There will be dancing in the streets at the Main Street Fort Mill Jam on July 14 and Aug. 11. The events feature four food trucks, a variety of vendors, beer and wine, two bands and a chance to dunk U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman for a worthy cause.
Cooked up by Hobo’s owner Jason Cloud and Amor Artis Brewing co-owner Steve Tolson, the Jam is designed to promote downtown merchants and highlight the revitalization of historic Fort Mill. Main Street will be blocked off from Academy to Clebourne and Tom Hall streets, and a portion of Confederate Street will also be closed for the event.
A Fort Mill High School graduate, Tolson recently moved back to his hometown to start a brewery with his brother. He was impressed by all the businesses that had opened up shop in downtown Fort Mill while he was away.
“If you’ve lived here for 10 to 15 years or longer, you might think of downtown Fort Mill as being drab and not having a whole lot of retail business or life to it,” Tolson said. “But that’s all changed drastically in the last few years.”
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He’d spent the last 10 years living in Charleston, where the city blocks off a portion of downtown for Second Sundays – a monthly event that allows pedestrians to stroll down King Street and enjoy food, beverages and live music.
“I figured if Charleston can shut down King Street for a day, then Fort Mill should be able to shut down Main Street for a day,” Tolson said.
He and Cloud began brainstorming in November and took their idea to Fort Mill Town Council. Tolson said the town's leaders have backed the event, helping with strategic details.
“They’ve line up having police officers there and getting the barricades up, they also talked to the state about getting the road shut down for the event,” he said. “They’ve been really supportive in helping putting this event together.”
The Jam is also promoting a local nonprofit, the 809 Foundation, created to further the legacy of York County Deputy Michael Doty who was killed in the line of duty in January. It provides assistance in substance abuse prevention and treatment, youth mentoring and community unity.
Foundation team member Lisa Moseley said partnering with the Main Street Fort Mill Jam is an important milestone in the nonprofit’s effort.
“This will be a chance for us to meet the community, for them to see what the 809 Foundation is doing, how they can get involved and how we will continue to impact Fort Mill and surrounding communities in honor of Mike Doty,” she said.
At the July 14 event, the foundation will sell tickets for a chance to submerge Norman in a dunk tank. It will also sell tickets for entry into a corn hole tournament planned for the Aug. 11 event. All proceeds will go toward the foundation’s cause.
Admission to both events is free. Food trucks include Improper Pig, Cibi Cibi, Strudelteig and Kona Ice Fort Mill.
Reggae Don will kick off the festivities from 2 - 5 p.m. and Hoodwinked, playing a variety of songs from different eras and genres, will close out the evenings from 6 - 9 p.m. Both bands will set up near Southern Sugar.
Tolson said he hopes these will be the first of many Main Street Fort Mill Jams.
“The idea is to promote downtown Fort Mill as being a fun, cool exciting place where you can go have a beer or have dinner or shop,” he said, “to show everyone what the historic downtown has to offer.”
For more information visit Main Street Fort Mill's Facebook page or fortmillconnections.com/events/main-street-fort-mill-jam-499.