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Festival fun for all

Greenville native Caleb Luckie serenades the crowd at the second annual Camellia City Fest, which was held in downtown Greenville on Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and featured live music, a classic car show and a variety of vendors.  (Advocate Staff/Angie Long)

Greenville native Caleb Luckie serenades the crowd at the second annual Camellia City Fest, which was held in downtown Greenville on Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and featured live music, a classic car show and a variety of vendors. (Advocate Staff/Angie Long)

The blue skies and sunshine were elusive on Saturday, but that didn’t stop the good times from rolling right into the heart of Greenville.

The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce’s second installment of Camellia City Fest drew attendees downtown to enjoy mouth-watering festival foods, vintage vehicles, a variety of arts, crafts and gift items, plus live entertainment courtesy of local talents.

Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Francine Wasden couldn’t have been happier late Saturday morning.

“So far, so good. No rain!” Wasden exclaimed with a broad smile as she enjoyed an early lunch right beside one of the blooming camellia bushes that gave the festival its name.

Youngsters romped in the bouncy castle as the heady scent of boiled peanuts, barbecue and fresh funnel cake promised a pleasant experience for the taste buds of young and old alike.

Kyle Haynes and David Norrell of Q-94 kept the music and patter going between live sets, with Norrell leading festival-goers in a rousing performance of “YMCA.”

Shelby Sullivan was one of the attendees getting into the spirit of things as she spelled out the title of the iconic song. Her mom, Louise Sullivan, was enjoying the festival with former Greenvillian little Ellie Gilliland.

“Ellie’s family is visiting here this weekend and we thought we would come downtown today,” Sullivan explained.

John Feathers, who lives within walking distance of downtown Greenville, said he came over “to see what it was all about” and liked what he saw and heard.

“I think this is great. Other towns have these types of events and I hope Greenville will keep this up,” Feathers said. “It’s good for the community — and it’s fun!”

Homegrown talent Caleb Luckie sang and performed on his guitar Saturday morning, with Max Conway and the Girl Next Door, better known as Katye Giddens, serenading the crowd with country tunes in the afternoon.

With Commerce Street cordoned off for several blocks, attendees could safely roam and browse booths up and down the city’s main thoroughfare. Everything was on offer from live plants, handcrafted jewelry, candles, soaps and wind chimes to children’s clothing, solid wood toys and home décor items tailored to the season and your favorite college football team.

At State Farm Insurance Agent Abbie Ballew’s tent, children lined up to get their faces painted courtesy of Ballew and her mother-in-law, Tricia.

“I do great cat faces. That’s my specialty,” Ballew said with a grin as she painted a pink nose on one of her young customers.

Several downtown businesses were also open for the event, including Nancy’s Heirlooms.  Margaret Pierce was on hand to assist shop proprietor Nancy Faulkenberry, who featured some seasonal items on display in front of the shop.

Festival attendees Dent and Lori Neilson stopped by Faulkenberry’s business, where Lori found a huggable little stuffed bunny she said would make a perfect gift for someone special.

Wasden has high hopes for the future of Camellia City Fest.

“It has so many possibilities to be a huge event in Greenville,” she said. “My vision is to have tents from the Chamber office all the way to the courthouse — now wouldn’t that be fun?”