This time next week I hope you will be with me enjoying our 37th Annual Chapin Labor Day Festival and Parade in downtown Chapin. We have another great weekend of events planned with the Crooked 5K on Saturday morning at Crooked Creek Park and then the Blues on Beaufort Street concert on Sunday evening. We are happy to welcome Anthony Charles and the Blues Dolphins back to Chapin for this free evening concert on Beaufort Street. We are grateful to our friends at Ellett Brothers, a division of United Sporting Companies, for sponsoring this Sunday show. And thanks to Steve Wall and Anthony Minico for their help in providing the outdoor stage. Last year we had over 250 people come out, and we hope to see even more this year. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chair. Tipsy Toad, Tap It and Carolina Cookin’ will be providing refreshments starting at 7 pm, and the concert starts at 8 pm.
Monday will be a full day with set-up for the street festival and parade beginning at 7:30 am. Roads will close at 9 am for the parade which will start at 9:30 am. We are pleased to have Sgt. Robert Barber and his family serving as the Grand Marshall and know this year’s parade will have a patriotic feel with the Fort Jackson Army Marching Band, the American Legion Riders, the SC National Guard, and many of our elected officials participating. Then after the parade, we hope you will stop by the various activities we will have going on, including the annual book sale at Town Hall, the street festival with a variety of vendors, the classic car show, children’s play area and model train exhibit. At 11 am, R&B artists Cash Money will take the Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative stage to perform. The band is a local favorite, playing at several Lake Murray area hot spots throughout the year, so we look forward to having them be part of our festival.
I would also like to thank Lexington Medical Center and Lexington County for their continued support of the festival. Putting on a party for 15,000+ people requires a lot of planning, patience and expense. We are grateful for the volunteers who help coordinate logistics, assist with set-up and clean-up, manage traffic details, promote the events in advance, and those who financially support us with parade entries, sponsorships, advertisements and vendor booths. And we’re pleased to have Publix supporting our festival this year. The new store is slated to open in a few weeks, but they wanted to be part of our festival as sponsor of the Children’s Play Area which will feature games and inflatables for family-friendly fun. It should be a great day, and we’ve put in our requests for a beautiful Chamber of Commerce weather day, too!
Finally, I just wanted to say thank you to all the community members who came out to participate in our planning session last Tuesday. We heard a lot of great information about work that citizens are doing to support beautification, historic preservation, emergency preparedness, planning, business development and infrastructure improvements. The community survey results showed that citizens care about alleviating traffic congestion and support more sidewalks and bike trails as alternative transportation methods. We have folks who are passionate about improving our town’s appearance, with more maintenance and beautification efforts. We have water and sewer customers who understand the need to upgrade our utilities infrastructure to manage the anticipated growth we are seeing. Parks and open space and support for more police officers were other items citizens shared as priorities for our town’s future.
Now will come the hard part. Determining which areas we can focus on in 2017 and beyond, how much these priorities will cost, and what will be the most effective way to fund these projects. It will require some long conversations with our council members and citizens to decide the best course for moving forward, because doing nothing is not a viable option. I look forward to seeing our creativity in action as we move forward.