Williamston’s 2012 Spring Water Festival will celebrate its 31st year of providing a fun, family oriented event loaded with fun activities this weekend in Mineral Spring Park. For the third year in a row, it will be a two day event, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24 and continuing 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25. The festival will kick off on Friday with crafts, children’s rides, food and live music by The System and the Out-of-Towners Band.
The System features two members of the High Tide band, Mills Owens and Joe Ballew.
The Out-of-Towners have entertained all over the east coast with beach music classics including some of the own.
The Out of Towners are led by local resident Joey Werner and includes regular and parttime members. Upstate musician Ricky Godfrey, who is well know in beach music circles, is expected to join the Out of Towners for their performance on Friday.
The group has performed with well-known beach groups including The Swingin’ Medallions, The Chairmen Of The Board, Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs, Billy Scott and The Prophets, Archie Bell and The Drells, Clifford Curry and others.
This will be the third year they have headlined Friday night entertainment at the festival.
On Saturday, the fun will continue with the Spring Water Run, crafts and displays, auto show, fire truck rides, children’s entertainment and gospel music.
This year the festival will feature a variety of stage entertainment throughout the day including local blues legend Mac Arnold and his band Plate Full ’O Blues.
Mac Arnold’s career in the music industry took him a long way from his childhood home in Pelzer, South Carolina.
He developed an early interest in music and got his first taste of the blues at age 10 when he learned to play his brother Leroy’s home-made guitar. His first band included James Brown on piano.
At age 24 he toured and recorded with the Muddy Waters Band and recorded LPs with Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. He joined (the late) Don Cornelius in Los Angeles and helped produce the popular 70s TV show Soul Train.
While in LA, he played bass on the Sanford & Son television show. He also toured with Otis Redding and B.B. King.
In the ’80s, he retired from show business and moved back to his home in Pelzer to be an organic farmer.
Wanting to get back to performing music, he formed his own band and is now building a new foundation in blues, soul and funk.
In addition to playing festivals and shows throughout the upstate and nearby states, Mac Arnold and Plate Full ’O Blues recently did shows in Europe.
The amphitheater stage will also feature Tom Fisch, Royal Scotsmen Band, Arvie Bennett, Jr., Austin Irby and Odyssey.
Austin Irby was winner of the Caroline Community Center Williamston’s Got Talent event and will entertain as “Young Elvis.”
Tom Fisch is a singer/songwriter from Hendersonville, N.C. and will perform on both the Amphitheater and Children’s stage.
If gospel music is more to your liking, the park’s center stage will feature one of the upstates largest showcases of gospel music.
The stage will feature a variety of styles of gospel music performed by many well known groups including local artist Catlin Tierce.
Gospel stage entertainment includes Hearts of Praise, 2 for 1, EagleHeart, Hart Strings, Centurions, Catching Z’s, Epps Family, Faithful For, Chosen Few, Echos of Mercy, Scott Arnold and John Roth Rock.
Special entertainment will be held on a stage just for children including High Praises Church Children’s Ministry, Palmetto Middle School Strings Orchestra, Buttons the Clown, K&M Dance House, Tom Fisch -Children’s songs and Chad Allen Fight Club.
Festival goers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and enjoy entertainment throughout the day.
There will also be face painting and other activities for children.
ABC Amusements will return with their rides including the SCAT, one of the largest rides ever at the festival. They will also offer unlimited rides on Friday night with the purchase of a $15 wristband. Saturday rides will be ticketed.
The event will include 45 business and non-profit displays.
Among them, the Williamston Area Historic Commission will be in the Scout Hut on Saturday with displays of photos and albums of historic places and people from the Williamston area.
Approximately 50 crafters from three states will display a variety of handmade and crafted items which will be offered for sale.
The Williamston Fire Department will offer rides on the restored 1936 firetruck, a festival favorite.
The festival will again feature one of the upstate’s largest antique and classic auto shows, being sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department. To register contact Steve Ellison at 864-847-4950.
A variety of delicious food items will be available during the festival from 15 vendors.
The 5K Spring Water Run will feature more than 200 runners on a registered course. Entry fee is $25 on the day of the race.
For additional information contact Chris Bradberry at 864-420-3282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening ceremonies for the 2012 festival will be held at 9:30 a.m. on the Gospel Stage.
Springwater Committee Chairman David Meade will have opening remarks, followed by a welcome from Mayor Carthel Crout. Winners of the Little Miss Spring Water Pageant will be introduced. Pastor Ralph James, Restoration Chapel Church of God will open with prayer.
Veterans from Richard Campbell Patriots will present colors. Catlin Tierce will lead the pledge and National anthem. The program will end with Taps and retiring of colors by the Richard Campbell Patriots.
2012 Spring Water Festival T-shirts are available in advance at ERS Radio Shack, The Journal and Debra’s Designs and will be available at the festival.
Information about all activities schedules and entertainers is included in a special Spring Water Festival program tabliod in this week’s Journal.