This year’s twelfth annual Blue Ridge Fest will be held May 15-16.
Blue Ridge employees make the festival stand out from other area events, said Denise McCormick, manager of customer service and marketing.
“It’s all manned by our employees,” she said. “They do everything. They park the cars, sell tickets, cook food, pick up trash. They do it all.”
Blue Ridge Fest kicks off Friday, May 15 with Beach Night, with the largest Cruise-In in the Upstate, McCormick said.
“I think we can honestly say that,” she said. “Last year, we had more than 700 cars that came.”
The Cruise-In features cars made in 1979 or older, McCormick said.
Come for the classic cars, stay for the classic tunes.
“We’ve got some great entertainment,” McCormick said.
Easley-based beach group The Flashbacks will begin around 5:30 p.m., followed by the Puzzle Band featuring Will Ragland as Buddy Holly.
“Will Ragland not only sings like Buddy Holly, he looks like Buddy Holly,” McCormick said. “It’s going to be a real good night.”
Theater fans will remember Ragland’s starring
turn as the 50’s rock and roller in several Center Stage South Carolina productions of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”
Jim Quick and Coastline take the stage next.
“They’re a very high energy band,” McCormick said.
Jerry “The Iceman” Butler will cap off the evening with songs drawn from his long career.
The original lead singer of The Impressions, Butler co-wrote the song “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” with Otis Redding, and is also known for the hits “He Will Break Your Heart,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Moon River,” and “Brand New Me.”
Blue Ridge will giveaway a $5,000 Visa gift card Friday night.
The Blue Ridge Fest’s annual charity motorcycle run takes place Saturday.
“They ride for 100 miles throughout the Upstate,” McCormick said. “They ride for prizes, top prize is $1,000.”
Riders can enter the poker run for $25, and extra hands are available, McCormick said.
The poker run will conclude with the awarding of a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle to a lucky raffle winner, she said.
All proceeds from each year’s Blue Ridge Fest go to 12 deserving charities from the Pickens, Anderson, Oconee and Greenville county areas.
“Last year, we raised $145,000, our biggest year yet,” McCormick said.
Over the last 11 years, Blue Ridge Fest has enabled Blue Ridge Electric to give away $810,000 to local charities.
“We want to make sure the money raised here stays here and that it doesn’t go to a national organization,” McCormick said.
Each year’s charities are selected by a panel of Blue Ridge employees.
This year’s charities are A Child’s Haven, Anderson Interfaith Ministries, Bethesda Ministries, Collins Home & Family Ministries, Golden Corner Ministries, Haven of Rest Ministries, Hidden Treasure Christian School, MARYS House, Prevent Child Abuse Pickens County, Sabrina House Children’s Charity, Tamasee DAR School and United Christian Ministries.
“They’re all agencies that have more needs than they have money this year,” McCormick said.
Even in a down economy, the Fest’s 87 sponsors are rising to the challenge, she said.
So far this year, Blue Ridge Fest has already raised more than $111,000, McCormick said.
For more on the Pickens County-based charities selected by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative this year, and the services they provide, see May editions of The Pickens Sentinel.