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!



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!



The Holidays seem to bring out the best in most folks. Whether you are dropping a few dollars into a Red Kettle, providing gifts for children who are less fortunate or gathering canned goods for our local food pantries, this time of year makes many of us dig a little deeper to help our fellow humans. Combine that sense of charitable giving with some of our great local music, and the combination would make even the “Grinchiest” heart grow three sizes!

The Handlebar has long donated its Listening Room for some of the best fundraising concerts in town, and December is no exception! This Friday, December 14th, join the guys from Outshyne as they throw a Dixie-Fried Country Christmas Bash to benefit the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots. Joined by friends and fellow do-gooders, The Smith Outfit, Josh Owens & Anna Leigh, this rockin’ Holiday happening is sure to get your toes to tappin’ & your rump to shakin’! Tickets are $11 in advance and $13 the day of the show (a $2 surcharge is added for those under 21) and the music is set to start at 9PM. Collection bins for toy donations will also be positioned throughout the venue.

For more than a decade, Greenville’s favorite jam band (and all-around nice guys), The Work, has been hosting their annual concert to benefit local charities. This year’s event, The Work’s 11th Annual Christmas Jam, will take place on Friday, December 21st at The Handlebar. Joined by such local talent as Acoustic Syndicate, Yo’ Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Millifungus, The Bad Popes, Doug Jones & more, many consider this event to be THE Holiday Party of the year! The guys will be onstage at 7PM and play in a big ‘ol jam session until they decide it’s time to stop. This year, the American Red Cross will benefit from proceeds of this concert, to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy and other disasters. Tickets are on sale now for $15 and will be $18 the day of the show. For more information on this and other concerts at The Handlebar, visit www.handlebar-online.com.

On Wednesday, December 19th, local acoustic artist, Kylie Hinze will be performing her annual concert to benefit The Ellen Hines Smith Girls Home. Taking place at The Channel, this evening of Holiday music will also feature a silent auction & a visit from Santa.  With special musical guests, 4th Shade Avenue (from Simpsonville), Kylie will take the stage at 7PM until 9PM. A donation of $5 is requested as admission at the door. For more information, visit www.thechannelonline.org.

Downtown Greenville comes alive with music and good will every Holiday season! Take time to enjoy these and other wonderful events that take place in our fair city. I’d be willing to bet you will come away from these celebrations with the “strength of 10 Grinches…plus two!” Happy Holidays, Y’all!

More Downtown Businesses That Are Giving Back in Unique Ways…

  • Traveling Chic Boutique – Collects in-store donations for such local charities as Safe Harbor, Cancer Society of Greenville County, Greenville Humane Society, Ronald McDonald House, Meals on Wheels & Loaves & Fishes.
  • 864toGo.com – Donating a portion of their December food sales to The Special Olympics.
  • Subway – Participating restaurants are hosting Salvation Army Angel Trees to collect toys & clothing for children who would not otherwise receive gifts.
  • Red Ribbon ReSale Shop – With an eclectic assortment of items, this resale store benefits the many programs of AID Upstate, which offers support and information for those battling HIV/AIDS.
  • Safe Harbor ReSale Store – Featuring mostly gently used, upscale clothing, proceeds from this resale shop supports programs that aid victims of domestic violence.
  • Soby’s – Their Thursday Guest Bartender Happy Hour, from 5-7PM weekly, donates 20% of proceeds to area charities.
  • The Barkery Bistro – Supports local animal shelters and rescue groups with their monthly Yappy Hour events.
  • Coffee Underground – This cornerstone of Downtown’s caffeinated community supports several local charities through donations and fundraisers.


This wasn’t the article I had planned to write. I was going to write a fun, light-hearted blog about events coming up this weekend, or great places to watch college football, or which Downtown pub to visit for the best cocktail. Then I saw the calendar and that date which is permanently burned in the hearts and minds of us all…September 11th. Suddenly, those blog ideas seemed trivial.  What was the proper way to recognize this day? I knew there would be news stories commemorating the events of 11 years ago and memorial services in honor of those who had perished. But, thinking back to those days following 9/11, it was the stories of simple heroism, committed by everyday people that truly stuck with me.

We know the stories almost by heart now…of the courageous passengers on United Flight 93, who prevented their hijackers from crashing the plane into the intended target. Of the fire fighters, police officers and other emergency responders who rushed head on into danger, when others were fleeing. But, for every one heroic act that made the evening news, there were hundreds that very few people, other than the ones directly affected, ever heard about. Of a person taking the hand of a stranger to help them to safety from a smoke-filled office. Of others sharing water, and extinguishing fires and holding open doors to help coworkers escape. Simple, random acts of heroism that impacted the lives of others in profound and unexpected ways.

Greenville has had her share of heroes. All one has to do is walk down Main Street and view statues of great Greenvillians such as Max Heller, our former mayor and catalyst for the revitalization of our beautiful Downtown. But what many people do not realize is that Mr. Heller, a Jewish refugee who came here from Austria just before World War II, would not have been able to escape the Nazi regime without the simple heroism of a teenager from Greenville.  When this young woman, Mary Mills, received the plea from the young Austrian she had met a year earlier, she knew she had to help… it was after all, as Mary said later,  “The Greenville Way”. As a result, Max and his entire family were able to escape Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and our fair city was made all the better.

The Greenville Way…a simple act by one with a major impact on many. So, here’s what I am thinking – in honor of those heroes of 9/11, both known and unknown, and in honor of Greenville’s own heroes,  this September 11th, we could all commit our own random acts of heroism. Now, I’m not saying we should hope for an emergency so we can swoop in like Superman or Wonder Woman to save the day. But we can all do small things that will greatly impact those lives we touch. Give blood, donate canned goods to a food pantry, buy a cup of coffee for a police officer, a fire fighter, or emergency responder, send flowers to your elderly neighbor, pay for the drive-thru order of the person behind you in line, write a thank you letter to your teacher, hold the door open for others, mow your neighbors’ lawn…any simple act of kindness that will make the day a little better for someone else.  After all…it’s “The Greenville Way”.

 



What do a Beauty Pageant where men dress as women, a call to Paint the Town Red, a Concert with some of Greenville’s Best Bluegrass and a bunch of little Rubber Ducks have in common? A week full of fun, all for great causes! This week, some Downtown Greenville venues will play host to 4 fundraisers that are so much fun, it outta be illegal!

The first event is the 5th Annual Womanless Beauty Pageant, hosted by the St. Francis First Mates. On Wednesday, May 2nd, the stage at The Handlebar will be “graced” by the “alluring beauty” of several contestants – who in their “real” lives are not only local physicians, health care providers, business owners and other professionals, but real men!  Dressing the part of the stereotypical beauty queen, and performing various “talents” for your amusement, this group of guys are good sports for a great cause! Funds raised will benefit the local chapter of The American Cancer Society & Relay for Life.  The contestants take the stage at 7:30PM and tickets are on sale now for $15 in advance, $20 at the door. So come on out and have a good laugh at the expense of these brave male souls! For more information, visit The Handlebar’s website at www.handlebar-online.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 attend this year’s Salsa-themed soiree at ZEN Greenville on Saturday, May 5th. The steel drums and the flowing rum will start up at 9PM and last until midnight! There is no need to purchase advance tickets, but a $50 donation is requested (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 www.theredparty.com.

The Handlebar steps up again to lend its venue to a great cause!  This Saturday, they will play host to the best in blues, bluegrass and rock n’ rhythm at Musical MAYhem!  Featuring such local gems as Fat Cat Daddy, Neal Carpenter & The Younger Brothers, The Broadcast and Sanctum Sully, this event will set your toes to tappin’ and your tail feathers to shakin’! The show starts at 7PM and benefits Gateway House, a local non-profit that assists adults who are battling mental illness. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.handlebar-online.com.

Last but certainly not least on the list is the 2012 Reedy River Duck Derby! Let Kentucky keep their thoroughbred racing horses, we’ve got cute ‘lil rubber duckies! This most beloved of Downtown’s annual events takes place Saturday, May 5th at Reedy River Falls Park and benefits the many local charities assisted by the Rotary Club of Greenville. A mere $5 will purchase a certified racing duck to enter in the race (MUCH less expensive than a horse), or you can purchase a “Quack Pack” for $25 and receive 6 ducks for the price of 5 (all to better your chances of victory). The race starts at 2:30PM with participants battling for an array of fabulous prizes. If you would like to purchase a duck for the race or wish to find out more about this event, visit: www.reedyriverduckderby.com.

So there you have it – FOUR fantastically fun events that’ll tickle your funny bone, shake your booty and help your neighbors in need – what could be better?  Now all I have to do is find a tiny little jockey to ride my Duck Derby entry! See y’all Downtown!



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