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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!

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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!



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”.

 



Downtown Greenville, with its fresh beauty and friendly people, is an almost idyllic place to live, work and play. But I believe its true beauty is found in the good-hearted folks who give selflessly of their time and money to help others. From people who volunteer at city-wide events and area non-profits to local businesses who contribute their talents and proceeds to those in need, Downtownies are always willing to do all they can to benefit great causes.  April is National Volunteer Month and DTGVL offers many opportunities to support some wonderful local charities, either by taking part in a benefit event or by volunteering.

The first wonderful event does not actually happen Downtown, but nearby. On April 11, Furman University will play host to the extraordinary athletes of The Special Olympics. Beginning at 9:45AM with a parade of athletes and the lighting of the Flame of Hope, this heart-warming event, coordinated by the Greenville County Recreation Division and Furman, offers a full day of track and field events for over 1,000 Special Olympians.  In addition to track events, participants will also be treated to refreshments and an on-site carnival at “Olympic Town”. The games themselves begin at 10:30AM in Paladin Stadium.

This weekend boasts an eclectic mix of attendance-worthy affairs. If you enjoy a little baseball with your caviar, then make plans to attend “Black Tie and Baseball Diamonds” at Fluor Field. Attendees of this April 14th soiree will enjoy fine food, music and an incredible auction of some seriously cool items including a Gamecocks Football Package, a Clemson Tigers Baseball Package and a Charleston Vacation. Proceeds benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research.

If you’re looking for a Saturday bash that rocks, look no further than The HandlebarGumbyFest features a line-up of local faves, including Ramcat Alley, JoJo Taterhead Revival, Decadent Daze and Second to None. Proceeds will help fund cancer treatments for longtime supporter of Greenville’s music community, Charlene Davis. The joint starts jumpin’ at 8PM, but you may want to come a little earlier to buy tickets for their 50/50 raffle.

On Sunday, April 15th, Downtown Greenville will be invaded by digital scavengers taking part in “Seek & Snap 2012”. This digital scavenger hunt takes place from 1-6PM and benefits Let There Be Mom. Seek & Snap is just one of the fantastic annual events benefitting this deserving organization that aids parents facing terminal illness.

Thursday, April 19th, high fashion goes to the dogs! Join fellow animal lovers at Wyche Pavilion to watch local celebrities and their canine companions strut their stuff on the catwalk. Pet Project Runway is a pawsitively  delightful fashion show that benefits The Greenville Humane Society.  Doors open at 6PM and will include an open bar and yummy hors d’oeuvres – encouraging guests to “sit” & “stay”!

If you want to contribute your time to a worthy cause, Hands on Greenville is worth checking out.  Created for good-hearted people with busy schedules, this brilliant organization offers volunteer opportunities that vary from soup kitchen work to taking underprivileged children on fun outings. On May 5th, they will be sponsoring their HOG Day 2012, which encourages families, individuals, corporations and teams to give back to their communities through volunteering. Teens that have a love of the literary will also have the opportunity to volunteer at Hughes Main Library. The monthly Teen Volunteer Day encourages young people to participate in public service. April’s TVD will take place on April 14th for 1-4PM.

This is just a glimpse into all the good work done by area non-profits. Some of these events may already be sold out, but don’t let that deter you! For more information on these incredible charities and their selfless missions, visit their websites (provided below). I encourage you to take part in their mission by attending a fundraiser, making a monetary donation or volunteering your time and talents to help them achieve their goals. It’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

But wait! There’s more…

Special Olympics: The Special Olympics program offers training and competition in 15 different sports. Two full time Recreation District staffers direct these programs with help from hundreds of community volunteers.  There are no fees for Special Olympics programs. For more information, visit: http://greenvillerec.com/activities-and-programs/special-olympics

Black Tie and Baseball Diamonds / JDRF: This fun and  fancy affair seeks to raise funds to  help young victims of Type I diabetes live longer, healthier lives and to reach their goal of finding a cure! For more information on this event and  Juvenile Diabetes Research, visit: https://jdrf-westerncarolinas.ejoinme.org/?tabid=323750

GumbyFest: To find out more about this benefit for Charlene Davis – a cornerstone of the Greenville music community who is battling cancer, visit The Handlebar’s event calendar at http://www.handlebar-online.com/calendar.asp

Seek and Snap 2012 / Let There Be Mom: Let There Be Mom was created to aid parents who are facing terminal illness. LTBM assists moms and dads alike in preserving their memories and  family legacy to pass on to their children. To learn more about this amazing charity, and their annual fundraisers, visit: http://lettherebemom.org/

Pet Project Runway / Greenville Humane Society: This fun fashion event benefits The Greenville Humane Society, who works tirelessly to find good homes for homeless animals. For more information on this event,  animal adoptions and other GHS programs, visit: http://www.greenvillehumane.com/

Hands On Greenville: When an area non-profit needs volunteers for an awareness, service or fundraising event, they turn to Hands on Greenville. This organization matches willing volunteers with deserving area charities in a perfect partnership. Their annual HOG Day encourages residents to participate in public service to benefit their communities. For more information on this wonderful organization or to discover volunteer opportunities, visit: http://www.handsongreenville.org/

Teen Volunteer Day / Hughes Main Library: For more information on this and other Teen programs hosted by the Greenville Library System, email jbabb@greenvillelibrary.org



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