By: Blake Dickerson, Contributor
This past weekend, Greenville hosted the 37th annual Fall for Greenville Festival. The festival exuded Southern charm at its finest as it shared live music from 70 plus bands, tantalizing tastes and smells from the city’s very own local restaurants, and a renowned sense of delight that can only be found on downtown’s Main Street.
The landmark event first took place in the fall of 1982. The original intent of the festival was to present to Greenvillians their newly innovated downtown. At that time, buildings were still vacant, but the beautifully renewed streets were upbeat and promising. In that year of 1982, nearly 20,000 people made an appearance at the festival where they tasted 14 different restaurants. This year, Fall for Greenville offered 40 different restaurants accompanied with an ambience of livelihood and togetherness that only seems to grow from year to year.
The vendors at Fall for Greenville this year offered a vast array of food choices from Saffron Indian Cuisine to Smoke On the Water, combining both Southern food favorites with foreign taste to give the most deliciously diverse festival experience possible. It was impossible to walk down Main Street without being seduced by the sweet aroma of the different foods being served. To complement the meals, the festival boasted both a variety of options for beer and wine. Of these options, one could choose to drink beer from over 20 local breweries, along side The Wine Garden where they had a staff of “beverage professionals” who would help you find the perfect taste of wine in accordance to your preference.
Additionally, there was music from the sultry sounds of the blues to smooth rhythm of jazz to the stripped down Nashville sound. The lineup consisted of local bands like the Dead Swells, a Columbia based band that’s beginning to take over the Carolinas, to King Tuff, an artist who’s already acquired a Billboard 200 album with his third album “Black Moon Spell.” The band that I personally enjoyed the most was the band Forlorn Strangers, an independent based band with music that made me stop in a crowd to just listen to their foot-stomping, founded-in-roots sound.
With the festival continuing to thrive, it becomes harder to manage the flow of the event. For the last four years, the Heller Service Corps has happily volunteered their time and effort to ensuring that the festival functions properly. I had the opportunity to speak to the vivacious Mrs. Nancy Cooper about Heller’s involvement with Fall for Greenville and about her own experience of the jubilee. She exclaims that, “It’s phenomenal! I cannot wait until they tally up to see how many people showed up.” She informed that this year, they were grateful to have had 47 students volunteer to help. She went on to talk about what it’s like to be a volunteer, where she says, “I just enjoy the people. You see these young families with their children playing on the rides, and then right beside them will be senior citizens enjoying themselves alongside the young people. You listen to the conversations between the people and get to know them.”
As you can tell, the ambience of Fall for Greenville was something truly special. It is so easy to lose that sense of togetherness in today’s time, but at this event, we were reminded of the pureness of joy and how easily it connects everyone. Perhaps it was the illustrious streetlights that gleamed against the setting sun, or maybe it was the distant sound of the drums down the street, beating to the rhythm of the crowd, or maybe it’s people like Mrs. Nancy Cooper who radiate kindness apologetically, that make this festival so great. Regardless, it sure was fun.
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