Rock Hill is ready for the 51st year of Come-See-Me, a 10-day celebration of spring that starts Thursday.
The largest volunteer-run festival in the Southeast attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year with music, sports, cultural and children’s events.
Come-See-Me chairman Brian Hovis, a Rock Hill native, is leading the event and almost 40 team leaders who manage more than 70 events and activities at venues throughout the city.
“Being a part of the history of Rock Hill and working with such a broad group of people has been very rewarding,” said Hovis, who works in outside sales at Comporium Communications. “I have fabulous memories of going to the festival growing up and love that I’ve gotten to experience it in new ways.”
Come-See-Me was first held in 1962 as a community project to invite people to see Rock Hill during its most beautiful season.
Hovis’ two young sons, Grayden and Briggs, always enjoy the festival, as does his wife, Cece.
The 2014 logo, chosen by Hovis, features festival mascot Glen the Frog strumming a banjo amid a patch of tulips and mushrooms.
The image was designed by the late Vernon Grant, the nationally acclaimed illustrator and Rock Hill resident. Grant – creator of the Rice Krispies’ gnomes Snap, Crackle and Pop – drew more than 30 different images of Glen the Frog for Come-See-Me. They depict a happy, welcoming and, usually, well-dressed frog.
Again this year, Come-See-Me has stayed true to its faithful schedule of perennial classics mixed with a few new activities timed to the peak flower blooms at Glencairn Garden. The fun kicks off with the “Blooming Gardens” parade on Thursday.
Other trademark festival events include the Beach Bash, with shagging, and Chalk on Main, which colors downtown on Friday. A half-marathon has been added to the Fun Run and Road Race on Saturday. There are eats and live music at Gourmet Gardens at Cherry Park that day.
Two classic events are held at Winthrop – the Teddy Bear Tea Party on Tuesday on the campus green and Moonlight Jazz and Blues on April 11 at Winthrop Lake.
The festival ends with a bang – barbecue, tailgating, skydiving, fireworks and a competitive cornhole tournament – at Winthrop Lake on April 12.
Mayor Doug Echols admits to being biased in naming his favorite event – the annual Mayor’s Frog Jump, a highly competitive event for kids and their four-legged ribbiting friends on Saturday.
He encourages residents to find activities that interest them and come support the festival.
“There’s really something for everyone at Come-See-Me,” Echols said. “That’s the magic of it all.”