Azalea Fest to kick off with ‘Your Carolina’ broadcast

PICKENS — The Azalea Festival, which rates among the South Carolina Upstate’s largest venues of arts, crafts, and musical events, will celebrate its 29th year, slated for April 19-20, in a large way.

According to Russ Gantt, director of the festival, local celebrities Jack Roper and Pickens County’s own Kimberly Kelly will broadcast the WSPA Channel 7 show “Your Carolina” live from Pickens on Friday, April 19, at 10 a.m.

“We are all really excited to have Jack and Kimberly coming to Pickens with ‘Your Carolina’ for the festival’s first day,” Gantt said. “There will be a stage near the courthouse, so folks can stop by and see this popular show in person.”

Roper, who has a long and productive career in broadcast news, is well-known locally as the entertaining and often correct weather forecaster on the WSPA news channel, before joining the “Your Carolina” team.

Kelly hosted several morning radio shows throughout the Carolinas before entering the realm of television broadcasts, including “Talk of the Town” before joining the “Your Carolina” team.

On Saturday, Pickens’ Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic and the avenues will be filled with artists displaying and selling their crafts which encompasses an array of workmanship, including watercolor or oils painting; photography; metal and wood workings; sewing, crochet, and knitting; and various food items.

No one will be hungry during the festival, Gantt said, due to the wide range of food vendors cooking up a large selection of edibles like hamburgers, hotdogs, gyros, pizzas and barbecue that will satisfy even the most discerning diner.

“The (City of Pickens) firemen will be back this year serving up their hot-off-the-grill hamburger plates,” he said.

And for those wanting a little something sweet, patrons can find ice creams, pastries, flavored ices, and warm funnel cakes, he said.

“We will have something for everyone,” Gantt said.

In addition, visitors to the festival can relax during the fun-filled day while enjoying various forms of entertainment, including musical groups, taking place on both Main Stage, on Court Street and West End stage in front of the Boggs house, Gantt said.

“I think we have one of the best line-ups of entertainment for the 2013 Azalea Festival,” Gantt said. “April 19 and 20 is going to be a great weekend.”