19th annual Blue Ridge Fest bringing cruise-in, old-school tunes to town

PICKENS —Thousands of people will flock to Pickens this Friday for Blue Ridge Fest, which will bring the sights and sounds of yesterday back to life to benefit Upstate charities for the 19th year.

Billed as the ultimate retro family experience, the event, co-sponsored by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Blue Ridge Security Solutions, has offered entertainers from the 1950s and ‘60s to go along with a display of more than 200 classic cars each year for nearly two decades. The event is managed by more than 250 Blue Ridge employees and is held at Blue Ridge-Co-op’s Pickens headquarters annually.

“At Blue Ridge Fest, the combination of a classic car cruise-in, beach music, Motown and classic rock ‘n roll provides a unique way for us to support the community,” Blue Ridge Co-op president and CEO Charles Dalton said. “Not only are we proud to provide significant funds to 12 local nonprofit organizations year after year, we also enjoy providing a way for our guests to step back in time to the good ol’ days.”

Performing at this year’s Blue Ridge Fest will be Jay and the Americans, Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners and Jim Quick and Coastline.

The 12 Upstate charities scheduled to benefit from this year’s event include the Cancer Association of Anderson, Collins Children’s Home & Ministries, Center for Developmental Services, Dot’s Kitchen, Emerson Rose Heart Foundation, Feed A Hungry Child, Foothills Alliance, North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry, Rosa Clark Medical Center, Samaritan Health Clinic of Pickens County, The Dream Center of Pickens County, and Wilderness Way Camp School. Beneficiaries are selected by the Blue Ridge Fest planning committee, comprised of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Blue Ridge Security Solutions employees, who receive almost a hundred submissions from local non-profit organizations each year.

Last year’s event attracted more than 6,000 attendees from across the Southeast and raised a total of $185,000.

Since the first Blue Ridge Fest in 1998, which featured an entertainment lineup including Bill Pinckney of The Drifters, the event has raised more than $2 million for charities in Pickens, Oconee, Anderson and Greenville counties.

“(The $2 million mark) is a huge milestone for our dedicated employee volunteers who work tirelessly year after year to put on this family festival to support all of the organizations that help many in need in our community,” Dalton said.

Other top entertainers of yesteryear who have performed at Blue Ridge Fest over the years include The Temptations, Chubby Checker, Ben E. King and Little Anthony and the Imperials.

This year, Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners, a Pittsburgh-based doo-wop group best known for their 1959 hit “Since I Don’t Have You,” and Jay and the Americans, a popular pop music group in the 1960s who hit the Billboard charts with their U.S. No. 3 hit “Come a Little Bit Closer” and another top hit “This Magic Moment,” are sure to dazzle at the event.

The event is scheduled to take place from 6-10:30 p.m. Friday at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative’s outdoor facility at 734 W. Main St. in Pickens. Admission is $20 in advance or $25 at the gate. Children ages 7-12 are admitted for $12 in advance or $15 at the gate, while those ages 6 or younger are admitted free. Attendees arriving in a classic car (1979 or older) with up to four people are admitted for $30. For classic cars, line-up begins at 2 p.m., and gates open at 3 p.m.

For more information about the event and charities, or to purchase tickets online, visit or call (800) 240-3400.