Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



Ushering in the season at Pendleton’s Spring Fling

Posted 4/11/2011 12:03:00 PM

I spent a recent Saturday on a quaint village green, lined with flowering trees, enjoying the sun’s warm rays. The sounds of live music filled the air -- as did the delightful aroma of barbecue, bratwurst and funnel cakes – and everywhere I looked there were happy children dancing on green grass, girlfriends happily browsing paintings, pottery and jewelry, and couples sharing homemade ice cream cones. Spring had officially begun in South Carolina at the annual “Spring Fling” in Pendleton.

The Spring Fling has been around since 1978, and since then it has become a highly anticipated festival. The main event is the juried art showcase and sale. More than 300 artists and craftspeople vie for only 90 spots.

This year’s work was exceptional as always. Sweetgrass basket weaver Henrietta Bennett from Mount Pleasant displayed her lovely, traditional baskets. Susan Budnick, whose photography captures the charm of the Lowcountry, also won a spot as one of the vendors. Numerous booths showcased wonderful South Carolina pottery. Many of the artists were local, but the festival’s reputation for quality now draws talent from all over the country. I was entranced by the quirky birdhouses of North Carolinian Munsey Millaway.

But it’s not just the high quality of the artwork that makes the Spring Fling so special. In fact, it’s hard to pinpoint what makes it such a wonderful weekend. There’s a great spirit in the air. Although the place was packed when I was there on Saturday, there was no jostling, no hint of aggravation in the crowds. People were smiling, content to breathe in the spring air and chat with a neighbor while waiting to sample local goat cheese or talk with the folks at the Happy Berry about how to grow their own pussywillows in South Carolina.

As I drove out of Pendleton, past the rows of parked cars, I couldn’t help but notice one vehicle. It was covered in streamers and cans and on the back window, scrawled in soap, were the words, “Just Married!”

It’s a pretty special arts festival that can call itself a honeymoon destination. But given the fun-loving warmth I experienced at Pendleton “Spring Fling,” I wasn’t a bit surprised. I get the feeling that people who attend the Spring Fling come back year after year.

Click here for more information on the festival.