UNION — This year’s Uniquely Union Festival in September may prove to be the best yet. With a new attitude, logo and location; the festival committee is making plans to add attractions, food, entertainment and vendors using a family-friendly format that will have every member of the family enjoying the fun. There are a couple of major changes in the festival for this year, the biggest being a change in venue from the fairground to downtown.
Festival committee chairperson Jami Trammell explained, “We have a beautiful downtown area and, by moving the festival from the fairground to downtown, we hope to have our visitors leave with the same appreciation of this area that we have.”
Also, in years past, the Uniquely Union Festival was known mainly as a barbecue festival. That designation is being dropped in favor of a festival featuring entertainment, art, crafts and a variety of food. The barbecue competition will remain a large part of the festival and, to make sure that it continues to be successful, the prize money for this year’s winners has been increased.
“We have re-branded the festival with a new logo that shows the diversity we’re trying to achieve,” said Trammell. “We’ve added to the Uniquely Union Art and Music Walk and upgraded the Kidz Zone by adding mechanical rides. Also, by moving to downtown, we will be able to showcase our Union County Museum and Arts Council gallery on Main Street and bring more business to the downtown merchants.”
Festival goers strolling Union’s Main Street this year will notice that the city is divided into sections, with each section having unique vendors and entertainment. A short walk from the courthouse, the first block on Main Street will feature restored vintage cars.
Moving on past Arthur State Bank you will be entering the Uniquely Art and Music Walk. Artists will be on hand to sell their art, as well as demonstrate their techniques. The stage in this area will present local singer-songwriter talent as well as some surprises. This is also where the Union County Arts Council will host a wine tasting.
Walking down another block you’ll be entering the Uniquely Kidz Zone. Kids will be treated to entertainment booked especially for them and all the free rides that they can handle. Vendors will be on hand selling kid-friendly snacks.
Finally, on the last block before USC-Union, you’ll come to the Uniquely Gospel area. This is where church groups will have displays and the stage will be filled with gospel and Christian music all day long.
But, that’s not all!
Leave Main Street and head up North Mountain Street and you’ll encounter more vendors and a food court. These vendors will be selling any merchandise that doesn’t fit into the “art” category and the food court vendors will have a wide variety of food for sale.
The main stage is also in this area. This stage will feature one support band each day of the festival during the afternoon and a headliner at night. Friday night’s highlight will be Elvis impersonator Rick Alviti and the Rick Alviti Show Band. Alviti’s show, “That’s The Way It Was,” has been seen by millions at venues such as the Alabama Theater in Myrtle Beach; the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY; and the Casino Pauma in Pauma Valley, California.
Saturday night will see the return on Union’s own Travis Worthy and Soul Function. Worthy and his band play a special blend of funk, blues, southern rock and oldies and are a house favorite at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach and are know as the “ultimate strand band.”
One of the most popular events each year at the Uniquely Union Festival is the “Tasters’ Choice” held in conjunction with the barbecue competition. By purchasing a bracelet, festival goers have the chance to taste samples from the competition cookers and vote for their favorite.
Across from the main stage area, kids will be delighted by the Simple Times Farm exhibit. Simple Times staff will be demonstrating spinning yarn, candle making and iron work. Donkey cart rides will also be offered.
Finally, Thursday night before the festival, the Uniquely Union Beauty Pageant will be held at the USC-Union auditorium.
“We’re working very, very hard to provide Union with a first-class festival,” said Trammell. “We hope to see big crowds each day and look forward to having the chance to show off Union to out-of-town visitors.”
The Uniquely Union Festival will take place September 13-14 in downtown Union.