By Gabrielle Randazzo
Nestled in the quiet lower region of Upstate South Carolina, is a small town known for its friendly atmosphere, rich history, and renowned festivals. A town where southern hospitality reigns supreme, the tea is always sweet, and visitors are always welcome. This small town is known to its locals as home, and to its visitors as Greenwood.
Greenwood, South Carolina, which once held fame as the town with the “Largest Main Street in the World” now boasts the well-known festivals and events that take place yearly in the town’s heart, known to the residents as Uptown.
According to the Greenwood, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Greenwood has a long and interesting history dating back to 1824 when the town received its name from a large plantation named “Green Wood”, owned by one of the earliest residents John McGhee Jr. Sometime there after Greenwood received the nickname, “The Emerald City.”
Most residents of the town relate the name as a description of the lush, green landscapes that encompassed the town and surrounding areas.
Greenwood is known for the outstanding festivals and events held in Uptown.
As the warm weather that the South is known for encompasses the town, Uptown Greenwood is transformed to showcase the wonderful color of fresh flowers and greenery in the form of intricately created topiaries. This transformation can indicate only one thing; the highly anticipated Festival of Flowers is about to begin.
The Festival of Flowers, which has been held annually in Greenwood for the past 46 years, has been recognized for two consecutive years as South Carolina’s Event of the Year. This prestigious award is presented to the most outstanding festival or event in South Carolina, and has been awarded to The South Carolina’s Festival of Flowers in 2013 and 2014.
The festival is to be held this year from June 1 through June 30, featuring fun for all ages and events that the whole family can enjoy. This year’s events include; golf tournaments, bike tours, Jr. tennis tournaments, and 5K marathons. In addition, the famed topiaries created out of flourishing, live, greenery and colorful flowers line the streets of uptown, bringing color and interest to Main Street.
Kristie Koeppon, a long time resident of Greenwood explains, “I love to see the topiaries in uptown, they bring so much life and color.”
In addition to the flower displays, the Festival of Flowers also features live bluegrass music, art shows, and tours of historic cites within the city.
Ellesor Holder, Executive Director of the Festival of Flowers, in a recent interview with South Carolina’s Ten at the Top explained, “We literally have something for everyone, it’s for families, it’s for young adults, it’s for older adults, its just a great time.”
Walking through the streets of Uptown Greenwood in July the sweet smell of barbecue on a smoker fills your nose, as you move closer to the center of Uptown the smell intensifies. This can signify only one thing, The Festival of Discovery. The festival is highly anticipated every year by resident of Greenwood, and by the Upstate.
According to The Festival of Discovery’s website, the festival has been held in Greenwood for 14 years and will be held in July of this year.
The festival features amusements rides and live blues music, but the star of the festival is the Barbeque Cook-off, which is so well known that it was feature in a 2010 Food Network Challenge, “Great American BBQ Showdown.” The competition allows teams to show off their signature recipes and gives guests the opportunity to sample some of the best barbeque that the piedmont region has to offer.
Greenwood, South Carolina is recognized not only for its small-town, friendly atmosphere, but also for its amazing festivals. Greenwood is a unique town that encourages its residents and visitors to experience: camaraderie, fun, and discovery that only a small-town can offer.