downtowngreenvillegirl











(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!

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I just love the old classic movies…the good ones, the bad ones and the ones that are so bad, they’re good! And I really love getting to see them in new and different ways. This month, Downtown Greenville gives you two options of experiencing time-honored classics – both of the traditional & cult classic varieties – that will be tons of fun for you and your fellow cinema addicts.

 

One of my favorite events to take place in Downtown Greenville is Moonlight Movies. Every May & September, classic old movies, starring legends of old Hollywood, are shown on an outdoor screen for your viewing pleasure.  This family friendly, free movie event takes place every Wednesday evening around 8-ish.  Due to construction at the Peace Center, the location for Moonlight Movies has been moved to Falls Park. Movie lovers will have the chance to experience such classics as “High Noon”, starring Gary Cooper (on September 5th), “12 Angry Men”, starring Henry Fonda (September 12th) and “An American in Paris”, starring Gene Kelly (September 19th). Classic cinema aficionados will  even have the opportunity to choose what movie will be shown as the finale of this event. For the September 26th screening, viewers can choose between “Roman Holiday” (starring Audrey Hepburn),  “On the Waterfront” (starring Marlon Brando) or  “To Catch a Thief” (starring Cary Crant & Grace Kelly).  Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome at this event, but please leave your pets at home.  Drinks (of both the alcoholic & non-alcoholic variety) will be available for sale, but individuals consuming alcohol at the event will need to purchase a $1 wristband. Like all City of Greenville events, Moonlight Movies is smoke-free. For more information, a movie schedule or to vote for your Viewers’ Choice, visit http://www.greenvillesc.gov/PublicInfo_Events/MoonlightMovies.

 

If you prefer your classics to be more of the “cult” variety, then has the Warehouse Theatre got a show for you! Back by popular demand, that campy fave, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is returning  September 7th in all its theatrical glory to the stage at the Warehouse Theatre.  Starring Will Ragland as Frankenfurter, this year’s production promises to be even bigger, better & bawdier!  Performances are 8PM on September 7 – 8, 13-15, 20-22 & 27-29th, with special midnight performances taking place on Saturdays (the 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th). Tickets are $40 and are selling fast (the last time “Rocky Horror” was performed, shows sold out in record time).  For those wanting a “behind the scenes” glimpse of this popular production, the theatre will hold a WHT Forum on Wednesday, September 5th at 6PM. For more information on this and other Warehouse Theatre productions, visit http://www.warehousetheatre.com.

 

So, there you have it movies lovers…Downtown gives you the chance to be in a gunfight at high noon, get angry with Juror #8, dance in Paris or even do the Time Warp! Hey, it’s just a jump to the left…



{August 7, 2012}   The Promise of Fall

When I stepped outside the other morning, the air held a hint of coolness signaling the fact that the Summer season had turned a corner. I came to the happy realization that Fall is on its way. There is just something special about Autumn in The South. I know, I know…every tourism board is convinced that their part of the country is the most beautiful in which to spend this season, but to this Greenville Girl, nothing beats Fall’s approach in the Upstate of SC.

From mid-August through September, depending how far below the Mason-Dixon line you are,  this favorite season starts to make itself apparent. The humidity finally dips to breathable levels, the mornings are noticeably cooler and even the air starts to smell like…well, FALL (which I think smells like apples).  Other than the occasional torrential rainstorm that chooses to rear its ugly head, the weather is bordering on near perfection.

People from other parts of the country may wonder why Fall is such an event in the nine states that make up the American South. Because to Southerners, Autumn is the reward for surviving an Endless Summer – which in Dixie, is not nearly as idyllic as The Beach Boys made it sound. You see, here in the South, Spring does not last 3 months like it does in the rest of the country, it lasts 3 weeks. Temps go from enjoyable to resembling Hell’s Sauna in a heartbeat. And they stay that way for four long months! Want to know why Southerners walk and talk so slow? Because to do anything fast during this time in the South will most certainly end in heat stroke.

So, what makes this current time of the year so magical in Downtown Greenville? Because the cooler mornings and lower humidity gives us hope that, although it’s still officially Summer, Autumn is reaching out with the promise of crisp temps, glorious colors & many of the things that make living here great! For Downtownies, that alone is reason for celebration! And celebrate we do – with Moonlight Movies in September, Fall for Greenville in October and all the many Fall Festivals that pop up around the area. For sports fans like me, Fall means that most “sacred” of Southern traditions…FOOTBALL! Downtown becomes a palette of orange, garnet and purple, with sports bars coming alive with fans cheering on their favorite teams and gathering after to enjoy a post-game meal at an outdoor cafe, while reliving the action with fellow fans.

So, make a little time to visit Downtown during this wonderful time of year, when Summer is making its departure and Autumn is planning its arrival. Enjoy an outdoor concert as Downtown Alive, Main Street Fridays and Rhythm on the River wind up their seasons. Stop into one of the amazing restaurants and sample some of their savory Fall delicacies such as hot apple pie or pumpkin cheesecake. Visit the Saturday Market to check out their fresh Fall produce – like butternut and acorn squash, pumpkins and apples – and have a cup of hot apple cider while you’re there.  Visit the unique shops to see beautiful hand-knit items, most created by local artisans. The weeks leading up to the official start of Fall are truly a magical time of year in Downtown Greenville…and a time you really shouldn’t miss!



We all know that Downtown Greenville is so picturesque, that it looks almost like a movie set. And it has been cast in a major role as background for several area commercials and indie films as well as being a gracious hostess to numerous stars of the big and little screen, including Renee Zellweger and George Clooney. But now DTGVL is taking a place behind the camera to play host to its first ever International Film Festival.

The 2012 International Film Festival will be held at various Downtown locations starting April 25th with an Opening Ceremony and Soiree at ZEN. The festival will feature about 50 independent films from all over the US and the world. Films range from short documentaries and narrative shorts to animated films and “green” films. The directorial talent ranges from international filmmakers to students to up-and-coming filmmakers – including local filmmaker, James Wiley of Riverside High. Films are shown in “Blocks” of 4 – 6 films in a 2-3 hour period. Coffee Underground, ZEN, The Kroc Center and The Upcountry History Museum are among the venues that will be hosting these events. Tickets for these screenings are $10. Tickets for other festival events range from $25 – $40 per event – or you can purchase a VIP Festival Pass, which gives you access to all events, for $99. For a list of featured films, screening times and ticket information, visit: www.gviff.com.

Centre Stage and ZEN will also offer various workshops hosted by award winning professionals from the film industry.  Topics range from “The Art of the Documentary” (hosted by Emmy winner, Harvey Hubbell V) to “Digital Filmmaking Tools” (with Academy award winner, Dr. Jerry Tessendorf).  The cost for these intensive workshops ranges from $25 – $30. Not to be left out, Warehouse Theatre offers its own homage to the film-making industry with “The Importance of Film and Movies in our American Lives”. As part of their WHT Forum Series, this engaging dialogue is centered around one of the Warehouse Theatre’s mainstage productions: “39 Steps”. The forum takes place on Wednesday, April 25 at 6PM and is free and open to the public.

If you find that you can’t get enough film after the Film Festival…not to worry. The Peace Center offers an array of film features for movie enthusiasts. Their “Downtown Films” series offers locals and visitors alike the chance to see films you can’t see anywhere else – from the hottest independent films, acclaimed foreign features, and beloved cinema classics. Digital surround sound and HD, not to mention the availability of beer and wine, make your viewing experience even better. The next film screening, “Monsieur Lazhar” (a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee) is scheduled for May 24th. Tickets are $9 with general admission seating. Opera and ballet aficionados need not feel left out – the Peace Center has thought of you as well. Their “Opera and Ballet in Cinema” Series features live performances and encore presentations of beloved classics from the worlds of opera and ballet – performed by the greatest artists of our time. Next on the schedule are the opera “Rigoletto” from the Royal Opera House in London on May 13th and “La Fille Mal Gardee”, a live streaming performance from the London Royal Ballet. Tickets for these screenings are $20. For a full schedule of both “Downtown Films” and “Opera and Ballet in Cinema”, visit: www.peace center.org.

If your budget favors something more on the “Free” side, don’t fret. Starting in May, Downtown Greenville will again be playing host to Moonlight Movies every Wednesday. This free, outdoor screening of beloved family and classic movies will take place at Falls Park around 8PM-ish. The series starts with a screening of “The Muppet Movie” on May 2nd. 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/PublicInfo_Events/MoonlightMovies.aspx

Other venues in Downtown Greenville offer opportunities to see a variety of indie and classic films as well. Coffee Underground often shows screenings of indie films in their private theater. The Upstate History Museum also plays host to movie screenings of films that have historical significance. The schedule varies so check with the venues for more information.

So, as you see, Downtown Greenville gives movie lovers of all types a diversity of opportunities to see films they might otherwise not have a chance to see. So, gather up your fellow film fanatics to view something other than your run-of-the-mill blockbuster movie. You’ll be glad you did!



When the days get longer and the temps warm up, Downtown Greenville “springs” into action with a flurry of great outdoor events. Everything from outdoor concerts and movie screenings, to farmer’s markets and festivals…DTGVL has a little something for everyone!  And the best thing? Most of them are FREE! So, round up your family and friends and head Downtown for a little fun in the sun!

March kicks things off with two of Downtown’s favorite concert events: Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays. Chosen as one of the Best Places to Hear Free Live Music by fans of the Downtown Greenville, SC Facebook Page, Downtown Alive takes place every Thursday around 5:30PM at the Hyatt Plaza. Featuring some of the best musical talent the Upstate (and beyond) has to offer, this year’s concert series starts March 15th with a performance by local favorite, Kelly Jo Connect.  Not to be outdone, Main Street Fridays (which shares DTA’s Main Street venue and 5:30 timeslot), gets Downtown groovin’ on March 16th with the sweet funky sounds of Chocolate Thunder.  These free concerts continue until late August / September and are the music lover’s ritual that signals the start of the weekend.

April sees not only the continuation of DTA & MSF, but also Greenville’s very first International Film Festival. The goal of this multi-day event is to unite film enthusiasts and filmmakers from around the world to display the power of visual storytelling, creative excellence, and imagination of independent filmmaking. The event begins April 25th and continues until the 28th. Several Downtown locations will share hosting duties including Coffee Underground, ZEN, Centre Stage and The Kroc Center. Martial Arts and Eastern philosophy enthusiasts may enjoy taking part in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on April 28th. This special event, held at Falls Park, will celebrate, demonstrate and educate the public on Tai Chi and Qigong. If your life’s philosophy includes BBQ, then you will not want to miss Project Host’s BBQ Festival on April 27th and 28th. Pulled pork aficionados will gather on Broad Street for a fun-filled festival with entertainment, crafts, cooking competitions and best of all…BBQ! Be sure to bring your appetite!

DTGVL’s calendar really revs up in May with a smorgasbord of fun! The merriment begins May 2 with Moonlight Movies. Featuring everything from family favorites like “The Muppet Movie” to nostalgic cinema classics such as “An American in Paris”, everyone from Grandma to the kids will find a film they like. Screenings take place every Wednesday in May around 8PM and due to the construction at The Peace Center, will happen in a new Falls Park location this year. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcomed (and fun), but like most City-sponsored events, pets are prohibited.

The first weekend in May will also see the return of the Saturday Market. This outdoor farmers’ market, features locally grown, farm-fresh foods as well as locally grown crafts, and begins May 5th at its long-time location on Court Street. Like the name implies, The Saturday Market takes place every Saturday from 8AM until noon and will run until October. Also taking place Downtown on May 5th is The Reedy River Rubber Duck Derby. This delightful annual event, featuring a river full of cute, little yellow rubber duckies, benefits local charities.

Thespians will be thrilled with two sophisticated events occurring in the month of May. Artisphere, one of Downtown Greenville’s premier festivals, takes place the weekend of the 11th through the 13th. Featuring the works of visual artists from all over the country, this art fest is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Although the artwork is the highlight of this event, festival goers can enjoy a diverse selection of food and beverage and as well as experience the musical talents of local bands performing on a number of stages. Fans of the Bard will be happy to hear that Shakespeare in the Park will be starting up again on May 24th. Every Thursday – Sunday evening, Falls Park will play host to the enchanting works of William Shakespeare (with a modern twist) performed by a troupe of talented actors.  Audience participation is welcomed and very much encouraged.

If you’re looking for entertainment with an ethnic flavor, May offers two fun-filled festivals featuring the cultures of Greece and Scotland. Craving baklava? Then head over to St. George Greek Orthodox Church May 17th through 20th for the Greenville Greek Festival. Don’t miss this chance  to experience everything Greek with Greenville’s Greek Community! Mad for plaid? Then Greenville’s Scottish Games are just the thing that’ll make your kilt twirl! Starting with the Great Scot Parade down Main Street and ceilidh (that’s Gaelic for party) on May 25th, the good times continue with The Games at Furman on the 26th.

In recent years, Greenville has become a mecca for cyclists and cycle enthusiasts. Once again, Downtown Greenville will place host to USA Cycling Pro Championship Road Race on the 28th, with time trials taking place on the 26th. Some streets along the race route may be temporarily closed or blocked off on the day of the race.

So, you see, there is absolutely no excuse to sit at home on the beautiful Spring days for which our area is famous. Call your friends, grab your sunglasses and head Downtown to savor all that Greenville has to offer! See you there!



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