Sumter Shaw Street Fest Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Where, oh where, does the time go?  It doesn’t seem possible that September 23rd, 2011 will mark the TENTH annual Sumter Shaw Street Fest.  From the get-go, it’s been Sumter’s biggest block party, with attendance in the thousands and growing every year.  Join the members of our armed forces as Sumter and Shaw become one community for a night of family enjoyment!

A salute to the men and women of Shaw Air Force Base, the Street Fest is hosted by the City of Sumter, with presenting sponsors Progress Energy and FTC.  Main Street will be roped off from Hampton to Bartlette, and given up to a night of song, dance, fun and games for all ages.  Cool military displays and information, rides, inflatables, characters and more will fill the street from 6 to 9 p.m., and the live music goes on until 10 p.m.

The evening starts with a literal bang (and thump) as the super-talented Lemira Percussion Ensemble (you can check them out on YouTube–just do a name search) performs at Rotary Centennial Plaza at 5:30 p.m.  Following an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. featuring Sumter’s Mayor Joe McElveen, other dignitaries and military VIPs, “bang-thump” turns into a “blast” when Tokyo Joe takes the stage.  The USAF Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble will also perform, so the music won’t stop all night!

I remember the first Street Fest so well!  About 4,000 people showed up, along with statewide news media (yes, it was THAT big a deal).  You know how sometimes a thing seems to be going almost too smoothly?  Well, it went perfectly…until with no warning at all, the heavens burst and we all got instantly soaked to the bone in one of SC’s famous sudden summer thunderstorms.  As of this writing, the ten-day forecast indicates we could be in for some wet weather, but most of the time that forecasters have said “it’s going to rain” this summer, they’ve been wrong.  In either case, be sure to check the City of Sumter website at www.sumtersc.gov for announcements if things look at all questionable.  And remember that it’s got to be pretty heavy weather for plans to change…a little sprinkle is not going to stop the fun!

Admission to the Sumter Shaw Street Fest is FREE, and free parking is available on Harvin Street behind the Sumter Opera House and at Hampton and North Sumter Streets (across from Tuomey Health Care).  Food and drinks will be for sale.  Bring your folding chairs, but please, no coolers.  For more info, call (803) 436-2640, toll-free 1-800-688-4748, or check it out online at www.downtownsumter.com.

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