Tastebuds for Blackville: Town gears up for 'Taste of Blackville'

Barnwell County residents will have a chance to grab some chow, bag some fresh produce and snag some yard sale treasures this weekend in Blackville.

The Blackville Downtown Development Association is holding its third annual ‘Taste of Blackville' festival April 17 and 18 on Main Street in downtown Blackville.

A variety of activities and food vendors - including opening day of the Blackville Downtown Farmer's Market, a community yard sale and a book-signing at the Discovery Center with plenty of food from regional restaurants- should keep participants' feet moving and their stomachs full.

The event kicks off Friday, April 17 at the Blackville Community Center 5:30 p.m. with a chicken dinner and Bingo, said Sylvia Quattlebaum, the secretary for the Blackville Downtown Development Association (BDDA).

The purpose of the BDDA is to provide opportunities for the citizens through growth, recreation and cultural facilities while recognizing the town's historic significance, said Quattlebaum.

"It is especially important this year to give our citizens a lift during this unfortunate economic time in our nation," she said. "Our children are our future and we want them to have a day of free events."

Festivities on April 18 begin at 10 a.m. with the season opening of the Blackville Downtown Farmer's Market, said Jeanne Johnson, the Blackville Downtown Farmer's Market manager.

"We look forward to our market's 2009 opening day taking place at the ‘Taste of Blackville,'" said Johnson. "It's a great way to introduce new vendors to our community."

The market will showcase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, said Johnson.

"We have vendors from Blackville, Barnwell and Windsor so far," she said.

The market is now authorized to accept WIC and SNAP payments, said Johnson.

"We have an EBT machine for SNAP recipients and we're authorized to accept WIC vouchers," said Johnson.

Other food vendors will be in downtown Blackville with chicken, baked goods, hamburgers and other tasty treats, said Quattlebaum.

Activities throughout the day will include children's games, face-painting, a giant slide, story-time with "Granny," entertainment by the local quartet, The Traveling Stars, a community yard sale on Main Street and the Blackville-Hilda High School step team, said Quattlebaum.

Participants can take a short drive to the Discovery Center on U.S. 278 and fill up their plates with more food.

The center is hosting a signing for the restaurant review book "Stop Where the Parking Lot's Full," from 11a.m. until 2p.m.

The popular column from Sandlapper magazine, written by Aida Rogers and Tim Driggers, has been compiled into a dining guide that features more than 150 South Carolina restaurants. Authors Rogers and Driggers will be on hand to sign copies of the book, said Grace Jameson, the tourism supervisor for the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.

"We have invited all the restaurants that are featured in the book which are part of the Region 3 corridor and they will be presenting their speciality or signature dish," said Jameson.

Barnwell County's Miller's Bread Basket, the Winton Inn and Hattie and Frannie's Two will be cooking up dishes for people to sample free of charge, said Jameson.

Other popular food spots featured in the book from Aiken, Bamberg and Orangeburg counties will be offering food and refreshments, said Jameson.

Jameson said it's vital for organizations to pool resources and share the spotlight.

"It's important to partner with all local businesses and promote each other any way we can and share what Blackville has to offer," said Jameson.

With bellies full, people can wind down the day with some soulful singing.

The Blackville Golf Course/Country Club and First Tee program is hosting ‘A Community Gospel Sing-Out,' at the Blackville Hilda High School auditorium at 6 p.m.
The fund-raising event will showcase performances and guest appearances by regional and out-of-state gospel groups.

Funds will go toward efforts to re-open the Blackville golf course and country club to the community and students.

"We look for a beautiful day Saturday when folks can stroll downtown, relax, have a few laughs, eat a yummy lunch and support Blackville's efforts in making the festival possible," said Johnson.

Anyone who is interested in being a part of the yard sale or a vendor for the festival call Sylvia Quattlebaum (803) 284-2000 or e-mail her at sylviakq@yahoo.com.

For more information on the book-signing event call the Discovery Center (803) 284-3976 or e-mail blackvilledc@scprt.com.

For more information on the gospel show call the Blackville-Hilda school district office (803) 284-5605.