterone-fueled masses will meet up at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen at 9AM, before making the mad “diva dash” down Main Street, in a riotous competition for some really cool prizes! All proceeds benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research (JDRF) in the Western Carolinas. Want to don your best pair of pumps and take part? Registration is going on now (through Friday, May 3) for a participation fee of $25. Participants will be treated to post-run brunch at Ford’s where they can kick off their heels and rest their tired tootsies! For more information, or to register for the race, visit https://www.facebook.com/MensHighHeelRaceGreenvilleSc.

So there you have it Downtownies…a virtual plethora of May happenings. Check next week’s blog for “Part Two” of this article. Until then, have fun, be safe and see you Downtown! Now, if I could only find a tiny jockey to ride my Duck Derby entry, I’d be set!



When the dogwoods and azaleas bloom on North Main and the temps start to rise, so do the number of really cool festivals Downtown! This weekend, two wonderful festivals, for some equally wonderful causes, will be taking place on and near Main Street. So, if you adore a little wine and jazz or if the smell of bar-be-que makes your heart beat a little faster, head Downtown to pay homage to three of this Southern Girl’s favorite things!

Fine Wine and Smooth Jazz go together like…well …wine and jazz! If you are a lover of both, then join your fellow wine & jazz connessieurs on Friday, April 26, for the Reedy River Jazz & Wine Festival. Starting at 6PM (until 10PM) some of the best regional jazz musicians will be taking the TD Stage at The Peace Center Amphitheatre. The line-up of talent includes locals such as the Anderson University Jazz Ensemble and the Keith Davis Trio, as well as the marvelous jazz vocals of Carol Ingbretsen and the Afro-Cuban jazz fusion of Con Clave. Add to that some delectable food from Larkin’s on the River, amazing wines and the gorgeous views of the Reedy River, all to benefit our local Ronald McDonald House, and you have a mighty fine festival indeed! Tickets are $60 in advance, $65 at the gate (half price for students & military (with ID) and those over 65) and are available online at http://www.reedyriverjazzandwinefestival.org.

Few things get my heart & taste buds jumping like a big ‘ol plate of South Carolina BBQ! And for the meat lovers of our city, no one-day BBQ Cook-off will do! For two days, April 26 & 27th, the succulent aromas of freshly made pulled pork, ribs and chicken wings will invade Downtown Greenville – particularly, the corner of South Main & Broad Streets, as the Project Host BBQ Cook-Off & Festival returns. Benefitting this wonderful local charity, this annual event, now in its fourth year, will feature some of the best local and regional chefs around! Friday will feature a “People’s Choice Chicken Wing Competition” where chefs will test their culinary skills with this favorite snack. Saturday’s competition will feature pulled pork butts and ribs. The event runs from 6PM -10PM on Friday and 11AM – 10PM on Saturday (Saturday tasting is from 11AM – 2:30PM). Those wishing to participate in the judging can purchase tickets to taste for $1 or for $10, you can purchase a big plate of BBQ! For more information, visit http://www.projecthost.org/bbq.

So, there you have it Downtownies! You can sit back, listen to some great jazz while sipping wine by the Reedy River. Or you can stuff your face with pulled pork, chicken wings and ribs! Or do both! And it all goes to some great causes! What could be better! See you there!



Anyone who knows me knows of the deep, profound love I have for the music genre known as “The Blues”. Some of my earliest (& fondest) memories include sitting with my dad, listening to old, scratchy LP’s of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King…and of course, the great Robert Johnson. But one of my favorite bluesmen was an obscure musician from right here in the Upstate – Pink Anderson. Like many bluesmen, Pink was born in the rural South (Laurens, SC). Often thought of as the “Father of the Piedmont Blues”, he spent most of his career performing with a traveling medicine show and only made a few recordings before being “re-discovered” by young blues enthusiasts in the 1960’s. The art-rock band Pink Floyd was named in his honor (and NC bluesman, Floyd Council).

Downtown Greenville continues to honor its blues heritage with many venues featuring the music genre and many young (and not-so-young) musicians following in Pink’s musical footsteps. One of my favorite events at which to immerse myself in Downtown’s current blues scene is Smiley’s Blues Night at Smiley’s Acoustic Café. Presented by Palmetto Drum Co, this rockin’ bluesfest features some of the best musicians and songwriters our region has to offer. Join other blues fans every Wednesday evening to get schooled in the blues at this free jam session. For more information, visit http://www.smileysacousticcafe.com.

New on the blues scene, but already becoming a Downtown music landmark is Blues Boulevard Jazz. Located in RiverPlace (next to Riverworks Art Gallery), this cozy, intimate club offers some of the best local, regional and national talent anywhere. With live music every Tuesday – Saturday, it’s easy to catch your favorite performing blues and jazz standards, as well as original material, many of whom were regular performers at the now-closed Brown Street Club. For more information and a calendar of events, visit http://bluesboulevardjazzgreenville.com.

If you prefer your blues with a heavy dash of jazz, then High Cotton is the place to be! This “high-steppin’” eatery also features live jazz and blues every weekend, including a Jazz Brunch every Sunday. Featuring smaller trios of musicians, this club will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back into the 1920’s. For more information, visit http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/greenville.

Of course, another great way to catch the very best in Greenville’s blues scene is Main Street Fridays. Spotlighting the kings (and queens) of the blues jazz, with a little funk and soul thrown in for good measure, this free, outdoor concert series is one of Downtown’s most beloved spring/summer events. Join other music lovers every Friday (5:30PM) at NOMA Square to enjoy some wicked blues, swingin’ jazz, cool funk and sultry soul that’ll have you dancing in the streets in no time! For more information (and a band schedule) visit http://www.facebook.com/mainstreetfridays.

So there you have it blues lovers…Downtown Greenville’s certainly got the blues…and how! So, if you’re in the mood for something more than just the regular musical menu of hard rock, pop covers and dance tunes, give the blues a go! You’ll be glad you did!

A Little Something Extra: If you happen to notice any these bands performing at your favorite venue, be sure to catch their performance to really get a taste of the blues:

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues: This local musician is the epitome of the “blues legend”. Former bassist with The Muddy Waters Band, Mac has shared the stage with such blues icons as Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. His new band, Plate Full O’ Blues, infuses new blood into his music, while still retaining its original flavor.

J. Michael King & The Catfish Po’Boys: Regulars at Smiley’s Acoustic Café, these guys truly embrace the Piedmont Blues in a way that is joyful and…well…HAPPY (I know, “happy blues” is definitely an oxymoron). Long time fans of the Greenville music scene may recognize Michael & Joe from their former band, Jellyroll Antennae.

Marcus King (The Marcus King Band): This teen phenom’s guitar licks will blow your socks off! It should come as no surprise that he is the son of another local blues guitar icon, Marvin King. Be sure to catch this guy perform before he becomes a huge star!

Palmetto Swamp Congregation: With a frontman named Wolfman, you just know this band can play the blues. Mixed with a serious dash of Tabasco hot “swamp blues” this band’s music will have you “hootin’ & hollerin’” all night!

Craig Sorrell’s Project: Featuring some seriously funky, New Orleans style jazz, soul & blues, this band has one of the biggest (and most loyal) followings around! Inviting a host of local blues & jazz musicians to sit in, you never know who might be playing at one of their performances.

True Blues: A longtime Greenville favorite, this band offers blues/rock that harkens back to the 1960’s. Referred to a “Greenville’s House Band”, the guys can be regularly seen performing at such local venues and events as The Handlebar and Main Street Friday.

This list is just a taste…there are many more amazingly talented blues and jazz musicians to be found in this area!



The King, a bunch of guys in togas, a romantic tragedy and, of course, Norma Jean & friends, set the stage for a virtual plethora of plays in Downtown Greenville. From rock n’ roll to vaudeville, Roman-style and Shakespeare’s greatest love story to Norma Jean & Bubba’s take on Victor Hugo, there is a little something for theatre lovers of all kinds. Check out what’s onstage this weekend in Downtown Greenville:

“Elvis Has Left The Building” at The Greenville Little Theatre, April 5 – 20
It is 1970 and the King of Rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley, is nowhere to be found. Desperate to find someone to fill in for a very important live performance, Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, is going to great lengths to find a stand-in. This “riotously funny” story will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter and keep you guessing right up until the end! Performances are at 8PM Thursday-Saturday, with 3PM matinee performances on Sunday. Tickets are $18 – $26 and are on sale now at the Greenville Little Theatre Box Office or online at http://www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum” at Centre Stage, March 28 – April 21This fast-paced, irreverent story takes comedy back to its earliest days, combining the time-tested, 2000 year old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville. A non-stop feast of farce, this tale follows the crafty slave, Pseudolus, as he seeks to woo the beautiful, but not-so-bright courtesan, Philia, for his master, in exchange for his own freedom. Hilarity ensues as a colorful cast of shady neighbors get involved. Performances are at 8PM Thursday – Saturday and 3PM on Sundays. Tickets are $15 to $25 and are available online at http://www.centrestage.org.

“The Miserables” at Café & Then Some, currently running until Norma Jean & Bubba say to stopThe crew at Café & Then Some can always be counted on to offer a unique, down-home, chicken-fried, Southern take on a classic story. “The Miserables” is no exception. In this hilarious musical comedy by Charles Whisenant, Norma Jean shares her powerful, heartfelt saga in song (and maybe dance). Performances start at 8PM-ish, Wednesday – Saturday. Reservations are required for this homespun dinner theatre and can be made by calling 232-2287 or online at http://www.cafeats.com.

“Romeo & Juliet” at The Warehouse Theatre, March 22 – April 13If your taste in theatrical performances leans more towards the dramatically tragic, then The Warehouse Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet” is for you. This classic tale of young love and woe follows two star-crossed lovers as they defy their families wishes and are joined together for eternity. Don’t miss this final chance to see this beautifully acted telling of what many believe to be William Shakespeare’s greatest work. Performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8PM. Tickets are $30 and are available now at http://www.warehousetheatre.com.

So, there you have it, Downtown thespians…3 kinds of funny with a little tragedy thrown in for good measure. Who says you can’t find good theatre in Greenville? You just need to look in the right places! See you Downtown!



“I can truthfully say, in all my playing days … I never shirked a duty to baseball.” – Shoeless Joe Jackson

As the dogwoods start to bloom on North Main Street and the mild temps call you to Falls Park, the West End comes alive with the sounds of cheering crowds and the distinctive “CRACK” of baseball bats. When the Greenville Drive’s 2013 season opens Thursday, April 4th, it will be the latest chapter in this city’s rich baseball history. For more than a century, Greenville has been involved in a deeply committed love affair with “America’s Game”.

Long before The Drive…or even the G-Braves…came to town, the surrounding mill towns and their baseball teams had already given us local heroes whose prowess at bat was the stuff of legends. Undoubtedly the greatest of these near-mythical figures was Joe Jackson. Dubbed “Shoeless Joe” by fans, this humble man started his extraordinary baseball career right here in Greenville. The son of a sharecropper, Joe first went to work in textile mills as a child. As a young teen, he was recruited to join the mill’s baseball team as its youngest player. First positioned as a pitcher, Joe was quickly moved to left field, the position he would play for the rest of his career, after his massive fastball actually broke another player’s arm. But it was at bat that Joe really made his mark. Swinging his beloved “Black Betsy”, Joe set record after record – many of which stll stand today. His remarkable talent soon caught the eye of major league scouts. After playing with several professional teams, Joe was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1915. Over the next four seasons, he became Chicago’s favorite sports hero, leading the league in batting statistics and winning the admiration of fans and fellow players alike. Babe Ruth even modeled his batting style after Joe’s and Ty Cobb said Joe was “the finest natural hitter in the history of the game”. Joe’s legend began to crumble when he and seven of his teammates were accused of “throwing’ the 1919 World Series in what became known as the “Black Sox Scandal”. Despite the fact that Jackson had 12 hits (a Series record), a .375 batting average (the best of both teams) committed no errors, and he and the other seven were acquitted of fraud charges, the “Chicago Eight” were banned from baseball for life by Commissioner Kennesaw Landis. He never played professional baseball again after the 1920 season. After residing in various towns throughout the South, Joe returned to Greenville in 1933 where he and his wife opened a liquor store. Jackson remained a beloved citizen of his hometown until his death in 1951. He is buried next to his wife, Katie, in Greenville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park. Shoeless Joe continues to be a hero to baseball fans all over the world. He still hold franchise records for both the Indians and the White Sox for both triples in a season and career batting average. He was a pivotal character in the films “Eight Men Out” and “Field of Dreams”. In 1999, he was #35 on “The Sporting News’” list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was chosen by MLB fans as the 12th best outfielder of all time. Yet, despite vast amounts of evidence proclaiming his innocence and numerous pleas from fans, Greenville citizens, professional ball players and even members of Congress, Shoeless Joe continues to be blacklisted from baseball, thus preventing his well-deserved inclusion in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The house where Joe spent his final years can be visited by fans today. In 2006, his modest home was dismantled and moved from its original site on Wilburn Avenue to its current location on Field Street, across from Fluor Field, to become the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library. The house number was changed to 356 to reflect Jackson’s lifetime batting average. The not-for-profit museum displays records, photographs, films and personal artifacts from Joe’s baseball career and historic life. An impressive collection of books pertaining to baseball and its place in American culture, were mostly donated by baseball enthusiasts and are now housed in the room which once held Joe’s trophies. The admission to this poignant museum is free (although donations are greatly appreciated). It is open Saturdays from 10AM to 2PM.

More of Shoeless Joe’s legacy in Greenville is found Downtown. A life-size statue, depicting Joe in his White Sox uniform, swinging for the bleachers, can be seen outside the West End Market in Shoeless Joe Jackson Plaza. The statue was created in the lobby of City Hall in full view of visitors and locals alike. Artist Doug Young made this piece a true community project, allowing guests to participate in the creation of the work by kneading the clay used in the sculpture. The work was unveiled on July 13, 2002 in a ceremony attended by over 700 people. In West Greenville, just off Shoeless Joe Memorial Highway, is the Shoeless Joe Memorial Park. Once part of the thriving Brandon Mill community (Jackson’s childhood home), this 8 acre park property features a lighted baseball field, dugouts, a playground and picnic shelters and is located near where Joe played baseball as a boy.

When the Greenville Drive takes the field this spring, fans will have the chance to take part in Greenville’s historic baseball legacy. Since their 2005 move to Greenville, this Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox has been embraced by baseball fans and non-fans alike. Their home stadium at Fluor Field shares dimensions with their parent club’s major league field at Fenway Park. It even boasts its own “Green Monster” – complete with a manual scoreboard just like the original, and “Pesky’s Pole” in right field. Fluor Field was named “Ballpark of the Year” in 2006 by Baseballparks.com – beating out such legendary stadiums as St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. Although many fans lobbied to have the team name changed to “The Greenville Joes” in honor of our city’s favorite son, the name “Greenville Drive” reflects Greenville’s automotive history and ties to the industry through BMW and Michelin.

So join us Downtown to cheer on the home team and while you’re there, take in some of Greenville’s incredible baseball history. What could be more All-American? GO DRIVE!

For more info…
Greenville Drive: Greenville’s Class A minor league team opens their season on April 4th, with home games at Fluor Field also taking place at 7PM the 5th & 6th and a 4PM game on Sunday the 7th. Tickets are available for $7-$9 in advance or $8-$10 at the gate. For a full schedule, statistics and a team roster, visit http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t428

Shoeless Joe Jackson: To learn more about the amazing life and career of Greenville’s favorite baseball legend, visit http://www.shoelessjoejackson.com/

Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library: This wonderful museum, in Jackson’s former home, is open Saturdays, 10AM – 2PM. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. It is located on Field Street, across from Fluor Field. For more information, visit: http://www.shoelessjoejackson.org

Shoeless Joe’s Gravesite: Joe and his wife, Katie, are buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park, located at the corner of Wade Hampton Boulevard and Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville. To locate the grave, turn at the first right after entering the cemetery, then bear left at the “Y”. Stop approximately 30 feet short of the next intersection and look along the left curb for the Landers plot. Joe’s grave is marked with a flat marker 9 rows behind Landers. If you cannot find it, ask employees in the Administrative Office and they will show you.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Statue: This life-size statue of Joe is located in Shoeless Joe Jackson Plaza beside the West End Market. For more information, visit http://www.greenvillesc.gov/Culture/ArtinPublicPlaces/Shoeless.htm

Shoeless Joe Memorial Park: Located in West Greenville’s historic Brandon Mill Community, this recreation park features a lighted baseball park and dugouts. For more information, visit: http://greenvillerec.com/parks/4/shoeless-joe/



It’s SPRING! That time of year when Downtown erupts into a riot of color as trees & flowers bloom and people venture out after a long winter, eager to don their shorts & flip-flops and enjoy all that Downtown has to offer. Spring also signals the return of two of Downtown’s most beloved music events – Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays.

Music lovers of all ages are encouraged to gather at NOMA Square (in front of The Hyatt) every Thursday at 5:30PM to experience some of the best musical talent the Southeast has to offer! The 2013 season of Downtown Alive kicks off the first official day of Spring (March 21st), with the 8 piece guitar driven southern funk rock of TJ Lazer & the New Detriots. The March lineup also features Orangeburg country crooner, Brad Jennings on the 28th. April not only spotlights some sweet bluegrass from local favorites, The Piedmont Boys, but also features a trio of acts from the Charleston area like Downtown regulars, Stereo Reform and The Tarletons, as well as a newcomer to DTA, Brave Baby. May does not disappoint with a plethora of rock, soul & Americana to choose from in the homegrown music of Mark Webb, Old You, Lyric and The Soul feathers…not to mention a kilt-flaring Scottish ceildh with The City of Greenville Pipes & Drums and the Celtic rock of Cleghorn to kick-off the Greenville Scottish Games on the 23rd! As the temps heat up, so does the music with June performances by cover band, The Sound Committee, local YouTube darlings, Outshyne, Downtown funk diva, Kelly Jo Connect and local fave, singer/songwriter Doug McCormick. Don’t let the steamy July & August weather keep you indoors…or you will miss some AMAZING music, like alternative tunes of The Wheresville Project, Charleston-based songwriter, Luke Cunningham, and Downtown music scene regular, Benton Blount in July and Midlands newcomers, The Reggie Sullivan Band, the adventure of Bushfire Stankgrass, the big ’80′s hair, flashback fun of Retro Vertigo and the incendiary guitar finesse of teen phenom, Marcus King & his band! Downtown Alive winds up with a performance by the winner of the Last Band Standing Battle of the Bands on the 29th.

If your taste in music leans more towards hot jazz and cool blues, then Main Street Fridays is the event for you! Join all the other music aficionados on Fridays at 5:30PM in NOMA Square to start your weekend in style! This year’s Friday musicfest begins with the powerhouse beach sounds of Jumpstreet on March 22nd. Also in March, enjoy the smooth sounds of Charlotte natives, 5th and York. April plays host to some familiar favorites such as True Blues and Wanda Johnson, as well as some new sounds on the Downtown music scene such as Soul Stew and Hot As A Pepper. Fridays get funky in May with a wealth of righteous local talent – Southern Crescent, Green Vegas, The Jamie Wright Experience, Wine Down and The Groove Planet with Whitney Walters. Hot temps equal hot tunes and there is plenty of both this summer with The Flashbacks, Shades of Brown, The Nightcrawlers and The Swingin’ Richards appearing in June, and The Derrick Dorsey Band, NuSound, 20 Point Turn and Cosmic getting July all hot & bothered. August starts to really rockin’ with The Robbie Ducey Band, Tobacco Road and The Rock & Roll Reunion and The Craig Sorrells Project and The Wiredogs bring on the heat to finish out the month. This much good music can’t just be contained in two seasons, so MSF continues the music experience into September with the wicked swamp rock of the Palmetto Swamp Congregation, the energetic showmanship of Encore, the scaulding hot funky rhythms of Earsight and the wild ride that is The China Bulls finishing up the MSF season with a bang!

These much loved music series’ are completely free and are enjoyed weekly by thousands of music lovers. Beer and other beverages are available for sale, but an ID bracelet as proof of age(for a cost of $1) is required to purchase alcohol. And like most city-sponsored events, families are welcome, but please leave your pets at home. For more information on these events, visit the official city page at http://www.greenvillesc.gov. See you Downtown!



This is the week that I find myself craving that perfectly poured Guinness. And not poured by just anyone, but by a curly-haired bartender with a gleam in his eye, an adorable accent and a name like Sean or Declan. If you find yourself looking for more “grown-up” festivities for St. Patrick’s Day, then look no further than Downtown Greenville, where there is music and merriment and St. Paddy’s parties abound!

Want to immerse yourself completely in the Irish beverage experience, but unsure of which one to try? Then let The Greenville Beer Exchange tutor you on that subject. As part of their weekly free beer tastings, GBX will be introducing beer lovers to all the wonderful beers, ales and stouts that hail from the Emerald Isle this Thursday, the 14th. The tasting begins at 5PM and continues until 7PM. Like some of the beer you’ve sampled? Then you may want to take home a growler of your favorite to share with your friends (or keep all to yourself)! For more info, visit http://greenvillebeerexchange.com.

On Friday, March 15th, Sharkey’s Pub asks “Who’s Your Paddy?” This ever-popular, annual Bar Bus Tour will visit at least 6 of Greenville’s friendliest drinking establishments (and maybe more) to allow revelers to celebrate St. Paddy’s in style! Festivities start at 6:15PM at Sharkey’s Pub and the bus rolls out from there. This pub crawl includes t-shirts and door prizes that’ll have you dancing an Irish jig (or if that doesn’t, the drink specials certainly will)! The cost is $20 in advance / $25 the day of the pub crawl. To register and for details, visit http://www.rockhousegreenville.com.

Saturday, March 16th, will see a plethora of St. Patrick’s parties taking place Downtown. Wild Wing Café invites you to revisit the ‘80’s with everyone’s favorite flashback band, Retro Vertigo! With a play list that is certain include everything from Van Morrison to U2, you can find yourself transported back to the time of Bono’s “uber-mullet”. For info, call 242-9453. The Velo Fellow celebrates Ireland’s patron saint with drink specials on Murphy’s Irish Stout and Irish Car Bombs, a wondrous thing called “Pudding Shots” for $1 and an Irish-themed menu that includes such amazing food items as Irish nachos and corned beef plates. Top that off with a musical performance by local bluegrass band, BearWallow, and you have a celebration that even St. Pat himself would enjoy! For details, call 242-9296. Chicora Alley’s festivities are not only a nod to Greenville’s Celtic roots, but a birthday bash for two of her favorite local musicians, Jef Chandler and Jeff Buchanan, as well! Jef & Jeff, together with fellow musician, Brian Buffalo, invite you to don your green apparel and join them for all the fun! Call 232-4100 to find out more.

Not Downtown, but nearby, are two excellent pubs in which to raise a pint to toast the Emerald Isle. The Irish Pub, located on Pleasantburg – and owned and operated by an Irish guy named Patrick (really!) – throws the grandaddy of all Irish parties, so big that it takes up the entire weekend! With live Irish music, complete with pipers and step dancers, and authentic Irish beer, stout & ale, this party celebrates all things Irish (hey, even the bartenders are Irish)! The fun starts Saturday, the 16th and continues until Patrick throws everyone out. Then it all starts up again on Sunday, the 17th! Not to be outdone, Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub on Laurens Road invites you to their St. Patty’s DAZE. Starting Thursday, March 14th and continuing through the 16th, and offering food and drink specials, door prizes and live music, this event and this pub are definitely worth checking out!

Although, one of Downtown’s favorite St. Patrick’s events, The Blarney Bash, will not be happening this year, Greenville offers many ways to get your Irish on! So, pull on that “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt and your shamrock sunglasses, dye your hair green and head Downtown to Party with St. Paddy! But, however you decide to celebrate, have fun and be safe! Erin Go Braugh!



Well, March is upon us and Downtown Greenville is starting look even more GREEN than usual! For the Irish and the “wish they were Irish” this is the most wonderful time of the year! And Downtown has plenty of ways for even the youngest “wee ones” to join in on the St. Paddy’s Day fun!

Festivities for the “greenest ‘ of all holidays kick off with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10th. Celtic revelers will don their green apparel to stroll down Main Street and celebrate all that is Irish! With an eclectic array of Irish music, step dance teams, Irish wolfhounds, setters and other Irish dog breeds, not to mention the obligatory leprechaun or two, this free event will delight one and all! The hour (or so) long parade begins at 1PM, with participants lining up on South Main Street at Wardlaw. For more information, call 288-2922.

After the parade, join the rest of Greenville’s Irish community and “Return to the Green”. For most, this free event signals the true start of the whirlwind of St. Paddy’s celebrations. Starting at 1PM, this family-friendly shindig features Irish step dancers, Irish music from the Greenville Pipes & Drum Corps among others, authentic Irish food, the ever-popular selection of domestic and Irish beer and more Irish accents (both real and faked) than you can shake a shillelagh at. This year’s shamrock soiree takes place at Fluor Field with festivities continuing until 6PM. For details, visit http://www.returntothegreensc.com.

The Children’s Museum gets into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit with some special events for all the lads & lassies. Wee ones ages 5 and under can make beautiful Mosaic Shamrocks from cut paper in TCMU’s “S is for Shamrock” art classes. The classes take place daily, at various times, from March 12 through March 16. The classes are free with museum admission and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit http://www.tcmupstate.org.

The Augusta Road Library welcomes all the little leprechauns to join them on Saturday, March 16, for “A Wee Bit of Blarney”. This St. Patrick’s Day celebration will feature Irish stories, holiday crafts and green refreshments. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 277-0161 for more information.

Also on March 16th, The Palmetto Children’s Charity invites you to join them at Fluor Field for the 2nd annual St. Patty’s Dash & Bash. Featuring certified 5k and 10k runs, as well as a children’s “Fun Run” and other kid-friendly activities, this family-centered event benefits local children’s charities like The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Let There Be Mom and Camp Spearhead. Although the event itself is free, there is a $25 registration fee for those wishing to participate in the 5k and 10k runs. Packet pickup is at Fluor Field from noon to 7PM on March 15 and 6:30AM to 7:30AM the day of the race, which begins at 8AM. To register and to find out more, visit http://www.stpattysdashandbash.com.

Another event seeking to make a difference is the annual St. Baldrick’s event at Larkin’s on the River. This annual event, which benefits childhood cancer research, is a much beloved St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Festivities begin at 1PM on March 17th. Whether you’re a spectator, a donor or one of those brave souls allowing their heads to be shaved in the name of charity, you cannot help but be moved and inspired by this event. For more information and to donate, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org.

So, there is no excuse not to head Downtown to shake your shamrocks a bit on St. Paddy’s Day! Just be sure to wear something green or you may get pinched! Details regarding more “adult-oriented” St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be in next week’s blog. Until then, “May the Road rise up to meet You, & may the Wind be always at your back.” Happy St. Paddy’s Day!



et cetera
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