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Anderson’s arts festival returns after 13-year hiatus

February 13, 2022 GMT

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — Live music, food trucks and visual art demonstrations return to the streets of a South Carolina city this spring as part of the Soirée, a two-day arts festival that’s been on a hiatus for 13 years.

The Soirée launched in 1985 in Anderson as a half-day celebration of the arts and community. It was a project created by the first class of Leadership Anderson, a 10-month program through the Anderson Chamber of Commerce. The festival grew in size over time, eventually doubling its length to a two-day event, The Post and Courier reported.

But the event ended in 2009 due to volunteer staffing issues and funding challenges.

It’s scheduled to take place on April 29 and 30. There will be performing, culinary and visual arts as well as a section dedicated to games and crafts for kids. The city will host the event in partnership with community organizations and volunteers.

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Stages throughout downtown Anderson will feature local and regional singer-songwriters, performances from Anderson theater companies and school performing groups. The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University will have its own stage. The festival will highlight Anderson restaurants, as well as more than 10 food trucks. In partnership with the Anderson Arts Center, 52 artists have been selected to sell their art and do live demonstrations at the festival.

In the 90s, the Soirée attracted more than 100,000 people to downtown Anderson. While this year’s event most likely won’t reach those heights, it is still expected to have a “substantial impact” in Anderson, said Caroline Gaddis, community events manager for the city. Organizers anticipate 30,000 to 50,000 people coming to the city over the two days of the festival.

“That many people alone downtown will be huge for our community in such a short time,” Gaddis, who grew up in the county and used to attend the Soirée with her family, told the newspaper.

Admission to the festival is free. It kicks off at 4 p.m. on April 29 and then on April 30 runs all day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.