Best Summer Festivals in Greenville, SC


You know it's summer in Greenville when Main Street is pretty much always closed for the festival of the moment. Despite minor traffic jams, Greenvillians love their festivals as a place to gather and share in community. Plus, summer fests are good old-fashioned fun and offer a break in the weekend routine. For art-lovers, culture-seekers, and foodies alike, if you are looking for things to do in Greenville, South Carolina, hit up the summer festivals. And take a friend along.

Strawberry Festival.
Not much needs to be said about this one. Fresh, ripe strawberries may be the single best thing in the history of the world. Ever. The festival coincides with the strawberry harvest, around mid- May. Held at a community center just north of Traveler's Rest, about 30 minutes from Greenville, the Strawberry Festival is a fruit-lover's dream complete with bluegrass music, crafts, and fun for kids. Try the plump, juicy berries from Beechwood Farms, or strawberry lemonade sorbet from Pink Mama's Ice Cream before entering into your sugar coma.

Artisphere.
Kicking off the downtown festivals (and street closures) is Artisphere - a festival that brings together the very best in art, food, and fun. At the Culinary Arts Cafe, food is shared from some of the best local restaurants in Greenville. Stuff your mouth while enjoying music from the nearby stage. There are three music stages in fact, with actual bands that play original music in the lineup (unfortunately, not the standard fare in Greenville). So, you don't want to miss this one. Being an art festival and all, you'll find juried exhibitions, an art in action stage, and a communal structure to encourage everyone to be an artist.

Gallabrae - Greenville Scottish Games.
Pull out your kilt, grab your bagpipes, and gear up for some heavy athletics. Let the Scottish games begin! Held on the beautiful Furman University campus, Gallabrae is a celebration of all things Scottish. Clans from all over the country show up the last weekend in May to honor their history, join together, and share Scottish traditions. In the Wee Scotland village, kids first pass through the Loch Nessie gate and are given a passport to collect stamps. There's also the Great Scot! Parade that treks through downtown Greenville, a border collie show, and a British Car show.

Brew in the Zoo.
Embrace your inner party animal and let loose with the lions at the Greenville Zoo. A special beer is brewed with ingredients chosen by none other than the zoo's orangutans, Mia and Chelsea (with assistance from the zoo keepers, of course). The event, presented by RJ Rockers Brewing Company, features beer tastings from up to 15 breweries, as well as several food vendors and live music to enjoy at the shady zoo grounds after hours.

Annual Upstate Shakespeare Festival.
If Falls Park on a summer night isn't enough enticement on its own, throw some Shakespeare into the mix, and a perfect evening ensues at this festival hosted by the Warehouse Theater. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on and prepare to be impressed as the stories come to life. It's way more exciting than reading Shakespeare in high school English class. The festival kicks off in May but lasts all summer for your viewing enjoyment. There might even be a food truck or two parked nearby.

As summer heats up, the people of Greenville head out. Join the crowd and experience the best food, culture, art, and more at Greenville's summer festivals.

Jannan Poppen is an educator and freelance writer in Greenville, SC. She's an explorer at heart and will try just about anything once.