Tips for the first-time festivalgoer

  • Friday, April 4, 2014

The Flowertown Festival attracts increasingly larger crowds each year, and among them are newcomers.

While most Summervillians are well versed in the traditions of the festival, some of the staff at the Summerville Family YMCA have tips for the first-timers.

For Linda Walton, the YMCA development director, getting a copy of the festival map is key. Maps are available at the information booths on W. 2nd South and W. 5th South streets, where festivalgoers can also purchase Flowertown merchandise and get a copy of the day’s itinerary of live entertainment events.

Bianca McCoy, who coordinates the arts and crafts, said the map can be helpful, but also confusing if someone is unfamiliar with the festival terminology.

When reading the map of the arts and crafts vendors, she explained some important details: S stands for sidewalk, which runs between Azalea Park and Main Street; M stands for Main Street; VR stands for “Vendor Row,” a line of vendors behind the park’s tennis court; left of the tennis court is CP, or “Central Park”; A stands for amphitheater; and C represents the Cuthbert Community Center parking lot.

McCoy said there are 220 vendors this year so everyone will be able to find something they enjoy.

On her list of must-see booths is My Favorite Things (S8), a handpainted nail file vendor, Stephanie Pierson-Hutson (VR20) who makes unique sculpture items for the home, and John Laukaitis Photography (VR18), who sells his own letter photography of downtown Charleston.

“I honestly think that’s what’s great about us, because there’s something for everybody out there. For the yard, for the house, for your nails, everything,” she said.

Bath products such as shea butter, bath salts and lotions are going to appear as a trend this year, McCoy said, as she noticed several new vendors who registered to sell the products.

And just like the festivalgoers travel from all over to attend, so do the vendors. Mississippi, Colorado, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania are just a few of the places vendors will be traveling from, McCoy said.

There are several new elements of the festival this year, which will be new for first-timers and seasons festivalgoers alike.

The Taste of Summerville has several new food vendors this year, including Mellow Mushroom, Yakoso and Wild Wings, which Walton said she’s excited to try.

This year the festival will also be launching new kids programs like Blooming Artists, where youths sell their own creations alongside the adult vendors, and the chalk festival at the tennis court.

Walton said the changes are all a part of helping the festival grow.

“I’ve been with the festival for 19 years and we try to improve it every year. The support of the community is what makes it so successful, the people that partner with the YMCA… the whole reason we’re doing this is a fundraiser so we can give back to the community. It’s who we are.”

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