Thousands drawn to 44th annual Flowertown Festival

Imogene Green enjoys the view from her father Chris’ shoulders Saturday.

Storm clouds cleared in time for thousands to enjoy a sunny Saturday afternoon at the 44th annual Flowertown Festival.

The Summerville Family YMCA’s annual event is a celebration of the town’s floral heritage. More than 400 regional artisans and other vendors displayed their work at this year’s festival, which is touted as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20.

The three-day event also includes live entertainment, displays from business and civic organizations, carnival, a farmer’s market and food vendors, offering attendees plenty to peruse during a slow afternoon stroll through the town’s streets and parks.

More than 200,000 people are drawn each year to the event, according to Kristin Fry, the YMCA’s communications coordinator.

“I think the rain was a little bit of a deterrence this morning and yesterday afternoon, but great crowds are out here right now,” she said Saturday afternoon.

Proceeds from the festival contribute toward more than $100,000 in scholarships each year at the YMCA.

“All the funds raised go back to our financial assistance program,” Fry said. “We scholarship families and youth to participate in healthy living programs like youth soccer, teaching a child how to swim and we have a new diabetes prevention program.”

Attendee Kelley Minor, 35, of Mount Pleasant, said she’d visited the festival a few times in the past, but Saturday was her first time with children.

“We spent more on the rides and the carnival than we did on the vendors,” she said.

Picking a favorite moment from the day would be hard to do, piped up Scarlett Simmon, a 10-year-old girl with the woman.

“I liked how we got to spin a wheel and get free stuff,” the girl said of one carnival game.

This year’s vendors included Melissa Calabro who fashions and sells children’s clothing from her Charleston home.

“It started because I started making clothes for my daughter, who’s 2. I make everything for her first and then I make it to sell after that,” Calabro said of her business Curly Cues Boutique.

Charles Pinckney traveled to Summerville from Athens, Ga., to showcase his welded jewelry.

Asked what motivated him to make the trip, Pinckney said, “aside from the bottom line, which is income, it’s the people. Meeting the people and talking with the people and experiencing all different kinds of people — that’s the flavor I love. I could do this online only or I could do this through galleries, but I would miss that connection with the people that ultimately wear my work.”

The Flowertown Festival will resume Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on this year’s vendors, download the festival’s app or visit its website.

Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908.