The Charleston Gateway to the Delta Festival has become a highlight to the town of Charleston each fall.
For one day, the Charleston Court Square is closed off to traffic, while food vendors, arts and crafts exhibitors, local businesses, former classmates, friends and family can gather together to celebrate our town, while hosting out of town musical talent in an all day event.
While we are still in the planning phases of each area of the festival, there have been some changes that are already decided on. With the growth of the festival, we must adapt, adjust and change each year. While some people may never notice the changes, we are working hard to make the festival reach it maximum potential and keep it safe for all attendees. Some areas of change and growth will be the Kids Zone, Car Show and 5K Run/Walk.
We are expanding the kids zone, not only in size, but in the time it is opened. We are adding two hours to that area, starting at 9 a.m. instead of the traditional 11 a.m. start time, and ending at 3 o’clock. We are adding a stage to the kids area, on the east side of the square, to host local talent and competitions. Anita Greenwood is overseeing this area again, and she always does an amazing job.
Last year we introduced a small car show that was hosted on the west side of the square. This year we will grow the car show and move it to a new location on the north side near the post office. Mayor Sedrick Smith is heavily involved with this aspect of the festival, and we know that he will help us grow the car show into a wonderful part of the festival.
Emily Flautt is overseeing the 5K Run/Walk for the second year, and she has already made some great changes. We are making this year’s 5K into a color run called “Color My Delta.” Individuals and teams of 4 can register online or at the CARE office, to race in this colorful event. This year’s event will still be timed, and we are giving away prizes for the best costume for an individual or team. We are adding a kids fun run for the little ones who wish to participate, but may not want to run a 5K. This is a great twist on the traditional 5K, and is a safe, fun way to get out and get healthy.
Our official welcome will still be held on the main stage next to the Charleston Arts Center around 10 a.m. and the musical acts will take the stage shortly thereafter. This year’s music lineup was announced last month, and we are already hearing wonderful things from the community about the line up. We are striving to bring acts to Charleston that are new to many of you, to offer a variety for all attendees, and to entertain everyone who will be a part of the festival. We have started to make a name for ourselves as a small town festival, and touring artists want to come here and take part in what we are doing.
It is my hope that everyone finds an artist that day, that they fall in love with, and will want to hear again. This year’s artists are: John Milstead, Damein Wash, Eisenhauer Band, Davis Coen, Jeff Allen, Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, and Band of Heathens.
Gateway is constantly growing and evolving, and with that growth comes the need for volunteers and for money. We are currently in the middle of fundraising and gathering donations and sponsorships. If you are interested in helping us with a sponsorship, please call the office at 647-0942.
Applications for food vendors, arts and crafts and also reunions can be found on our website. Also, we add information to our Facebook page and will begin having giveaways soon, so be sure to like our page: Charleston Gateway to the Delta Festival. Be sure to come out on Sept. 19 to celebrate our town. The festival starts at 9 a.m.
Our town size almost triples on the day of the festival, when we host this event. It is our hope that each and every year we see growth. I hope that you will all attend, some of you will volunteer, and everyone will be sure to bring a friend! This is a great chance for us to help change Charleston.
By Maegan Speir Elliott, Executive Director Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort executive director