Sometimes it’s hard to know how to take a compliment. Really—what are you supposed to say when someone shakes your hand and says warmly, “You’re a wonderful cow”? Now, let me back up for a minute and explain. As a student, I was active in theatre arts and made my stunning stage debut at age 19 as The Cow Who Jumped over the Moon in Once Upon a Shoe. Larger roles followed, but regrettably, I never did quite manage to storm Broadway.
However, Once Upon a Shoe has enjoyed continued success since it was first produced in 1979. Starting tonight, March 14, the Youth Theatre of the Sumter Little Theatre produces this old favorite in which Mother Goose’s seemingly innumerable children (sixteen, I think—but they move around a lot!) stage a “play within a play” to keep from losing their home and having to relocate to an old sneaker. The play is actually the second half of a “double feature,” with The Trial of Goldilocks as the opener. Also by Robinette, the action, in rhyme and mime, centers around Goldilocks’ claim that the Three Bears have set her up, and that she’s not guilty of breaking and entering.
Performances of The Trial of Goldilocks and Once Upon a Shoe will take place at 7:30 p.m. tonight through March 16, and March 21-23. Sunday matinees will open at 3 p.m. on March 17 and March 24. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors/military, and $6 for children under six. For more info, please call the SLT box office (open from 3 to 6 p.m.) at (803) 775-2150. The Theatre is located at 14 Mood Avenue.
Now…speaking of getting into the act (my shining bovine moment aside): the kids of the Sumter Little Theatre always put on a delightful show, but this weekend it is far from the only game in town. I actually can’t remember the last time we’ve had so much going on at once! No matter what your idea of fun is, I submit the following for your approval, and almost dare you not to find something fun to do:
On Friday, March 15, Premier Concierge brings the first SumterFest celebration to Dillon Park. Continuing through March 17, the event promises a weekend of “musical entertainment, unique arts and crafts, dance exhibitions, rides, games, a rock-climbing wall, mechanical bull, pony rides, bungee trampoline, delicious food, children’s activities…national and regional musical talents…local dance studios, Shag exhibitions, drama skits and other community-related events” in a celebration of the weekend leading up to Saint Patrick’s Day. For more info, please call (803) 795-9755 or visit the event website.
And it keeps coming…the 4th Annual Motorsports Show will keep Main Street buzzing on Saturday, March 16 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. This event for motor enthusiasts, hosted by Sumter Cut Rate, features free admission and even a free lunch for the first 20 entries. From classic cars to dirt bikes and even lawn mowers (I must admit, that one has me scratching my head a bit), some of Sumter’s fastest rides will be represented. Sumter Cut Rate is located at 32 South Main Street; for more info, call (803) 983-5430 or check out their Facebook event page here.
Still not enough action for you? The Palmetto Tennis Center and Hamptons Restaurant present the Hamptons Classic, a USTA SC Level 4 Tournament for adults. There will be singles, doubles and mixed doubles events, with matches starting on Saturday at 9 a.m. The competition continues through Sunday, March 17. For more information, contact the Palmetto Tennis Center at (803) 774-3969 or online here. PTC is located at 400 Theatre Drive; admission is free for spectators.
If you’d rather spend the weekend indoors, Sumter’s got something for you, too. March 16 brings both the 4th Annual Quilt Extravaganza, hosted by the Swan Lake Quilt Guild and being held at Patriot Hall’s Gallery 135. The show features quilts in every color, shape, and size imaginable, and the work of noted quilter Barbara Fitzsimmons. Admission is $5 per person; the show is open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. More info is available by calling (803) 905-1221. Patriot Hall is located at 135 Haynsworth Street.
Not to be outdone, the Sumter Crafter’s Guild brings the 3rd Annual Daffodil Arts & Crafts Show to the American Legion Fair Memorial Building (30 Artillery Drive) on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to support Harvest Hope Food Bank. Please call (803) 983-3235 for details. P.S. You don’t have to choose between crafts and quilts—there’s plenty of time to check out both!
Saturday’s events conclude with the Shrimp & Oyster Roast brought to the community each year by the Sumter Lion’s Club. This year also featuring barbecue, the popular annual fundraiser helps the Lions to outfit Sumter citizens of all ages with eye exams, glasses and hearing aids. Admission is $32 in advance and $35 at the door. The event takes place at the Heath Pavilion at Swan Lake Iris Gardens, lasting from 4 to 8 p.m. Call (803) 469-2172 for ticket information.
Wow…all of that is totally enough to exhaust me, even just reading about it. But that still isn’t all. After a couple of days’ break, on March 23, there will be an EXPLOSION! It’s the Drum XPlosion 13 at the Sumter County Civic Center, hosted by Lil JuJu and featuring dance contests including Beef It Up/Free Style, “School versus School” with Crestwood, Lakewood, and Sumter High Schools participating, and a “special surprise performance.” Afterwards, hang around for what promises to be “the biggest teen party in South Carolina.” For advance tickets ($10), please call (803) 556-1533. Think you can dance? Call the same number to register! Tickets will be available at the door for $12. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the knockout event starts at 7 p.m. The “boom” is coming—don’t miss it!
Something for all ages—now, that’s what I call a weekend!
by Colette Daniels