This seems to happen every year. The Sumter Iris Festival comes and goes—and with about 75,000 visitors, the 2013 event was far busier and more successful than anyone could have anticipated—and then it’s time to start working on fiscal year-end reports. As a result, I wake up one day each June and wonder, “Where have the last few weeks gone?”
But while I was buried in paperwork, summer arrived—did it ever! Following one of the longest, mildest springs in memory, we are suddenly blanketed in the famous heat and humidity of a Carolina summer. School was out a couple of weeks ago (I think). And of course, with the end of the academic year, there is another occurrence that happens just as regularly as my “lost weeks” between mid-May and mid-June.
If you have responsibility for one or more kids during the summer months, you know what’s coming. And you know the words, so why don’t we say this all together:
The good news is that Sumter continues to offer enough entertainment and activities to keep the kids busy all summer long! Much of the action is centered in our historic downtown, where the annual Summer Movie Series at the Sumter Opera House (21 North Main Street) has begun. For 2013, there have been a few changes in scheduling—movies will now be screened on Thursdays, and an evening showing gives the grownups a chance to join in some family fun. With showings at 10 a.m., 1:30 and 7:00 p.m., the series is suitable for all ages. This summer will feature:
• June 20: The Odd Life of Timmy Green
• June 27: Madagascar 3 (7 p.m. only)
• July 11: Rise of the Guardians
• July 18: The Lorax
• July 25: Hotel Transylvania
• August 1: Brave
• August 15: Escape from Planet Earth
• August 22: Frankenweenie
With admission of just $1.00 per person, and popcorn and water for sale, it’s a great outing!
If your kids are more the athletic, “let’s get out and do something” type, there are plenty of things for them, too. The City of Sumter Aquatics Center has posted its summer schedule online, or for a real challenge, check out the Palmetto Tennis Center’s programs. And don’t forget, the city’s Spray Parks are wide-open and running! Admission is free, and the refreshing blasts of cool fun are available daily from 8 a.m. until dusk.
The City of Sumter is not the only organization offering great ways to get young people off the sofa or away from the video game console. The Sumter County Gallery of Art’s Summer Art Camps are accepting enrollment for their creative, innovative programs involving mud, bugs, and everything in between (including drawing, painting, and needlework)! The Sumter County Library’s Summer Reading Program is back also, along with other educational and entertaining things to do. There’s usually something happening at the Sumter County Museum, as well. Finally, the Sumter County Recreation Department continues their tradition of many years, presenting active and enriching summer programming.
And as for you adults, please don’t feel left out. There’s a lot going on for you, too!
The Classic Movies series on the second Friday of each month continues a successful year, going on through December. These can be some amazing date nights for Generation X-ers in particular, although everyone is welcome as we continue our tribute to 1983:
• July 12: Curse of the Pink Panther
• August 9: The Outsiders
• September 13: Smokey and the Bandit III
• October 11: Jaws III
• November 8: Lone Wolf McQuade
• December 13: A Christmas Story
Admission is $2.50 per person at the door, and refreshments are available for sale. The show starts at 7 p.m., but you’ll want to come early and catch the vintage cartoon reels! The Sumter Opera House is located at 21 North Main Street. (And by the way, what is Emilio Estevez—you know, Charlie Sheen’s brother—up to these days? Where’s Dennis Quaid? And whatever happened to that creepy Kid with Goggles from A Christmas Story?)
All of that is still far from the end of the downtown fun! Watch for a post in the very near future highlighting the new and improved Downtown Market, and don’t forget the continuing “Downtown Friday Nights” Fourth Fridays on Main concerts, which will go on through September with the following acts:
• June 28: Tokyo Joe
• July 26: Second Nature
• August 23: The Tams
• September 27: Mystic Vibrations
Held directly on Main Street in front of the Sumter Opera House, the concerts last from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Food and drinks are for sale, and admission is FREE! (Please, no coolers!)
Bored? Are you joking? It’s time to get off the couch and check out what’s happening in Sumter!
By Colette Daniels