Starting Friday, the streets of Cheraw will be filled with the smooth sounds of music and the bustle of people as the South Carolina Jazz Festival comes home for its 10th year.
Cheraw Arts Commission executive director Lindsay Bennett said she is excited about the number of visual artists who will be participating in this year’s festival, planned Friday through Sunday. Bennett has been on board since the festival’s inception.
She says it’s a weekend of celebrating native son and jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie in his hometown. The festival is filled with music and sprinkled with arts and history. A golf tournament is also held with proceeds benefiting the Dizzy Gillespie Scholarship Fund.
“I always enjoy the Madonnari chalk contest on Saturday,” Bennett said. “There will be two wonderful musicians at the Theatre on the Green — Ignacio Berroa, a drummer who actually played and knew Dizzy Gillespie and Carol Welsman, an international jazz vocalist and pianist. I am excited about having them here. It’s just a fun weekend with lots of music and glorious weather.”
Organizers are adding some new elements this year, such as the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, which will feature giant puppets during Saturday’s parade. They will also be around throughout the day. There will also be about 25 visual artists and craftsmen this year.
Attendees will be able to enjoy a wine and cheese tasting with jazz music at the Wine Factory.
The younger crowd can enjoy Bebop Bingo at 12:30 p.m. Saturday near the Theatre on the Green. Bebop and Bites will run from noon until 3 p.m. at the Kevin Lear’s courtyard with jazz music. The Green Door restaurant will have lunch and sweet potato pie, which is rumored to have been Dizzy Gillespie’s favorite dessert.
Bennett and others at the Cheraw Arts Commission are checking things off their t0-do list to make sure everything will be ready for the event. They are also contacting the venues to finalize plans.
Planning for the festival starts in January each year.
“This is an opportunity for attendees to learn about Dizzy Gillespie,” she said.
Also new this year is SCETV’s presentation of “From the Be to the Bop,” a short film that will be shown at Theatre on the Green.
The Southern African-American Heritage Museum will present a chat with a relative of Gillespie on Saturday. There also is the historic Cheraw cellphone tour that features some Dizzy-related sites.
For a full schedule of events, visit the South Carolina Jazz Festival website at www.scjazzfestival.com.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.