Happy New Year! Are you brimming with excitement over all the adventure, changes, and accomplishments 2019 has in store for you?
We’ve all heard the cliche that a new year is like a blank book waiting to be filled, but trying to make the most of your year can be difficult—taking it day-by-day can lead to missed opportunities, but planning too far ahead and trying to pack in too much can get exhausting fast.
If you’re hoping to work hard AND play hard this year, we’ve got a full calendar of events that can certainly help you with the “play” part of that goal. While all of our bars, restaurants, museums, galleries, parks, and theaters have almost always got something cool going on, we’ve compiled this list of 13 major events that cover a wide-range of interests, hobbies, and passions to help you start filling your next 300-and-some-odd days with the things that matter most to you:
If you bleed barbecue sauce and savor the smell of smoky southern delicacies, plan your visit for April 5-6 so you can attend Hub City Hog Fest, an annual barbecue competition where we shut down several city blocks to make room for dozens of competing pit masters. Sample until you yourself start feeling like the pig, then stick around to enjoy a local craft beer and some live music.
If you look forward to the first warm, breezy days of spring after a cold winter, then you’re gonna love Spartanburg Soaring scheduled for April 13. More than just an event to encourage creativity and promote healthy outdoor activity, this kite festival attracts people the world over and brings them together over live music, great food trucks, and a local makers market. You’re welcome to bring your own kite, but there will also be kites available for purchase at the Chapman Cultural Center.
If you enjoy immersing yourself into the community of the places you visit, join us for Spring Fling April 26-28. This 35-year old Spartanburg tradition is beloved by many and we hope to add you to that list this year. Look forward to a professional bicycle race, lots of great shopping in the arts and crafts marketplace, savory food, tons of family-friendly activities, classic cars, an extensive lineup of great entertainment, and a whole lot in between.
If you’re interested in pushing your limits, participate in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell on May 20. This 102.7-mile, self-paced cycling challenge starts in Downtown Spartanburg, then winds along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the summit at Mt. Mitchell State Park in North Carolina—a total vertical ascent of more than 10,000 feet.
If your favorite foods are cooked low and slow, come get your barbecue fix at the Sparkle City Rhythm and Ribs Festival on June 1. Bring the whole family and celebrate good times and delicious barbecue with us. In addition to barbecued chicken, pork, briskets, seafood, burgers, dogs, smoothies, cold beers and your favorite summer treats, this all-day celebration also has live music and a local makers market.
If you have a deep appreciation for one-of-a-kind home goods, shop ’til you drop at the 2019 Quilt Show in Landrum June 13-15. See more than 150 quilts on display, peruse handmade pieces by local vendors, browse the boutique, bid on in the silent auction, and enter the raffle. Home of the Foothills Quilt Trail, after the event you can stroll through the town looking for the nearly 40 colorful quilt block designs displayed throughout the City.
If you’re proud to be an American, we hope to see you in Barnet Park for Red, White & Boom on the 4th of July. Come hungry and enjoy great BBQ, funnel cakes, burgers, hotdogs, Philly cheese steaks, and ice cream. Sing along to live music. Enjoy time with family and friends. And, of course, no Independence Day celebration is complete without fireworks, so be sure to stay until the the end as the the night is capped off with a spectacular fireworks show.
If you schedule your life around football season, visit us in late summer for the 2019 Carolina Panthers Training Camp. This 2+ week long practice begins with a free Kickoff Party with food, games, and face painting, as well as special performances by the TopCats, Sir Purr, PurrCussion, and the Black & Blue Crew. After you catch a couple team practices and take your kids to play on the Panthers Play 60 course at The Rail Yard, head just up the road to the Bank of America Stadium to experience the Carolina Panthers Fan Fest celebration with a fantastic fireworks and laser light show display. Talk about a touchdown of an event!
If you’re counting the days until Pumpkin Spice Latte season, you’ll want to attend the Inman Harvest Day Festival planned for the last weekend in September. Artists, craftspeople, special store-wide and sidewalk sales, food vendors, children’s activities, and entertainment throughout the day offer something for just about everyone. Whether you’re visiting with old friends, or in town to make some new ones, this first event of the Fall season reminds us why living in a small town is a great place to call home.
If you’ve got the music in you, avoid the Coachella crowds and join us at the Melting Pot Music Festival on September 28. We’ve got 3 stages with live music ALL day, 30+ vendors, artist demonstrations, a craft beer garden and three beer trucks, street performers, arts market, an “Instrument Petting Zoo” (yes, you read that right), and a kids zone for all the little mini-Mozarts out there.
If “travel the world” is at the top of your bucket list, we hope to see you at the 34th annual International Festival on Saturday, October 5. Explore world cultures through food, music, dance, folk art, and hands-on activities and be sure to plan your itinerary around catching the Parade of Nations which is a particularly incredible display of diversity.
If you’re a total “Beer Snob” and proud of it, the Hub City Brew Fest is definitely calling your name. Slated for October 19, discover new beers, new friends, new music, and new food as you support craft brewers from right here in the Carolinas. If you find a new beer you love, stop by the brewery while you’re in town to enjoy it right from the source and pick up some cans or bottles to take home with you.
If you keep your tree up through February and listen to carols all year long, book your stay for Dickens of a Christmas on December 3. With carolers dressed in victorian garb, live festive Christmas music, living window displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating on Morgan Square, and the lighting of the Christmas tree at Denny’s Plaza, you don’t want to miss Spartanburg’s signature yuletide celebration.
Between all these festivals and extravaganzas, we’ve also got plenty of seasonal events peppered throughout the year like Music on Main, Jazz on the Square, and Skating on the Square, as well as a free nine-hole miniature golf course right downtown. Being a tourist is great in its own right, but if you want to experience Spartanburg like a true local, these community gatherings are the way to go.
Before you head back home, be sure to stop by one (or all) of our several restaurants owned and operated by our two SC Chef Ambassadors, Sarah McClure and William Cribb. Enjoy American comfort food with a cajun twist at Southside Smokehouse, fresh margaritas and other Mexican-style favorites at Willy Taco, burgers and other classics at Cribb’s Kitchen, or small-plates and craft cocktails at The Kennedy, an Art-Deco inspired restaurant.
You can also “host” your own brew fest by touring all of our breweries and distilleries, including Ciclops Cyderi and Brewery, RJ Rockers Brewing Company, New Groove Artisan Brewery, Sugar Tit Moonshine Distillery, Motte & Son’s Bootlegging Company, Shine Town, Red Bordner Distillery, and Rock Bottom Distillers.
We have accommodations for all tastes, so you’re sure to feel right-at-home during your getaway. If you love sleek, modern design you’ll adore the art-infused AC Hotel Spartanburg; if you’re looking for the epitome of comfort and convenience, we suggest the Spartanburg Marriott; if you prefer casual elegance, the Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens will certainly fit the bill; and if you’re wanting to experience that classic “Southern Hospitality” you hear so much about, look no further than the Inn on Main.
We have so much to look forward to in 2019, and we hope you’ll join us in experiencing all the Spartanburg-area has to offer.