“Making It Grow!” Live at the Sumter Opera House

Over the last decade, Downtown Sumter has become an established destination for live entertainment, street festivals, and dining of all descriptions, and the streetscape has been continually upgraded to a level of beauty that draws compliments from residents and visitors (when one of my aunts was here in January, she could not believe the transformation!).  Soaring above it all is the clock tower of Sumter’s historic Opera House, home to City Hall and some of downtown’s most interesting activities.

In particular, there’s one coming up soon that guarantees a packed house—and I mean truly packed, as in people-standing-in-the-aisles, don’t-let-anyone-else-in-or-we’ll-have-a-fire-codes-violation, packed.  Drawing people from all over South Carolina, a live telecast of “Making It Grow!” is an Event (yes, that’s a capital “E”), and the City is proud to host it on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

The weekly live, interactive program, produced by South Carolina ETV and Clemson University, has been a favorite since its debut in 1993.  During that time, it has also racked up six regional Emmys and twelve Telly Awards.  Hosted by the delightful Amanda McNulty, “Making It Grow!” features guests focusing on gardening topics and highlighting interesting places and products around the state.  Amanda’s posse includes Teresa Young, taking questions from the audience, USC professor Dr. John Nelson (he of the “mystery plant”), and Tony Melton, along with other Clemson Extension agents.  And of course, the real star of the show is usually Amanda’s handcrafted “garden hat” of the week!

With its Tuesday-night broadcast, usually from Sumter’s WRJA, Friday evening encores available in 67 national cable markets, live streaming broadcasts via the Web, and podcasts, “Making It Grow!” is more than a local phenomenon.  It has an extensive and devoted following—and with its blend of education and entertainment, that’s no wonder!

The Sumter Opera House is located at 21 North Main Street in Sumter.  Parking is available immediately behind the building in the Harvin Street parking lot (handicap-accessible parking is available on Main Street).  Doors will open at 6 p.m., (first come, first seated) and the live broadcast begins at 7 p.m., with the Slope Valley Bluegrass Band providing live entertainment.  (Also, although I must state up front that I have NOT heard of any such plan, wouldn’t it be a treat if original host Rowland Alston made an appearance?)  Admission is FREE, but there will be a full house, so don’t wait until the last minute.  We’ll see you there!

Photos of Amanda’s hats from the “Making It Grow!” page at http://www.facebook.com/makingitgrow.

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