GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The 41st annual Fall for Greenville is officially underway.
The festival has grown to be one of the biggest to grace the downtown scene and it’s come a long way since it all began in 1982.
“It was originally hosted by the Downtown Merchant’s Group,” Will Young, Tourism Administrator for the City of Greenville’s Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department, said. “They wanted to bring more business downtown. So they opened up a one-day festival right in front of the Hyatt and they realized very quickly after that first year they needed to expand.”
Young has celebrated 14 Fall for Greenville festivals and in just 14 years he said he has watched the festival boom.
“I think my first year here it ended right here at Broad Street and then we started pushing down towards Falls Park as that part got more popular,” Young told 7NEWS. “We’ve added a lot more stages and more food vendors through the years and it’s been fun to watch. “
As the years went by, the festival drew larger and larger crowds pushing the event space even further down Main Street.
Fall for Greenville used to run from Beattie to Coffee Street. Now it runs from North Street to River Street.
A festival that started with staples like Larkins and Soby’s has grown to include restaurants like Holi Moli and The Orient.
“That first year they had about 14 restaurants and now we’re at 45 brick-and-mortar restaurants and then we have over 10 food trucks this year for the festival. “
Young said the city is anticipating nearly 150,000 guests to hit the streets of Greenville over the three-day period, a significant difference in numbers from when it first debuted.
“It sounds like they expected around 10,000 their first year in 1982 and they had double that,” Young explained. “They realized pretty quickly they had to expand so every year it sort of picked up the pace.”
Young added that the entertainment portion is also a feature of the festival that quickly grew.
“That first year they had about two stages and not many bands because it was a one-day event,” he said. “Right now, we’re at seven stages and over 80 acts throughout the weekend including culinary and music from all over the country.”
Young told 7NEWS, Fall for Greenville has become an extremely sought-after event. He said right now, pre-ticket sales are close to record with tickets purchased from more than 30 states across the country.
Fall for Greenville is still in need of volunteers both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
If you’re interested in participating, click here.