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Union hosts Environmental Art & Music Festival for Earth Day

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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UNION, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Apr. 22 is Earth Day. And to promote a community vibrancy initiative through food and fun, Union is putting on a festival.

It’s called the Environmental Art and Music Festival. This is the second time Union has hosted the event.

After the launch in September 2019, the pandemic shut down the festival for almost three years. Now, they’re back to reintroduce it to celebrate the beauty of nature and the outdoors.

Toccoa Switzer with The Piedmont Physic Garden, in Union, says the garden came up with the idea and applied for a grant. And they’ve celebrated Earth Day in some way since 2015.

“Union County is a beautiful county,” Switzer said, “And so, we feel like it’s a good fit to celebrate the outdoors.”

Switzer says they received a $3,000 matching grant from Ten At The Top plus an investment of $1,500 from Union County and the City of Union.

“We just want everyone to enjoy being outside. Gardening is a wonderful way for anyone to contribute to the beautification of Union,” Switzer said.

Festival coordinator Winter Stakely says festival-goers can learn from the state’s Department of Natural Resources’ boat simulation and wildlife exhibit.

“You can walk in and, actually, they’ll demonstrate all kinds of wildlife and conservation efforts,” Stakely said.

There will also be food, vendors, a mobile bar, and performances from singers like Rachel Messer, from The Voice.

“I’ve never been to Union,” said Messer, “This is actually my first time in South Carolina.”

Messer says she hopes the events bring attention to historic cities like Union.

“Cities like this are... they’re just a dying art, honestly. And to take a day, or a weekend, and a festival to really just rally for that, and appreciate it, and celebrate is very important; especially on a day like today,” Messer said.

Stakely says she hopes it’s like a street party, but while the community is there, they can take a moment to embrace what’s around them.

“Every day we happen to walk by and take it for granted, but this is a way to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area,” Stakely said.

There will also be activities for kids, such as a petting zoo, a trackless train, an art show, and more. They expect 500 to 1,000 people.

The festival is free. Friday, the concert will be from 5 p.m. until about 8 p.m. T.J. Jeter and Quest are expected to perform.

Saturday, the festival begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 6 p.m. Rachel Messer performs as well as the Cole Mountain Cloggers.

Learn more here.