TODAY: We are riding that Rhythm on the Rails
ALWAYS A CLINTON FAVORITE: The Tams were back on The Depot stage Friday night.
The guys never fail to bring an entertaining and high-energy show, this time to the opening night of Rhythm on the Rails. Little Redd and The Tams carry on the tradition of founder Charles Pope, with old and new R&B and shag favorites. The Tams have played Clinton so often they knew to switch to "Love Train" when the first train of the evening rumbled beside The Depot. Activities started Friday at 4 pm, wrapped up at 9, and start at 9 am Saturday, going until 10 pm. Rides will be open all day, and BBQ competition teams will be selling lunch and dinner. Their SBN-sanctioned competition will wrap up at mid-afternooon with awards on the BBQ stage. A Reminder: Day 2 of ROTR, the high temperature will be 90 degrees, stay hydrated. Everyone is invited to enjoy the family-friendly ROTR - all day this Saturday, May 20, in uptown Clinton.
Barbecue will be featured attraction for ROTR
First of a series
By Vic MacDonald
Amazing smells will waft around uptown Clinton May 19 and 20, as 17 barbecue teams vie for trophies in a cooking competition sanctioned by Southern BBQ Network.
It’s part of the 3rd Annual Rhythm on the Rails festival - a tribute to Clinton’s heritage as a RR hub for South Carolina. April 21, there was a reminder of this heritage. During the first-ever-in-spring Town Rhythms, the 8 p.m. train briefly interrupted The Shag Doctorz. Bands that play Clinton frequently have learned to put “a train song” in their play list for just such an occurrence.
SBN (Southern BBQ Network) will have a barbecue judging class in Newberry on May 13. It will bring trained judges to Clinton on Rhythm weekend to examine the food prepared by these 17 competitors:
--Palmetto Moonlight Smokers, Greenwood;
--Butts & Thighs, Newberry;
--The Bulls Smoki’n BBQ, Clinton;
--Hey Good Buddy, Laurens;
--Kick Back Cove Moonshine, Boiling Springs;
--Fully Involved, Newberry;
--C.D.’s BBQ & More, Greenwood;
--Steelhorse Smokehouse, Prosperity;
--Whiteford’s of Laurens;
--Backdraft BBQ, Ladson;
--Rubbing Butts BBQ, Greenwood;
--Banes BBQ & More, Chappells;
--Boar’s Nest BBQ, Little Mountain;
--Smokin’ Rays Custom Bar-BQ, Leesville;
--Special T BBQ, Greenwood;
--D.R.’s Backwoods Hot Smoke BBQ, Newberry;
--Fat Daddy’s, Cross Hill;
--On the Spot BBQ, Greenwood.
These competitors will have their food for sale during the May 19 and 20 Rhythm on the Rails festival. Entertainment, vendors, children’s activities and the Heritage Hype (history and adventure displays) also will be part of ROTR. More information is available on the ROTR Facebook page.
ROTR will have the barbecue competition as part of “Smoke on the Rails,” that will benefit the city’s Clinton Community Cares Utility Billing Assistance Fund. This designated fund assists people who in the summer have trouble paying their utility bills.
After the May 13 class, participants also can judge at any of the upcoming competitions that the SBN sanctions.
SBN judges an assortment of meats, ranging from whole hogs, pork butts, different varieties of pork ribs, all kinds of chicken (Cornish hens, free range, whole chickens prepared, uncut, halved or in pieces) and beef (brisket, steaks, tri-tips, etc.).
Three categories are used in judging: Appearance, Taste and Aroma, Texture and Tenderness, and SBN says each has to be studied in detail and samples tested to determine the quality of each meat and render a skilled judgment.
Entertainment features high-energy R&B,
country rock and the weatherman’s band
Second in a series
A popular, high-energy band and a legacy member of a prominent, local musical family are on the entertainment line-up for next weekend’s Rhythm on the Rails.
Little Redd will bring The Tams to The Depot in uptown Clinton May 19, in a show that never fails to please shaggers and R&B fans alike.
On May 20, Jake Bartley brings his band to The Depot. He is the son of the late Hack Bartley, a founding member of many local musical groups including the Swingin’ Medallions, and a talented solo player.
The Jake Bartley Band is an up-and-coming act in the country-rock genre, playing a “progressive blend of rock, country, soul, jazz and blues...,” its website says.
The Jake Bartley Band was considered as an opening act for Bon Jovi at The Well, Greenville, and has recent and upcoming appearances in Atlanta, Monroe, Ga., Abbeville (May 6 spring fling), Clemson, Waterloo, Leesville, Greenwood (May 18 Uptown Live), Anderson and Summerville.
The band will perform May 25 in Greenwood for the 2nd Annual Hack Bartley All-Star Jam.
Also for ROTR, the weatherman from Channel 7 makes a return visit to Clinton. Always friendly and popular Jack Roper will be on drums for his Weatherman Band, May 20.
The entertainment line-up for ROTR is:
Friday, May 19:
6 p.m., The 14k Gold Band
7 p.m. The Tams
Saturday, May 20:
10 a.m. School District
11 a.m. School District
Noon Hunter Holmes
1 p.m. Redeemers of Faith
2:30 p.m. Mac Arnold & Plate Full of Blues
5 p.m. Jack Roper & The Weatherman Band
7 p.m. Jake Bartley Band.
Music on the Main Line is the entertainment portion of the 3rd Annual Rhythm on the Rails festival. It celebrates Clinton’s position as a railroad junction for South Carolina.
Model train displays, vendors and community groups, activities and game, and food - a nationally sanctioned BBQ cooking contest - also are part of the weekend’s festivities. More information is available at ROTR’s Facebook page.
Mary-Wallace Riley, the City of Clinton’s special projects coordinator, and Adele Alducin, the city’s new Main Street manager, spent time at Newberry’s Pork in the Park April 29. “We went down to Newberry and visited with the judges and talked with all the BBQ teams and ‘borrowed’ a few ideas from them,” Riley said. “We are sanctioned with SBN and the folks with SBN have been so helpful in the planning and preparation of this year's competition.”
A BBQ judging class is scheduled for Saturday, also in Newberry, conducted by SBN (the Southern Barbecue Network).
Riding the rails for history and adventure
Last of a series
Entertainment, train heritage and great food will draw hundreds of visitors to Clinton this weekend. Local tourism organizers want to give these visitors a reason to come back.
In conjunction with the May 19 and 20 Rhythm on the Rails festival, the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce tourism committee is sponsoring a Heritage Hype area in the ROTR expanse that will take over uptown Clinton. In this area will be vendors who specialize in history and adventure, or support the tourism committee’s efforts to have more people visit Laurens County. The Heritage Hype vendors will be:
--PAIA Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation SC;
--USC Union at Laurens;
--Laurens County Trails Association;
--Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps;
--Hospice of Laurens County;
--SC Empowerment Center;
--Precept Staff Inc.;
--DSS Region V Adoptions;
--Renea Rowland Nationwide;
--Laurens County Chamber of Commerce;
--Laurens County Museum.
Many more organizations and vendors will be scattered around the ROTR area, along with kids’ activities, a BBQ contest, model railroad displays, and two stages for entertainment.
However, the Heritage Hype vendors, for the first time partnering with an established festival, will be grouped together, seeking to attract interest from visitors who may want to come back to Laurens County. Or from Laurens County residents unaware of the parks, recreation, history and adventure venues available to them year-round.
The Chamber will have available, free to the public, cups that promote Heritage Hype and the “Dark Side of the Moon Cruise-in” timed for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse - the sun being totally covered by the moon’s shadow, an astral phenomenon that will be visible in southern Laurens County.
The Chamber has a website dedicated to promoting activities surrounding and safe viewing of the solar eclipse.
“The Chamber will have cups and eclipse tri-folds at our Heritage Hype booth,” said Nicole Firmin, chamber marketing and communications director. “All left over cups will be handed out at events throughout the year, leading up to the total eclipse. Eclipse glasses have arrived. They will be handed out at events as we get closer to August.”
The Chamber is using the theme “Simply Revolutionary!” for the Heritage Hype. The first history-adventure expo was two years ago, staged at Presbyterian College’s Bailey Memorial Stadium. Last year, it became The Big Adventure, staged in downtown Laurens.
Attaching it to Rhythm on the Rails, the Chamber tourism committee is partnering with ROTR primary sponsor, the City of Clinton.
Tourism promotion efforts were part of the city’s hosting of the ACC men’s golf tournament in April, and the eclipse will be the third of three “big events” supporting by the tourism committee.
Several vendors at Heritage Hype sponsor their own visitor-friendly activities.
PAIA hosts a fall pow-wow at its Warrior Creek headquarters. The museum sponsors multiple activities promoting its new location, the Witherspoon Building in downtown Laurens. The Laurens County Trails Association actively promotes the formation of several trails - including a link to Travelers Rest’s uber-popular Swamp Rabbit Trail - throughout Laurens County.
Adventure opportunities in Laurens County include the Lollis Park canoe-kayak water trail, and the Boyds Mill Pond access and wildlife management areas, both on the Reedy River. These are Laurens County parks, recreation and tourism projects.
Access to the Enoree River is being developed in conjunction with Musgrove Mill State Historic Site in eastern Laurens County. Clinton Canopy and the City of Clinton are partnering on the Millers Fork Trail, east of the city, off Hwy 72 and I-26.
Heritage Hype will be 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in uptown Clinton. Rhythm on the Rails begins Friday at 6 p.m. with The Tams and their 14k Gold Band, continues all day Saturday, and wraps up with The Jake Bartley Band at The Depot, 7 - 10 p.m. Rides, kids’ activities, model railroad displays, more entertainment and a SBN-sanctioned BBQ cook-off, with prizes awarded and competitors selling their food, will be part of Clinton’s 3rd Annual ROTR.