Hey, Kids, What time is it?
That's right! It's time for our annual Come-See-Me Primer, The Herald's exclusive newcomers' guide to Rock Hill's annual spring festival.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from readers:
Q: Is it true that the idea for Come-See-Me started when a former mayor encountered a frog named Glen in Glencairn Garden?
A: That is a widely told story but one that was concocted by a former mayor, Icky Albright, and his partner in myth, Vernon Grant, a renowned magazine illustrator and Chamber of Commerce executive.
In actuality, Come-See-Me's origins date from the early days when Rock Hill was a small textile village, largely peopled by German immigrants. It was originally called "Kommen In" Festival, which is what the hausfraus would shout from the back stoop when calling children in for dinner. The name of the festival was changed because of anti-German sentiment during World War I and because the Cabbage Famine of 1919 made it impossible to continue the sauerkraut-eating competition.
Q: Was the Mayor's Frog Jump always part of the annual festival?
A: No, the Frog Jump was substituted for a beauty contest that never drew many entrants. Come-See-Me organizers were baffled that so few young ladies wanted to compete for the title of Miss Frog Legs.
Q: With all the scandals rocking the world of athletics, what's Come-See-Me doing to ensure that there won't be cheating in the Frog Jump?
A: The mayor asked Herald columnist Andrew Dys to administer steroid tests to participating frogs. Dys had to wear a referee's jersey, so he wouldn't be mistaken for one of the contestants.
Q: Why does the route for the Come-See-Me Parade seem to change ever year?
A: The Rock Hill City Council figured that was the best way to keep from alienating residents in any particular neighborhood. In fact, they like the idea so well they are thinking about doing the same thing with other municipal functions. Beginning next year, neighborhoods will be asked to take turns hosting the city airport for a year.
Q: Any truth to the rumor that the reason the Pope didn't visit Rock Hill this week is that the Come-See-Me Festival Committee refused to let the Popemobile lead the parade?
A: That's an absolute tarradiddle!
Q: There was an alarming incident in Tega Cay recently when lots of people became ill after eating tainted barbecue. Can something like that take place during Come-See-Me?
A: Festival officials say they are doing everything they can to ensure all events will both taste good and be in good taste.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: Festival organizers resurrected DooDah as part of the Come-See-Me Parade this year but insisted that all entries be family friendly. In other words, nothing patently offensive would be allowed.
Q: But isn't that the whole point of DooDah?
Q: Any new events this year?
A: Yes, the Jaywalkers Jaunt. At 2 a.m. next Saturday, bar-goers will exit their favorite Main Street pub and see who can stagger in the most indirect route to a nearby church. Anyone who walks less than 1,000 feet will be disqualified.
Q: Rock Hill has been under sprinkler restrictions for several months now, but the city is as beautiful as ever, with all the azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom. How can that be?
A: The City Council's decision to relax the sprinkling ban last week came too late for spring blossoms, so city crews were dispatched to attach plastic blossoms to every azalea and dogwood in the city.
Q: South Carolina no longer occupies the presidential campaign spotlight. Are any of the major candidates expected to appear at Come-See-Me?
A: No, thank goodness! Back in March, we thought they'd never leave.
Q: Rock Hill is a great place to visit, but traffic can be a problem sometimes. What ever happened to plans to extend Charlotte's new light-rail system, The Lynx, down this way?
A: We don't know the answer to that question, but it appears Rock Hill will have to be content with the Missing Lynx.