#ShoutOut for a job well done during ROTR
If you follow the city on any of our social media outlets you have probably noticed a few shout out hashtags. We have a lot to be proud of here in Clinton and when something great happens or someone does something excellent we want to acknowledge it.
Lots of individuals, businesses, and organizations deserve a huge #shoutout following the city’s 3rd annual Rhythm on the Rails held May 19th and 20th.
Those that assisted in the organization, planning, sponsorship, and implementation of ROTR2017 did a phenomenal job of showing off all that is wonderful about Clinton. The city welcomed 22 BBQ Competition teams and over 60 vendors to our town. Interestingly, 17 BBQ competition teams and over 20 vendors came from out of our county!
We have had numerous reports from out of town visitors commenting on how nice our town was, that they had no idea Clinton had such a nice downtown area and that they would not only be back – they were going to tell their friends and family about Clinton, South Carolina! That folks – deserves a huge #SHOUTOUT!
Rhythm on the Rails began in the heart of Dianne Wyatt and Elaine Thorpe in 2014 when they applied for Hughes Investments Vibrancy Initiative Elevate Upstate Grant.
Dianne and Elaine thought there was no more appropriate way to honor our train and blues heritage than with a festival that included a salute to the very elements that originally brought our town its vibrancy. Undoubtedly, the grant reviewers found their ideas intriguing as well because the idea of Rhythm on the Rails was selected as a grant finalist.
While we didn’t receive the grant, we did receive a small amount of funding and the idea that Dianne and Elaine developed was so inspiring we decided to implement the festival anyway. Three years later Rhythm on the Rails continues to grow and is something children and adults can all look forward to and be proud of.
Clinton has added a new element to the festival each year. Our latest additions included a Southern BBQ Network (SBN) sanctioned BBQ competition and our First Annual Firefighter games. A huge #shoutout to Public Safety Officer Terrin Reel for all of her hard work and planning for the Firefighter games. The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce also hosted their annual event Heritage Hype in conjunction with Rhythm on the Rails this year.
Everyone that assisted with the festival was extremely helpful but I have to send a very special #shoutout to Kevin Hawkins, our Utility Billing Coordinator who took off his billing hat and donned his BBQ hat for the weekend and he showed off. Kevin took charge of BBQ Branch Line and I never had to think about what was going on in that area. All of the teams had nothing but compliments about all Kevin and his team did to assist them.
However, everyone should be proud. We had compliments about our businesses, our landscape, how neat our downtown is, and how helpful and friendly everyone was. This truly was a shining weekend for Clinton.
My final #shoutout is to our sponsors that contributed both financially and in kind to our festival: CNNGA, Self Medical Group, Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission, Founders Federal Credit Union, Chick-fil-A of Laurens County, Cooper Motor Company/Destination Honda, Jody’s RV, and Hampton Inn. This truly was a community event.
Going forward it’s an exciting day for Clinton. Our newly-hired Main Street Manager Adele Alducin who comes to us with over 20 years of festival and downtown event experience will take the reigns of the Main Street program which includes Rhythm on the Rails and Town Rhythms.
However, the Main Street program involves so much more. In the days and months ahead you will see Adele out and about promoting the historic and economic redevelopment of our business district to build and promote a vibrant and thriving downtown that meets the needs and wants of our citizens and visitors alike. Stay tuned everyone; it’s a great day in the City of Clinton.
(Mary-Wallace Riley is coordinator of special projects/communications for The City of Clinton.)