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

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

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!


Are you a beer drinker who would love to have the chance to try something other than Bud Light or PBR? Are you a wine drinker who desires a chance to sample wine from around the world? Well, my fellow imbibers, Downtown Greenville offer several chances to take a “spirited” tour of the world…sip by sip!

Drinking wine is considered by most to be a very sophisticated and refined past time and it’s this perception that can make becoming a wine drinker seem a bit intimidating. Whether you are a seasoned wine connoisseur or a “wine-curious newbie”, Northampton Wines offers wine lovers of all types the chance to sample products from wine regions around the world. Every Friday evening from 6:30-7:30PM and Saturday afternoons from 4PM until 5:15PM, this restaurant and wine café, located on East Broad Street, conducts tastings of a variety of vino. This weekend, visitors have the opportunity to experience a selection of Cabernet Sauvignon from California and Washington State, with guidance from wine expert, Richard deBondt. As space is limited to 40 people, reservations are required.  Freshly baked bread from The Restaurant and a selection of cheeses are served during these events. For more information, visit

Another Downtown establishment that offers an occasion to delve in the delights of wine is West End Wine & Spirits. With wine tastings every Thursday from 5PM to 8PM (and an occasional beer tasting), this South Main establishment allows visitors a chance to sip wine in an atmosphere that is both upscale and laid-back. They even have monthly Wine Trivia! For details on events, visit:

A Downtown business that offers the chance to sample the unique in both wine and beer is The Community Tap. Owner/Operator, Mike Okupinski, opened this North End establishment with the simple intent to provide good beer and wine in an atmosphere that is casual and inviting. Regulars to the unassuming building located on Wade Hampton, near Stone Avenue, agree that TCT is a welcome addition to Greenville’s beer culture. With offerings of their diverse selection of beer and wine, tastings are often filled to capacity, so reservations are sometimes required. Upcoming events include tastings of Sour and Wild Ales (together with a selection of cheeses) on Wednesday, July 18th , 6:30-7:30PM and a “Wine Holiday” sampling of wines from Southern France on Wednesday, July 25th, also 6:30-7:30PM. For more information on these and other events at The Community Tap, visit:

Another contender in the beer tasting category is the Greenville Beer Exchange.  Located just off Main Street on South Laurens Street, word of GBE has quickly spread among beer lovers in the area. With a selection of unique beers and pilsners with fun names like “Golden Monkey” and “Good Chit”, their Thursday Tastings (which are 5-7PM & usually free) are popular with the Downtown “after-work” crowd. For more info and a list of what’s currently on tap, visit:

Downtown Greenville gives beer and wine lovers alike to try something a little different from their usual. Some of these events are free, some have a cost attached or other restrictions, so it’s best to call ahead. A word of advice, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of trying new varieties of your favorite alcoholic beverage, so be cautious about how much you drink. Many tastings have “spit buckets” available and others serve hor d’oeuvres in an attempt to prevent “over-consumption”. If you have had too much to drink, please take a cab home. For daily listings of these and other fun Downtown events, visit the Downtown Greenville, SC Facebook Page at

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