Spring, according to the calendar, arrived on March 20. But we'd say the season officially arrives today with the beginning of Rock Hill's annual Come-See-Me festival.
The past three weeks have been only intermit-tently spring-like, with a lot of gray, rainy, semi-wintry days. Today, however, should be a perfect spring day with clear skies, sunshine and the entire city in bloom.
The festival officially begins with the All-American Parade at 6 p.m. tonight. The parade will feature marching bands, floats, steel drum bands and mascots, not to mention the return of DooDah, the irreverent section of the parade.
In addition to the parade, events today include the Big South Conference tennis and track championships, with competition throughout the day at Winthrop Lake on Eden Terrace. And music lovers can go to Acoustic Cafe with Ashley Peeples tonight at the studio of Terry Roueche, 1326 Main St., beginning at 7 p.m.
The 10-day festival will feature a variety of events -- some traditional favorites for decades, others brand new -- for people of all ages. There will be music in abundance, beginning with Friday's downtown Beach Bash with tunes by The Legends of Beach.
Glencairn Garden Entertainment offers live music from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with an evening performance, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Winthrop's campus will be the site of Christian Music Night on Saturday and the Winthrop Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony Concert on April 24. "The Piano Men," 8 p.m. Saturday at the McCelvey Center in York, features the music of Billy Joel.
Hungry? Try the Sertoma Club Pancake Breakfast, 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, 234 Main St., or go to Gourmet Gardens at Cherry Park on Saturday and Sunday. Street vendors also will be selling food at a number of events.
Children will have a variety of events to choose from, including the ever-popular Mayor's Frog Jump, Sundaes with Glen and Mother Goose, and the Mark Twain classic, "Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Older kids can compete in the Youth Indoor Rock Climbing Competition and attend the first-ever Teen Night Bowling.
Cultural events include Living History Day at Brattonsville on Saturday. Watch a performance of "The Odd Couple," 8 p.m. Saturday, at the Celanese Union Hall, 1031 Mount Gallant Road, and again at the same time and location on April 26. Performances of Winthrop's One-Act Play Festival will take place Friday and Saturday at the university's Johnson Studio Theater.
Sporting events include Winthrop softball, the golf tournament, the Come-See-Me Fun Run and, for four-legged athletes, the Canine Disc Competition. Art also will be on view at a variety of venues throughout the week.
As usual, the festival will end with a bang. After the Tailgate Party at Winthrop Lake on April 26, the last day of the festival, the Fireworks Extravaganza will begin at 9 p.m.
A full schedule of events was included in Wednesday's Herald, and we will run a list of daily events in each day's Herald.
As Rock Hill residents do each year, we invite those near and far to come see us. We think you'll be glad you did.