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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!

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(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!



“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/



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!



It’s a New Year…when our lives turn a page from the past and look forward to the future. Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions to improve our lives…things like losing weight or getting more exercise. But newscaster, Ann Curry suggests a way for all of us to impact not only our lives but the lives of others in her “26 Acts of Kindness” campaign.

The terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary still weighs heavy on my heart. Whether it is the senselessness of the violence, happening so close to the holidays, or the thought of 26 lives whose futures are unfulfilled, this event has made me, like so many others, reflect on the impact my decisions have on the lives of others. My Irish grandmother always taught me that any act…good or bad…would return to us “three-fold”. She did this to show us the importance of every decision we make.

It is with this in mind that I fully embrace and wish to expand on Ann Curry’s vision – in which she invites us all to commit 26 acts of random kindness…one to represent each life lost that terrible day. I propose that we expand on that idea and make it our New Year’s Resolution to commit 26 WEEKS of Random Kindness.  Six months of committing simple acts that will brighten and improve the lives of others. It can be as grand as a sizable monetary donation to a local charity, or as humble as holding the door open for an elderly person. These acts can be committed every day of the 26 weeks, or just one per week…the choice is yours. Are you with me?

Greenville has had a long tradition of helping others. It should come as no surprise to most that our hometown was recently recognized as one of the “Most Giving Cities in the US.”  It is…after all…”The Greenville Way”.

So, I hope that you will join me in taking part in this mission. To find out more about the “26 Acts” Campaign, visit their Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/26acts. Join thousands of others who have committed themselves to this cause. ..You’ll be glad you did!



I remember how excited I would get when the local TV stations would start adding such Holiday classics as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” to their December programming schedule. I loved it when George Bailey ran through the town of Bedford Falls, yelling “Merry Christmas” or when the postal carriers brought bags of mail addressed to Santa Claus to be delivered to Kris Kringle, during his sanity trial. But, as beloved as these moments are on the small screen, they are truly memorable when you get the opportunity to see them performed live onstage by some of Greenville’s most talented actors!

Perhaps no story signals the start of the Holiday season as much as “It’s a Wonderful Life”. On everyone’s list of Holiday favorites, this time-honored story of George Bailey and his journey of self-realization will be performed at the Greenville Little Theatre starting December 7 and run through December 16. Performances take place at 8PM every Thursday through Saturday evening, with Sunday matinee performances at 3PM.  Tickets range from $20 to $30. For more information, visit www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.

Running a close second on the list of Holiday family favorites, in my opinion anyway, has to be “Miracle on 34th Street”. This tale of a little girl’s disbelief in Santa has been retold several times on the big screen and is enjoying a creative revival onstage. Currently performed every Thursday through Sunday at Centre Stage, this production will run until December 22. Performances are at 8PM, with the exception of Sunday performances, which are at 3PM. Tickets range from $15 to $30 and can be purchased through http://centrestage.org.

The South Carolina Children’s Theatre is offering its own version of a childhood twist on a popular Christmas carol. Junie B. and her first grade classmates are back again in “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”.  With weekend performances at the Peace Center Gunter Theatre (from now until December 16), this hilarious sing-a-long will delight kids and kids at heart! Performances are at 7PM on Fridays, 1:30PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $26 for adults and $17 for children under 18.  For more information, see http://scchildrenstheatre.org.

The Warehouse Theatre is offering a “plethora” of Holiday stories, certain to become classics. The first is the kid-friendly, “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t”. This delightful musical, adapted from Odgen Nash’s poem of the same name, will be performed starting December 7 at 6:30PM on Thursdays and Fridays and 3PM on Saturdays and Sundays.  Performances run through December 29 and tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 15. Adults needn’t feel left out of the Holiday fun…WHT has something for you too! Two short plays by David Sedaris, “Santaland Diaries” and “Season’s Greetings” offer a cheeky, and definitely adult, look at the Holiday season and are based on Sedaris’ own experiences with his family and as one of Santa’s Elves at Macy’s in NYC. Performances of these two “tongue definitely in cheek” comedies begin December 7 and run until the 29th. Thursday & Friday performances will take place at 8:30PM with Saturday and Sunday performances taking place at 8PM. Tickets are $30 and these performances are for adults only. For more information on these and other performances, visit www.warehousetheatre.com.

Café & Then Some can always be counted on for tickling our satirical funny bone and the Holidays are no exception! Norma Jean invites you to join her and her “over-extended” family as they stumble through the real meaning of Christmas in “Merry Christmas, Y’all”.  Performances of this dinner theatre take place every Wednesday through Saturday, with the CATS crew taking the stage around 8PM-ish. Come early for dinner, which is served from 6:30-7:30PM. Tickets are $18 (for the show only) and reservations are strongly recommended. For more information, to purchase tickets or make reservations, visit www.cafeats.com.

So there you have it…A little something for everyone! Why wait for TBS or TCM to run these Holidays favorites on TV, when you can see them performed live. Holiday entertainment from the family-friendly to the not-so-family friendly…and from the classic to the future cult classics. Whatever you are in the mood for this Holiday season, chances are, it’s on a stage near you in Downtown Greenville. Happy Holidays, Y’all!



{November 27, 2012}   It’s Christmastime in the City…

Well Downtownies…the Thanksgiving dinner has been consumed, Black Friday deals have been had & you’ve gotten carpel tunnel syndrome from all the online shopping during Cyber Monday…so, what’s next? If you are a parent, keeping the little ones (& not-so-little ones) entertained can be a bit daunting – especially with the 2-week long Holiday break looming in the near future. But not to fret, my fellow DTGVL parental units, Downtown Greenville offers many excellent events for kids of all ages, sure to keep you & your family on Santa’s NICE list!

Ask any Downtownie & they will tell you nothing kicks off the Holiday season like the Greenville Poinsettia Parade & the Christmas Tree Lighting. This year’s city Tree Lighting takes place 5:30PM on Saturday, December 1 at City Hall before the parade. Then the floats and marching bands roll out at 6PM, starting at River Street & continuing down Main, ending at  E. North Street. A favorite for all ages, families often make a day of it – taking in the sights and sounds of Downtown Greenville, before settling in at a spot along the parade route, hot chocolate or apple cider in hand.  For more information and a map of the parade route, visit www.greenvillesc.gov.

Speaking of kid-friendly fun, The Children’s Museum plans several Holiday craft projects for little creative hands and minds to keep busy during the month of December.  From designing Christmas Ornaments, to crafting Tissue Holiday Trees and mixing up Reindeer Food, there will be so much going on that you may actually make it through the Holiday season without hearing “I’m bored” even once!  The Children’s Museum’s Holiday celebration culminates with their “Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus” event on Saturday, December 15. Visit www.tcmupstate.org for more information.

Not to outdone on the Holiday fun, the Hughes Main Library has its own calendar of Holiday happenings for kids. From the craft projects at Kindercraft & InBetween classes, to  the Holiday Open House Party for kids 5 & under (Thursday, November 29 at 10:30AM) and  Santa’s Christmas Party with the Columbia Marionettes  for ages 4 & up (Friday, December 7, 10-11AM), there are tons of fun for the kids. They can even explore Holiday traditions from other countries through the Library’s “Explore Your World” program on December 4. For more information on this and other Library events,  call 527-9248.

Are your kids into music, theatre & dance? Then these events will certainly jingle their bells! The Greenville Museum of Art will be hosting the Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Lollipops Concert for Kids on Saturday, December 8. The concert begins at 11AM and is followed by a Holiday Party at 2PM. This event is free to the public. For more info, see www.greenvillemuseum.org. The South Carolina Children’s Theatre is hosting its own Holiday Pajama Party on Wednesday, December 19 from 6:30-7:30PM. This Milk & Cookies themed event will feature a Holiday story time served up with…you guessed it …Santa’s favorite snack –  milk & cookies. The cost is $10 per child (adults are free) with pre-registration required at http://scchildrenstheatre.org. Ballet fans will have two opportunities to see “The Nutcracker” performed by two amazing ballet troupes at the Peace Center. The Carolina Ballet will be performing this time-honored favorite on November 30 – December 2 and the International Ballet will be performing it December 7-9. If your family prefers to see a theatrical performance of a Holiday classic, then catch “Miracle on 34th Street” performed at Centre Stage (http://centrestage.org)November 22 – December 22, “It’s a Wonderful Life” at The Greenville Little Theatre (www.greenvillelittletheatre.org) December 7-16, “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t” at The Warehouse Theatre (www.warehousetheatre.com) December 7-29, and a play inspired by that favorite childhood twist on the classic Christmas carol – “Junie B in Jingle Bells Batman Smells” with the South Carolina Children’s Theatre (http://scchildrenstheatre.org) at the Peace Center , November 30-December 16.

The Holiday season in Downtown Greenville offers even more opportunities for families to catch the Holiday Spirit. From Horse Drawn Carriage Rides from Whispering Winds (www.downtowncarriage.com), to ice Skating at Ice on Main in the Village Green (www.iceonmain.com) and the St Francis Festival of Trees at various hotels downtown, there is something for everyone throughout December. So, whatever you celebrate this Holiday season, spend some of it in our lovely, festive Downtown. Happy Holidays, Y’all!

For a list of Holiday Happenings taking place in Downtown Greenville, visit http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=427455850642353&id=371197456807



One of my favorite holiday movies has to be The Christmas Story. Who can forget that hilarious scene when Ralphie & his family, holiday dinner having been devoured by the Bumpuses’ dogs, are forced to have their holiday meal at the only restaurant in town that is open…Chop Suey Palace. If you find yourself without Thanksgiving dinner (from consumption by the neighbors’ dogs or for some other reason), don’t resort to “Chinese Turkey”…head Downtown to one of these fine eateries for a Thanksgiving meal worthy of its own holiday movie!

If you want a home-cooked meal to rival Grandma’s, look no further than Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett.  Deriving its name from the famous ‘spoonbread” long served at the Poinsett Hotel, this iconic eatery offers both brunch & dinner options on Thanksgiving Day. Start your holiday off right with Virginia Ham & its Maple Mustard Glaze and some Maple Rosemary Biscuits.  Or visit their Made To Order Omelet & Pasta Station…with over 25 different ingredients to choose from. Come back for dinner and enjoy such Thanksgiving classics as Sage Rubbed Turkey served with all the traditional sides such as Cornbread Dressing & giblet gravy or Cinnamon Pumpkin Soup. Or, for a twist on tradition, try the Seared Salmon, served with a Mustard Glaze over Goat Cheese Grits and Braised Collard Greens. Finish it all off with a big slice of Pecan Pie or Red Velvet Cake and your taste buds will be thanking you!

Another longtime favorite of Downtown foodies, Soby’s, will also be open Thanksgiving Day. Chef Shaun Garcia & his team are putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu featuring all your favorites such as Buttermilk Braised Turkey & Pineapple Glazed Pit Ham and sides such as Brown Sugar Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Maple Butternut Squash Succotash & Soby’s delicious Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. Add a dessert of their delightful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites & it will be a day well-spent. Soby’s Table 301 partner, Devereaux’s, will also be serving a special menu on Thanksgiving Day. Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage & Rosemary and Roasted Pork Loin will be taking center stage, supported by such appetizing sides as Green Bean Casserole & Sweet Potato Puree. Their dessert menu looks mighty tasty as well, with Apple Spice Cake & Chocolate Mousse Cake & more – making it hard to choose!

If you prefer your Thanksgiving to be a little more laid-back and Lowcountry, then head to High Cotton for some down-home cooking, Charleston style!  For starters, try the Roasted African Squash Soup –Maine Lobster, Pumpkin Seed Brittle & Vanilla Crème Fraiche.  Want to forego the traditional Thanksgiving fare in favor of some traditional Lowcountry delicacies?  Then try the famous High Cotton Shrimp & Grits – featuring huge Shrimp with Chicken Andouille Sausage, Melted Leeks, Sharp Cheddar Grits & Tarragon Broth…you may never have turkey for Thanksgiving again! For dessert, try the Pecan Tart with decadent Chocolate Sauce & Cranberry Compote…YUM! If you want to go even more laid-back, visit Sticky Fingers, who will be preparing a delicious Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. Not feeling Turkey? They will also be offering their regular menu of amazing BBQ favorites.

The weather on Thanksgiving Day promises to be gorgeous, with sunny skies & highs in the mid-60, so you may opt for dining al fresco. The Green Room, with its cozy outdoor seating and its delectable menu, is an excellent choice.  Start things off with a Southern classic appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes, served with Herbed Cream Cheese & Red Pepper Relish.  Move on to something a little unexpected, like their Braised Short Ribs, served with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes & Bacon Brussell Spouts. Thanksgiving traditionalists need not fret, The Green Room will be serving Brined & Roasted Turkey, as well as the expected sides such as Herbed Stuffing and Macaroni & Cheese (which is considered a vegetable here in the South) as well as Pecan Pie (although I tend to opt for the sinfully delicious Chocolate Brownie, a la mode & topped with a yummy Blackberry Sauce). The bar will remain open late for those wishing to hang out and get in the “Holiday Spirit” of the alcohol-inspired sort.

Speaking of the Holiday Spirit, several bars will also be open Thanksgiving Day for those who want to escape all the “family togetherness” for a little while, or who maybe just want to get together with friends (who I call my “urban family”). Downtown watering holes that will be welcoming guests on the 22nd include such local favorites as Sharkey’s Pub, Barley’s Tap Room (upstairs only), Blue Ridge Brewing Company, On The Roxx, City Tavern & the bar at Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  As always, if you imbibe in too much of the Turkey of the bottled, Wild variety…PLEASE take a cab home! We want you around to enjoy many more good times Downtown. Well, have fun & be safe Downtownies…and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

More Info on Restaurants:

■High Cotton: 550 S. Main Street, 335-4200 – Open 1PM-7PM – http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/greenville

■Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett: 421-9700 – Open for Brunch 10:30AM-2:30PM & for Dinner 5:30PM-9:30PM- Brunch Cost: $29.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 7-12; Dinner Cost: $32.00 – http://www.westinpoinsettgreenville.com/restaurant

■The Green Room: 116 N. Main Street, 335-8222 – Open 11AM-8PM – Cost:  $30 for adults, $12 for kids under 12 – http://www.thegreenroomupstate.com (Bar to remain open late)

■Soby’s: 207 S. Main Street, 232-7007 – Open 11AM-7PM – http://www.sobys.com

■Sticky Fingers: 1 S. Main Street, 331-7427 – Open Noon – 7PM – Cost: $17.99 for adults, $8.99 kids 4-12 – http://www.stickyfingers.com

■Devereaux’s: 25 E. Court Street, 241-3030 – Open Noon-4PM – Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for children 7-12 – www.devereauxsdining.com

 



I don’t know about you, but when the temps turn chilly, my thoughts turn TO chili…the kind with lots of meat & beans! Every region thinks they have the best chili cooks in the country. Now, I may be biased, but I think it’s hard to beat the chili-making talent found right here in lil ‘ol G’Vegas! This Saturday, The Handlebar (304 E. Stone Avenue) will showcase the very best Greenville has to offer in its 5th Sometimes Annual Chili Cook-Off.

This most beloved of Downtown’s music venues has long been bringing the heat in the form of blazing guitar riffs, heated drum solos & steamy vocals. But, this Saturday, November 17th, they will be bringing the heat of the culinary kind…full of cayenne, curry and a few other ingredients I’m not allowed to disclose at this time. Starting at 4PM, some of the best chili chefs in the area will be going head-to-head in a gastronomical cage match (okay, so there’s ACTUALLY no cage, but the competition still pretty heated). And there will be no culinary school trained judges for THIS event of the people!!! No sir…The Handlebar invites YOU to be the judge of who is the BEST chili chef in Greenville. For $10, guests will receive a ballot, a bowl to sample all the meaty, beanie, chili goodness AND a beer to wash it all down with. Be one of the first 100 to sign up & you get to keep your pint glass…how cool is that!

But wait…there’s more! Not only will you get to make your taste buds sing (or cry for mercy) with all this delectable chili excellence, but The Handlebar will be providing the amazing live, local music they are famous for! Feed your inner music lover with tunes by Wasted Wine, Tim TV, Our World Festival, Darby Wilcox & Zumba! Best of all…it’s FREE!

For those who wish to get a little Christmas shopping done while they fill their senses & stomachs with musical & culinary goodness…well, The Handlebar can help you there too! Starting at 11AM (until 4PM), Outside Arts SC will exhibit works by some of the area’s coolest and most innovative artisans in the 2012 Holiday Market. Benefitting the Greenville chapter of Meals on Wheels, this event allows you to meet these talented artists in an intimate setting, enjoy a unique shopping experience and take home some special one of a kind gifts for everyone  on your list.

So come on out to The Handlebar this Saturday for some tasty food, hot tunes & one-of-a-kind crafts…you’ll be glad you did!

For more information, visit:

The Handlebar: www.handlebar-online.com

Outside Arts SC: http://www.outsideartssc.com



The scenes of destruction from Superstorm Sandy have flickered across our TV screens for more than a week now. For me, a person who has spent more hours than I can count volunteering in recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina, the scenes were all too familiar. The devastation, chaos, confusion and utter desolation expressed by victims left many of us wondering, “What can I do to help?” To a group of Jersey Shore natives, now residing in Greenville, the terrible scenes were more than just heart-wrenching, they were personal.  And they decided to do something about it.

After watching news coverage of the storm on TV, “Jersey Boys”, William Vermeal, Richard Squires Jr. & Kip Smith, together with their friends, decided to take matters in their own hands. After contacting friends & family in their previous hometown, they decided to collect items so desperately needed by their former neighbors who live along the Jersey Shore. They plan to ship the items out Friday morning to the residents of Ocean County, NJ, most of whose homes were destroyed by Sandy. Items needed include warm clothing and blankets – warmth is a major issue as temps in the northeast turn frigid, water & non-perishable food items – especially those that need no cooking, as many residents are still without power, over-the-counter medical and hygiene supplies, baby & pet items, cleaning items and more – a list of needed items can be found at the end of this article. Just look at your own family’s daily needs and base your donations on that.

Several businesses have stepped up to help by being drop off locations for donations. Donations will be accepted until Thursday evening, November 8th. Drop-off locations include Carlton Motors, located at 2446 Laurens Road, Greenville (from 9AM-7PM, leave in the care of William Vermeal), Lucky Bike, located at 2 Sidney Street Greenville (from 9AM-5PM, attention Kip Smith) and at The Community Tap, located in Downtown Greenville at 205 Wade Hampton Blvd (from 11AM-8PM).

A nor‘easter is predicted to hit the area affected by Sandy this week, further adding to the misery of victims and hindering recovery efforts. Aid is essential to those affected as over one million homes in the northeast are still without power and temps are dropping below freezing this week.  The scarcity of space for emergency housing has complicated matters further for the tens of thousands left homeless by the disaster. Relief of all forms is desperately needed, so please assist these wonderful guys in their mission to help their fellow New Jersey natives. Let’s show them what “The Greenville Way” is all about!

Items Needed Include:

  • Toiletries, especially contact lens solution, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream & razors, shampoo & soap
  • Baby products — diapers, wipes, baby food, baby formula
  • Advil, Motrin, Tylenol, band-aids, anti-bacterial soap & ointment
  • Garbage bags and other cleaning supplies
  • Paper products — paper plates, napkins, toilet paper, paper towels
  • Ziploc bags
  • Non-perishable foods – especially those that need no cooking
  • Bottled Water
  • Warm Clothing of all sizes for Chlldren, and Adults – coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, etc.
  • Shoes of all sizes for Children and Adults
  • Blankets and Pillows.
  • Pet Food & supplies
  • Soft toys, books and games for children of all ages (like stuffed animals & dolls, cards, travel games)
  • Batteries (especially D Batteries for flashlights)
  • Anything needed for daily living


et cetera