Flowertown preps in full bloom

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - There are still two days before the Flowertown Festival begins but there's a crowd of folks working day in and day out to make sure it starts smooth.

"Sometimes it feels like a three-ring circus but it is organized," said Kim Taylor, Chief Operations Officer for the Summerville YMCA which spearheads the event. "We do definitely know our jobs. We know what has to be done."

Taylor and two other women spent Tuesday marking Azalea Park for incoming vendors.

"Every regular booth space would be a 10x10 space," said Taylor. "So if they have a double booth then obviously that's a 10x20. So, we have to measure that to make sure that everybody is having the same amount of space."

The task of spray painting and flagging each space is just one of dozens of others.

"The deadlines are sort of engrained in us at this point. It starts pretty much as soon as the other festival ends," Taylor said. "It's always last minute. We need to get this person assigned or change this location. Today we were printing maps and laminating them and getting them ready for the booths."

Taylor says the festival started 42 years ago with the a group of women who wanted to host a "little arts and crafts festival."

"We've grown and grown and grown. We've included more businesses, included more civic organizations, lots of food. We have a youth fest," said Taylor.

The festival is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs to show off their products.

"I mean, they draw anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 people over three days," said Richard Dutilly, owner of Richard's Crushable Hats based in Florida. "The amount of people that come out here gets everybody an opportunity to shop around and see what they like here."

Dutilly says for the last six years he's packed up his hats and made the trek to Summerville. He says the trip always produces repeat customers.

"A lot of people know us," said Dutilly. "They bring their friends back because they bought one of your products and they come back and bring their friends."

The festival kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday and will stay open until 6 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the festivities start at 9 a.m. The event ends at 6 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Parking is available all three days at the Heritage Square Parking lot at the corner of Highway 78 and the Berlin G Myers Parkway. Handicapped parking is available at the First Citizens bank parking lot near Richardson Avenue and Main Street.{}

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