• Thursday, April 11, 2013

From poetry to prose, from tours to tea, from sculpture to storytelling
and from Gullah to gibbons, the Humanities Festival is coming to  town.
Opening next week it spotlights Summerville in the ideas and thoughts,
along with customs and skills of our townspeople – in other words, local
culture. In addition to the above, events include music, drama, history
and an invitation to ply the newly minted Sweet Tea Trail.
 The South Carolina Humanities Council sponsors the festival, which is
Hosted and coordinated locally by the Friends of the Summerville Library, the
 Seago Branch of the Dorchester County system. This intriguing menu of
events takes place from April 18-21. Program details and ticket information are
available at “summerville library/ humanities festival.” To order tickets online,
call 224-4133.
According to Dr. David Rison, festival co-chair, these celebrations
 began in 1993 with the mission  “To enrich the cultural and intellectual lives
of all South Carolinians.” This continuing program in communities, is not held
every year, but  began with Beaufort. Other communities have included
Bennettsville, Chester and Sumter as well as Greenville and Spartanburg.

David is professor emeritus from Charleston Southern where he was
history chair and professor of political science before retirement. He is a board
member of both the SCHC and the FOSL. He tells me Summerville was
chosen not only because of our long and unique history, but our growth.
Summerville can reach out and share local history and culture with longtime
citizens as well as newcomers.

These festivals, he says, also draw from surrounding communities. In
addition, Randy Akers, SCHC executive director, will lead a grant writing
seminar  Other board members will also be in attendance.
David says planning for the festival began last October and involved
many committee members as well as local organizations with members who
volunteered to help staff some of the events. David is co-chair with Pamela
Ward, FOSL Member -at- Large and they are assisted these FOSL members:
 Gail Masocco, president; Autumn Reid, vice president and publicity: Anne
Gleason; treasurer; and Carole Brummett,: hospitality and parliamentarian.
 Also on the committee are: Rebecca Westfall, Seago Library Branch Manager;
Ellen Hyatt (F0SL); and Jean Falkowski, Summerville Writer's Guild liaisons:
Carol Brier, and Janette Kille.

 The planned events part of the festival end Saturday. Sunday is
open for local browsing and shopping as well as an opportunity to follow
Summerville history as the “Birthplace of Sweet Tea” a designation recently
branded by the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of
Commerce. In addition to visiting local businesses, restaurants and historic
sites, the trail also includes nearby plantations at Middleton, Magnolia and
Drayton Hall.

This festival is “a really big deal for Summerville” says Ellen Hyatt,
 because It focuses the state and nearby communities on our town. And that’s
a good thing. We have a remarkable amount of talent in this Flower Town. In
 recent years there have been local organizations promoting just that, including
the Cultural Arts Alliance, which mounts revolving Town Hall art shows and
 the Arts, Business and Civic Coalition, trying to obtain a civic center
with space for performing arts. Look and listen as these efforts are being
developed. We have a wonderful heritage here and sharing it can bring not only
prestige but economic prominence

Thanks to the Humanities Festival for reminding us how special we are –
and were.

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