Fact: We Southerners love a good festival. Whether we’re spitting watermelon seeds for distance or lauding the indomitable tenacity of the boll weevil, there’s nary an occasion we won’t memorialize with a few pop-up tents and a parade. Even so, you’d be hard pressed to find any spot on the Southern map that loves to celebrate more than Greenville, South Carolina, where nary a day goes by without a star on the calendar. Don’t miss out on the action; check out our inventory of festivals, flocks, and Fri-yays in Greenville below!
- July: Upstate Shakespeare FestivalSince 1995, Greenville has enjoyed Shakespeare’s plays along the banks of the Reedy River (photo courtesy of Tiffany Hart and Warehouse Theatre)
Pack your picnic blanket, lawn chair, and cooler full of something tasty; it’s gonna be a long, lovely night. For the past twenty-two years, the citizens of Greenville have laughed, cried, and hallooed (for free!) at the annual Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park on the Reedy, enjoying the incredible works of the bard in the open air.
- August: Greenville Heritage Main Street Fridays Friday itself is enough cause for celebration in Greenville (photo courtesy of VisitGreenvilleSC.com)
Had a rough week? Come celebrate your Friday in the shade-strewn courtyard of Noma Square. Every Friday from March to September, you’ll find toes tapping, drinks swilling, and free music drifting through the soft summer air. Jazz to rock, beach to blues—you never know what you’ll find at Greenville Heritage Main Street Fridays.
- September: Flock to the Rock Chimney Rock is home to 130+ species year round, including warblers, vireos, tanagers, woodpeckers, and owls (photo courtesy of Richard Vignola)
One could argue that Chimney Rock isn’t technically in Greenville, but we would suggest that such a disagreeable person might benefit from the peaceful jaunt up. Natural wonders abound in Chimney Rock any time of year, but fall here holds special significance to any budding ornithologists in the area, as it’s home to the region’s premier fall migration birding event, Flock to the Rock, offering a Bird of Prey series, bird walks, and a whole host of other programs to get your feathers fluffed about.
- October: Fall for GreenvilleWith somewhere around 40 restaurants participating in the annual Fall for Greenville festival, there’s guaranteed to be something to please every palate (photo courtesy of City of Greenville)
Mixologists, musicians, and foodies unite for this once-a-year, weekend celebration of the senses. Indulge in the ultimate cheat day with the best of Greenville’s chefs, work it off dancing at any one of the five stages of local country, jazz and blues, and then wash it all down with a masterfully composed cocktail.
- November: Greenville Craft Beer Festival The South Carolina craft beer scene is quickly on the rise; get in on the action at the Greenville Craft Beer Festival (photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski)
There’s a time and place for a good ol’ fashioned lawnmower beer, but we can assure you, Greenville in November is not it. For the past three years, Greenville’s celebrated the region’s budding craft brew scene with a festival that includes a “Beer College,” expert vendors, and—of course—over forty iterations of sudsy goodness.
- December: Poinsettia Christmas ParadeThe annual Poinsettia Parade signals the beginning of the holiday season in Greenville (photo courtesy of Jason Parker)
We Southerners know that no Christmas spread is complete without a Poinsettia or two, but why stop there? The folks in Greenville see no reason to; they give the seasonal stunner—along with South Carolina son, Joel Roberts Poinsett, for whom the flower is named—its own parade! For over 75 years, the Greenville Poinsettia Parade has signaled the official kickoff of the Southern holiday season.
- January: Biggest Little Beer FestLager, stout, IPA or sour—every beer gets its day in the sun at the Biggest Little Beer Fest (photo courtesy of Nerd Patrol)
Yes, we’ve already featured an annual beer festival. No, we don’t think two is too many. Don’t worry—we think you’ll agree. Especially when the second is a full day, three floors, and 125 of the best local, national, and international beers that the draft, bottle, and cask have to offer. From pinky-hoisting boutique brews to the tried-and-true, this Little Beer Fest stays true to its Big name.
- February: Ice on Main Ice is twice as nice when it’s paired with Southern style (photo courtesy of City of Greenville 2016)
It is the unfortunate fate of many a Southern child to spend a winter evening curled in front of the television mesmerized by fluffy white flakes and frosty breath as they hang suspended on the screen, only to walk out the front door and realize that the day calls for little more than shirtsleeves. How majestic, then, is Greenville’s Ice on Main, a seasonal, cultural, and meteorological anomaly in the South (and all the more amazing for it): an eighty-foot frozen outdoor rink of ice plunked in the middle of downtown.
- March: Greenville Irish Festival The Scots-Irish culture still lives strong in Greenville, and it gets a chance to strut its stuff every March (photo courtesy of VisitGreenvilleSC.com)
With a rich Scots-Irish history and an inherent love of good food, festivals, and fun, it should come as no surprise that Greenville knocks it out of the park in March with its annual Irish Parade and Festival. Celebrate the wee Eire (and a slew of Greenville puns) with a weekend full of Irish music, dancing, food, and sport.
- April: Reedy River RunThe annual Reedy River Run is Greenville’s favorite way to welcome spring (photo courtesy of Greenville Track Club)
Nowadays, it seems that hardly a weekend goes by without a 5k, 10k, or marathon popping up somewhere within sprinting distance, but if you’d like to be part of one of the oldest road races in the South, you’ve got to come down to the Reedy River Run. This 10k is coming up on its 40th birthday, but don’t let its age fool you; it can still throw down with the best of them, offering finishers the chance to eat, drink, and be merry in the city’s beautiful Falls Park.
- May: ArtisphereArtisphere gives Greenville’s vibrant art community the chance to shine (photo courtesy of Artisphere)
In case you haven’t come to this conclusion on your own already, Greenville isn’t too shy when it comes to enjoying music, food, and fun, and May brings a whole new way to celebrate them: Artisphere. Once a year, Greenville celebrates its vibrant artistic community—liberally defined to include painters, sculptors, musicians, culinary pioneers and beer craftsmen—in the three day, outdoor festival.
- June: Chautauqua History Alive Festival Chautauqua’s History Alive Festival offers the opportunity to interact live and in person with some of your favorite folks from history (photo courtesy of Chautauqua)
Is it history? Is it entertainment? Can it be both? Once a year, Greenville Chautauqua pops up the big top, props up a stage, and sets up camp for a two-week celebration of history. Don’t confuse Chautauqua historical interpreters with your garden-variety actors; they’re history books brought to life: interactive, unscripted, spontaneous representations of your favorite famed ancestors, and available on stage for free once a year in Greenville.
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