Fall For Greenville
For years, we’ve been hearing that Greenville is growing rapidly and that one day “it’s probably going to be the New York of the South.” Even The New York Post picked up on this earlier this year. (Incidentally, gentrification means becoming more refined).
While, I’m not sure that Greenville will become the new New York, I have to admit that some days it definitely feels like it could be, especially around Area 51 (a story for another day). And there does seem to be something about it that is drawing people far and wide to come to the city at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This year, the city is expecting around 150,000 people to attend events at Fall for Greenville. That’s a LOT of people!
Fall for Greenville is the largest food and music festival offered in our corner of South Carolina. It’s a great place to meet up with friends, try some food from the local restaurants and listen to some great music.
Main Street is closed down (no traffic, Yay) from North Street, down to the Reedy River and beyond to River Street. The Festival gets started on Friday…well, let me just interject this here…it really starts on Thursday. Usually with a big named band to kick-off the festival. This year, it started with Outshyne (from South Carolina) from 7pm – 8pm and then Whiskey Myers (from Texas) from 8:30pm – 10pm. Both bands played at the Peace Center Stage on the River.
On Friday, the festival officially gets started at 5pm and lasts until around 11pm. On Saturday, it starts at 11am and goes until 9pm. Then Sunday, it starts at noon and ends at 7pm.
There are a few things to know prior to coming to the festival and a little prep goes a long way, as this place gets crowded!
First off, parking. It’s good to have a game plan about where to park before getting to the festival. The best choice for this is to park at County Square, 301 University Ridge. It’s free and you can catch the trolley to the festival. The trolley starts up about an hour before the festival and runs till about an hour after the close of the festival each night. Sometimes, one of the parking structures will also offer free parking. The Dane and I have a favorite place to park where there isn’t usually a lot of traffic. We have to hike a bit, but it’s worth it to stay out of the fray.
Next thing to know is that there is this whole “ticket” thing. I’m really not all that crazy about the tickets, but I can see why they do it. You take out your money one time, get what you need and go. No more flashing money around. Plus its super quick, even if the line is long. Most of the main menu items are 8 tickets and then it goes down from there. I think a bottle of water was 3 tickets.
Tickets come in sheets. There were 8 tickets in each sheet which cost $5. There are really no trinket type things to buy, so you won’t need tickets for that, with the exception of the Kid’s Zone. There are several rides for them and I believe these cost tickets, so factor that in if you’re taking kiddos along. If you buy 10 sheets, you can get a sheet free. Each ticket works out to be about 0.62 cents.
All along the street, local food vendors provide yummy eats and treats. There are usually a few offers at each booth. The main draw will be 8 tickets and it works down from there. That means a main menu meal costs about $5. What this means for me is that I get to try out a couple of really good restaurants to see if I like one of their main menu items. There are over 100 places to eat in Greenville. This festival gives us a chance to try a few we might not have gotten to yet or otherwise might not have known about.
There are vendors for alcohol. If you plan on drinking at the festival, you’ll need an armband, which you can get in the same place where you get tickets (there are multiple locations and easy to spot). Armbands cost $1 and then you can get beer/wine for 6 – 10 tickets.
Be sure to get a map. There are a couple of ways to get maps – a printable one online, or just wander around the festival, someone is bound to put one in your hand. You could also go up and down the road and see all the vendors and then check back at the booths that you want to try, but overall, it’s easier to have a map to know where things are and which bands are playing at which stages. The Greenville Online usually posts a complete list with all the particulars listed.
There are six stages.
1. One Main Financial Main Stage
2. Hawkins Law Firm West End Stage
3. Beer Garden Stage
4. Peace Center Stage on the River
5. Furman University Jazz & Blues Stage
6. Aloft Acoustic Stage
The other thing (and one that’s top on my list) is where to find a potty. Well, basically, those are everywhere too. You really won’t have a hard time finding a place, but most are of the port-a-potty variety, though if you scout around, you can find a few real ones.
Be sure to carve out enough time to enjoy the River and walk across the bridge. There’s a sweet spot along the bridge that captures the beauty of the falls perfectly. Which reminds me, be sure to bring along friends that will enjoy the day with you. Having someone who loves doing all this along with you makes all the difference.
Overall, it’s a fun time with lots of great food and a whole lotta music.
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy. Start making plans this year to attend next year. It’s just plain fun!
I love this festival. If there’s something like this near you, I’d love to hear about it!