Smooth jazz drew a steady crowd, but organizers say the unique puppets and avant-garde masks featured at last weekend’s Bebop Parade ranked among the South Carolina Jazz Festival’s biggest hits.
Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a Saxapahaw, North Carolina-based puppet theater company, brought a full complement of characters, including a towering owl and solar-faced giant, to Cheraw for the 10th annual celebration of all things jazz in legendary saxophonist Dizzy Gillespie’s hometown.
“Everyone wants them back,” said Lindsay Bennett, executive director of the Cheraw Arts Commission. She said the puppets and masks received rave reviews from parade-goers.
The S.C. Jazz Festival included the popular parade, a birthday cake celebration for Gillespie in Centennial Park — Dizzy would have turned 98 on Saturday — a sidewalk chalk competition, daytime concerts and evening jazz crawls.
Bennett said the weekend was a success and was relieved the weather cooperated, with no rainouts Friday through Sunday.
Organizers were still gathering numbers for the various activities this week, but they estimate about 2,500 students enjoyed the school performances. Evening concerts on Friday and Saturday filled the Theatre on the Green almost to full capacity. The theatre seats nearly 250 people.
The festival committee reviews the event lineup each year, looking for ways to tweak the music and art offerings as well as continuing to make the weekend celebration the best it can be. Bennett said organizers plan to keep it fresh, adding new activities for future fests.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.