Spring Festivals in the Upstate

As the days turn warmer, and the cold, dreary days of winter begin to give way to the sights and smells of blooming trees and flowers, spring is in the air. It’s also the time of year when the Upstate festival season begins to heat up. From jubilees to craft beer festivals, here’s a look at just a few of the many events happening across our area.

In Pendleton, the 39th annual Historic Spring Jubilee will be held on April 2 and 3rd. The festival began in 1978 as a way to kick off tourism in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties. Today, it’s an award-winning event that draws thousands of visitors with local music, local food, and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts from around the country.

For music lovers, the Albino Skunk Music Festival will return to Greer April 7th–9th. Held each spring and fall, the festival features local Americana, folk, bluegrass, and other bands along with camping, food trucks, a craft beer garden, and craft vendors.

At the 32nd annual Azalea Festival in Pickens, not only will the azaleas be blooming during the April 15 and 16 festival dates, but artisans and crafters will be displaying their wares. Local entertainment and a 5K walk/run race are also part of the festivities.

The Spartanburg Earth Day Festival on April 23rd is a community-wide, family-friendly festival celebrating stewardship, sustainability, and appreciation of our planet. The festival will include interactive exhibits, children's activities, live music and entertainment, and food.

In the small town of Central, The Central Railroad Festival on April 23 will celebrate the rich heritage of Central, named because the town is situated at the central point of the railroad line between Atlanta and Charlotte. Music, food, and festivities for all ages will be included.

Also on April 23, the Spartanburg Soaring! International Kite Festival will be held at Barnett Park in downtown Spartanburg. The third annual event is free and family-friendly. Hundreds of kites fill the sky complemented by live music, food, and children's activities. Last year, the event attracted more than 3,000 participants, some from as far away as Europe.

In Greenville, The Community Tap's fourth annual Craft Beer Festival will be held on April 23 at Larkins Sawmill. This 21 and older event will feature over 50 craft breweries from all over the U.S., focusing on small-batch brews and one-off kegs. They will also have live music, concessions, and other creative activities to keep you entertained while you imbibe.

May brings the Walhalla Mayfest Art of Living Festival, an annual festival celebrating the arrival of spring to the Upstate. The May 13th event will be held on Main Street in Walhalla and will showcase food, craft, and art vendors from around the region.

Two of the Upstate’s largest events are also held in the spring. Spring Fling in Spartanburg is one of the Upstate's largest outdoor street festivals and is always the first weekend in May. Thousands of people attend each year to watch professional bicycle races and take part in shopping in the arts and crafts marketplace and other family-friendly activities. Food, classic cars, and an extensive lineup of great entertainment round out the festival.

Artisphere takes over downtown Greenville May 13th–15th with demonstrations, exhibits, and live performances. More than 75,000 people attend annually to watch performances by local and national artists, take part in hands-on Kidsphere children’s art activities, and visit the Culinary Arts Café that highlights local restaurants. Special festival art projects enliven the streets, along with street musicians, acrobats, sidewalk artists, and more. Artisphere also features a juried exhibition of local artists.

Check each festival’s website for details on hours, admission, and additional information. For many more event listings, please check the Upstate Information Hub calendar.

Photo credits: Banner—Iris Laudig/Spartanburg Soaring!; Upper right—Albino Skunk Festival; Center left—Town of Walhalla; Lower right—Artisphere

Sherry Jackson is a Greenville-based writer covering travel, technology, real estate, business and many other topics. For examples of some of her work, visit www.dragonflyventures.com.