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Georgetown is geared up to rock the equinox

Downtown Georgetown will welcome fall by rocking all day long on Saturday.

Twelve music acts will take turns performing 2-11 p.m. during “Georgetown Rocks the Equinox,” a benefit for Tara Hall Home for Boys of Georgetown County’s Rosh Hill area, a privately funded residence for at-risk youth ages 6-12.

The event organizer, Al Joseph, president of the Georgetown Business Association, said a festival committee worked with city officials and downtown merchants to plan this music fest to celebrate autumn’s arrival.

Initially, an event was sought for June, for the summer solstice, but with the season’s heat and humidity just starting with weather being more “iffy,” Joseph said, officials agreed on waiting until after Labor Day, for the equinox.

Joseph is excited about the “great cross representation” in the music artists, from rock to blues to country, all for free on Front Street, between Screven and Orange streets.

“There’s something for everyone,” he said, also thrilled by the partnership that planned the whole affair. “The city of Georgetown just jumped in behind us.”

Joseph called the setting on the city’s waterfront ideal and that retailers and restaurateurs are encouraged to use the storefronts and sidewalks for business.

With all festival proceeds going to Tara Hall, Joseph said the home, which doesn’t receive any taxpayer subsidies, has made a difference for young boys for more than 40 years.

He remembered a time in high school, when he and a friend organized a fundraiser for Tara Hall by making a large pizza in an attempt for a Guinness World Record. The effort still amounted to the “largest pizza in the South,” spanning about 30 feet in diameter, Joseph said.

Ron Stephan, a board member at Tara Hall who also leads its Mingo Creek Strummers, a club that gives mountain dulcimer concerts across Georgetown County, said three weeks ago, the group was booked as the 12th act for “Georgetown Rocks.” He and Joseph said the Strummers will entertain in between other acts at least twice, scheduled for 3 and 6 p.m.

Joseph said other area youth, the Georgetown Drumline from Georgetown High School, will kick off the shindig at 2 p.m. for a half-hour.

Pre-party on Friday

Local residents and vacationers who can’t wait for the festival on Saturday are welcome to a pre-party concert to help South by Southeast of Myrtle Beach and its music education program of instrument and monetary donations to local schools.

Mike Farris, a singer-songwriter based in Nashville, Tenn., will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at the historic Winyah Auditorium, 1200 Highmarket St., Georgetown, and Philip Lammonds will open. Tickets are $15, and this concert is a special event by South by Southeast, not its usual monthly pot-luck concert. Although alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the auditorium, soft drinks and water will be available for purchase.

Debby Summey, auditorium director, said sound engineer Seth Funderburk and Bryan Shepler, owner of Limpin’ Jane’s Old South Eatery & Taproom in Georgetown, approached her with this concert idea.

“I’m really glad they did,” Summey said, “because Georgetown is all geared up for a music weekend ... and two different nonprofit groups will benefit from this.”

Summey also said the pre-party concert provides another vehicle with which to showcase the restored 104-year-old auditorium, “so more people can see it.”

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