Elisha Park will be busy again next spring, on back-to-back weekends in particular, if the town can swing it.
The Fort Mill History Museum again plans to hold its Fort Mill History Days. The event was held in April this year with the intent of starting an annual celebration, with re-enactments, demonstrations and other historical activities. A replica of the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, was the major draw.
The town is considering organizers’ request for a repeat next spring.
“This year, they want to have it the week before the Strawberry Festival,” said Kimberly Starnes, Fort Mill events coordinator. “We have concerns.”
Both events are scheduled to be in Elisha Park. The history event drew perhaps 3,000 people last year, Starnes said. The Strawberry Festival drew an estimated 60,000.
Setup for the Strawberry Festival begins early enough that it could conflict with a weekend event prior, officials said.
The history event requested use of the park Friday through Sunday.
“We think it could possibly happen if they bumped it down to two days, Saturday and Sunday,” Starnes told Town Council at an Aug. 25 meeting. “One issue is they do have people camping.”
Re-enactors have an “extremely busy schedule” next spring, Starnes said, with anniversaries of major Civil War events. Their schedule allowed only for the April 24-26 weekend.
The town will see if history event organizers can use parts of the park that aren’t being staked for the upcoming festival.
“Can you get them to set it up in an area where they’re not putting holes in the ground?” Councilman Ronnie Helms asked.
The council heard the request at its recent meeting but the issue wasn’t up for vote. Several members expressed interest in trying to make both events work.
“If it’s a complete disaster, we’ll know not to ever do that again,” Councilman Tom Adams said.
Starnes said the scheduling issue with re-enactors should be a one-time thing, and in the future the events likely would continue with a little more spacing between them.
Mayor Danny Funderburk joined others in applauding the history event and wanting to see it grow. “I hate not to work with them,” he said.
The council agreed to allow the common area of Town Hall for use by Art on Main, which will be held Oct. 25. Artwork will hang there and at other locales during the event, which also is put on by the History Museum.