South Carolina Living August 2019

Page 1

Tuned in CHANGEOUT Join the fun at SkunkFest

Make a joyful noise with the Hallelujah Singers SC TR AVE LS

Nature rules at Cypress Gardens AUGUST 2019


Dinner for $10

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THE MAGAZINE FOR COOPERATIVE MEMBERS VOLUME 73 • NUMBER 8 (ISSN 0047-486X, USPS 316-240) Read in more than 595,000 homes and businesses and published monthly except in December by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033

2019 | aug 16 Fes-taa-vul!

Tel: (803) 926‑3175 Fax: (803) 796‑6064 Email:

Celebrate the tie-dyed groovy vibes of South Carolina’s eclectic Albino Skunk music festivals.


Keith Phillips Tel: (803) 739‑3040 Email: FIELD EDITOR


Updates from your cooperative


Travis Ward


Learn how to stay safe around those big green utility boxes that make underground power lines possible.


Sharri Harris Wolfgang DESIGNER

Susan Collins

10 DIALOGUE Honoring their sacrifice


Andrew Chapman

South Carolina Women Involved in Rural Electrification (SCWIRE) honor the memories of our military men and women who gave their lives in service to others.



Jennifer Jas L. Kim Welborn CONTRIBUTORS

Michael Banks, Abby Berry, April Coker Blake, Mike Couick, Hastings Hensel, Jan A. Igoe, L.A. Jackson, Patrick Keegan, David Novak, Sydney Patterson, Jenny Peterson, Lynn & Cele Seldon, Belinda Smith-Sullivan, Brad Thiessen, Paul Wesslund PUBLISHER

Lou Green

12 ENERGY Q&A Charging an electric vehicle at home Our energy-efficiency experts review the options for keeping an electric car topped off and ready to run.

14 SMART CHOICE Power through your honey-do list When it’s time to tackle those home improvement projects, these useful tools will help you get ’er done.



American MainStreet Publications Tel: (800) 626‑1181 Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. If you encounter a difficulty with an advertisement, inform the Editor.

21 STORIES The shark whisperer Meet the Palmetto Electric Cooperative member who’s setting new records for hooking fearsome great white sharks.


local co-op. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Address Change, c/o the address above.


of South Carolina, Inc. No portion of South Carolina Living may be reproduced without permission of the Editor. is brought to you by your member-owned, taxpaying, not-for-profit electric cooperative to inform you about your cooperative, wise energy use and the faces and places that identify the Palmetto State. Electric cooperatives are South Carolina’s — and America’s — largest utility network.


The return of Cypress Gardens


Cheap eats—meals under $10 Delicious and nutritious meals don’t have to be expensive.



The lure of lunaria


Sow lunaria seeds in the garden this summer and “the money plant” will pay handsome dividends in the spring.

$5.72 members,

$8 nonmembers

34 36 38 Member of the AMP network reaching more than 9 million homes and businesses


It took more than three years to repair the damage from the 2015 floods, but Berkeley County’s popular blackwater swamp is back and better than ever.

© COPYRIGHT 2019. The Electric Cooperatives


Make a joyful noise In Beaufort and beyond, Dr. Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers spread the gospel of Gullah music.

ADDRESS CHANGES: Please send to your

Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, S.C., and additional mailing offices.




Tuned in

Alice in plunger-land

Join the fun at SkunkFest

When home plumbing disasters strike, the tough start plunging.

Make a joyful noise with the Hallelujah Singers SC TR AVE LS

Nature rules at Cypress Gardens SC RECIPE AUGUST 2019

Mary Watts Tel: (803) 739‑5074 Email:




Dinner for $10

Mali Obomsawin, bass player for the folk trio Lula Wiles, gives it her all during a performance at the SpringSkunk Music Fest near Greer. Photo by John Gillespie.

SC | agenda Underground power and the big green box


ELECTRICITY MIGHT FLOW INTO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD over your head or under your feet. It’s easy to spot wires on top of those wooden poles and figure out how electricity gets delivered by overhead lines. But there’s also a way to deduce that you’ve got underground lines. Look for green metal boxes about the size of a minifridge sitting in people’s front yards. They’re called pad-mounted transformers and they do the same thing as those gray cans up on top of the poles—step higher-voltage electricity down so it’s more useful and safer for your home. The major difference is a pad-mounted transformer connects to underground power lines. No one’s exactly sure what share of power lines in the U.S. are underground, but one industry study estimated 18 percent. To a lot of people, underground lines look better. But they’re more expensive to install—as much as five or 10 times the cost, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And while falling trees and cars crashing into poles can knock out above-ground power lines, underground problems can be more difficult to pinpoint and correct. The big green boxes that connect power lines look surprisingly simple inside—wires come in and go out through the transformer. Now that you know what they are, you don’t have to go looking inside, and you shouldn’t. Those locked boxes are routing a lot of electricity, so only expert lineworkers should be near the equipment. Never use pad-mounted transformers as benches while

Pad-mounted transformers route large amounts of electricity and you should avoid them. Only professional lineworkers and crews should be near them.

waiting for the bus or a ride, and instruct kids not to play on or near them. Don’t plant landscaping around pad-mounted transformers because your co-op’s crews may need to get to them, and roots can interfere with the underground wires. Never dig near a pad-mounted transformer—dial 8-1-1 for any outdoor projects that require digging. Remember, whether you’re around underground or overhead utility equipment, the same safety rules apply—stay away from power lines. —PAUL WESSLUND

AVOID THE BIG GREEN BOX Please stay away from pad-mounted transformers (the big green box). While safe, they are not meant for touching, climbing or playing. Pad‑mounted transformers carry high voltages of electricity that serve many homes in our communities.

4 feet

10 feet

Never touch, climb or play on pad-mounted transformers. Never put fingers, sticks or other objects through cracks in the transformer.


Keep areas surrounding the padmounted transformer clear so that workers can safely maintain transformers as needed. Keep shrubs and structures at least 10 feet away from the transformer doors and 4 feet away from the sides.


Never dig near a pad-mounted transformer. They are surrounded by underground cables. Hitting the cable could result in electrical shock or disruption of service. Always dial 8-1-1 before you dig.

Report problems. If you notice anything amiss, like an unlocked transformer or one that has been damaged, contact your local electric cooperative immediately.

ONLY ON Cheap dessert

Four life hacks to beat the summer heat As summer temperatures continue to go up, there’s no need to let the heat get you down. There are several ways you can keep cool this summer without wreaking havoc on your energy bill or overworking your home’s air conditioner. Try these simple life hacks to beat the summer heat.


Make aloe vera cubes. Whether you’re nursing a sunburn or just wanting to cool off, aloe vera cubes will offer some relief. Simply fill an ice tray with aloe vera gel, freeze it, then place the cubes on your body’s pulse points, like the neck and wrists, for a quick cooling sensation. Try a cooling pillow. Can’t sleep on those hot muggy nights? If you’re willing to spend a little, a cooling pillow—one designed to dissipate your body heat—can help you feel more comfortable. Prices range from $27 to $180.


Just add mint. Add spearmint essential oil to products like body wash and lotion for an instant cooling effect. You can purchase essential oils at most drugstores or online. Buy a handheld fan mister. Sure, you may feel a little silly carrying around a tiny fan, but you’ll be more comfortable than everyone else—and they’ll probably ask to borrow it. You can typically find these personal cooling devices at big box stores like Walmart or Target, or you can order one online. —ABBY BERRY

A delicious dessert for less than 50 cents? Chef Belinda shows you how to do it in this video recipe for caramelized bananas. It’s also a great topping for pound cake or ice cream. Find it at

A tour of Cypress Gardens Berkeley County’s beloved blackwater swamp, made famous by movies including The Patriot and The Notebook, is back in business. Visit the “Featured Videos” section of to see why more than 50,000 people have already visited this summer.

Win a cool $100 Chill out this summer with an extra $100 in your pocket. Enter South Carolina Living’s Reader Reply Travel Sweepstakes for your chance to win a Visa gift card. We’ll draw the name of one lucky reader from all eligible entries received by Aug. 31. For your chance to win, register today at

GONE FISHIN’ The Vektor Fish & Game Forecast provides feeding and ­migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour. Minor peaks, ½ hour before and after. Minor

AM Major


PM Major


Routinely replace or clean your air conditioner’s filter. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. SOURCE: ENERGY.GOV

16 1:22 6:37 8:22 1:37 17 1:52 7:22 8:37 1:52 18 2:22 7:52 9:07 2:22 19 8:37 3:07 9:22 2:52 20 9:37 3:37 3:22 9:37 21 10:37 4:22 3:52 10:07 22 — 5:22 12:22 10:37 23 — 6:37 3:07 11:37 24 — 8:07 8:37 4:37 25 1:07 9:22 10:07 5:07 26 2:37 10:07 10:52 5:52 27 3:37 11:07 11:37 6:22 28 4:37 11:52 12:07 6:52 29 — 5:37 7:22 12:37 30 12:52 6:22 7:52 1:07 31 1:22 7:22 8:22 1:52


AM Major


PM Major

SEPTEMBER 1 2:07 8:07 8:52 2:22 2 9:07 2:52 3:07 9:07 3 10:22 3:52 3:37 9:37 4 11:52 4:52 4:22 10:07 5 — 6:07 2:37 10:37 6 — 7:37 11:37 4:37 7 — 8:52 10:07 5:07 8 1:37 9:52 10:52 5:37 9 3:07 10:37 11:22 5:52 10 4:07 11:07 11:37 6:22 11 4:52 11:37 12:07 6:37 12 — 5:37 6:52 12:07 13 — 6:07 7:07 12:37 14 12:52 6:52 7:22 1:07 15 7:22 1:22 7:37 1:37 16 8:07 1:52 1:52 7:52







AUGUST 23–24


One of the largest free festivals in the United States, York Summerfest has something for everyone. The annual celebration kicks off Friday night with the Twilight Beer Bazaar for adults, then shifts into high gear from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday with Kidzapalooza, the all-ages kid’s zone featuring a Disney Princess Concert and a Paw

Westminster is the place to be if you want to take a bite out of the state’s official apple harvest event. The old-fashioned festival fun spans three weekends to include a beauty pageant, river float, apple pie baking contest, golf tournament, apple festival parade and a classic car show. There’s even an IPRA‑sanctioned rodeo. Some activities require registration and fees, while others are free to the public.

Patrol photo station. Older kids will get a kick out of the Teen SportsZone and everyone can sing along with the Gospel Xplosion concerts. To find the full

(864) 647-5316;

schedule of events, visit the festival website. (803) 684-2590; BOJANGLES SOUTHERN 500 SEPTEMBER 1


There’s nothing like the energy that a really big event brings to a small town, and that’s certainly true when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Darlington for the Bojangles Southern 500. The Darlington Car Hauler Parade is part of the pre-race festivities. The fun starts at 4 p.m. at the Florence Center with live music and entertainment for the kids before the brightly colored haulers make the 12-mile drive to Darlington Square. (843) 664-0330; GET MORE

For more happenings, turn to our Calendar on Page 36, and see expanded festivals and events coverage on


To celebrate 70 years of stock car racing at the track that’s “too tough to tame,” Darlington Raceway is staging this year’s Southern 500 race as a “throwback weekend.” The cars roaring around the 1.366-mile oval-shaped track will be sporting retro paint schemes from 1990–94. South Carolina’s own Edwin McCain will sing the national anthem to approximately 50,000 fans before they fire up the engines and write a new chapter in NASCAR history. Infield tickets and campsites traditionally sell out early, but if you hurry, some grandstand seats may still be available. (866) 459-7223;


We want to shift the culture by encouraging citizens in our communities to take pride in where we live and how we clean it. Our hope is that this cultural change is dominant with the next generation and those who follow. — Roy Costner, Pickens County Council Chairman

Working together for a litter-free South Carolina. 2700 Middleburg Drive, Suite 216 | Columbia, SC 29204 | 877.PAL.PRDE | |


SC   dialogue

Honoring their sacrifice U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason C. Hicks was born to Theresa S. Hicks and the late J. Carroll Hicks on May 1, 1977. Growing up in Pageland and Jefferson, Jason was a Central High School graduate and a member of the Pageland Rescue Squad, as well as the High Point Eastside Fire Department. On May 1, 1996, Jason enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to the 41st Rescue Squadron. Trained as a flight engineer, Staff Sgt. Hicks took part in deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and 2003. He flew on numerous combat support missions, helping save the lives of American and coalition soldiers and airmen. On March 23, 2003, Staff Sgt. Jason C. Hicks died in a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash that claimed the lives of five other airmen during a medical evacuation mission in Afghanistan. JASON’S MOTHER, THERESA HICKS, LOVES TALKING ABOUT HER SON.

“Oh, Jason was a live wire. He kept me on my toes,” his mother remembers fondly. “He wasn’t bad—he was just mischievous. He was the baby of our family—the third child of three after a 10-year pause, so Jason was everybody’s baby.” “When Jason was graduating from high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to do. But one day he came home and said, ‘I’m going to join the Air Force.’ And he ended up making a career of it.” Speaking to a group of veterans this past Memorial Day, Theresa referred to a quote by writer David Eagleman: “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” Theresa is determined that her son’s name continues to be spoken. In 2018, the members of South Carolina Women Involved in Rural Electrification (SCWIRE) began planning a project to honor the men and women in our nation’s military—both those who have served and those who continue to serve our country. In remembrance of her son, Theresa (a Lynches River Electric Cooperative trustee and a member of SCWIRE) 10


SCWIRE sponsored this 2019 Memorial Day display outside the offices of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina in Cayce. It featured 20 crosses with flags in honor of the veterans from all 20 of the state’s electric cooperatives who gave their lives in service to the nation, including USAF Staff Sgt. Jason Hicks (pictured left in the recently installed display in the ECSC lobby), the son of Lynches River Electric Cooperative trustee Theresa Hicks.

was the very first to sign up for the SCWIRE “Honor Our Veterans” project, creating a virtual plaque for Jason that helps keep his name alive forever. SCWIRE’s “Honor Our Veterans” is an ongoing project that features a permanent indoor display in the recently remodeled lobby of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC) in Cayce. It also features an annual outdoor display to be shared with the public during the week of Memorial Day. The indoor display consists of an interactive monitor that displays veterans from all 20 of South Carolina’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives. A timed software program transitions between multiple images: the state with all cooperatives represented, and the cooperative pages that display two types of plaques, “In Honor Of” and “In Memory Of.” Each nameplate is electronically linked to a photo and short biography of the honoree, much like the one that tells the story of Staff Sgt. Jason C. Hicks. “I feel like as long as people are saying his name, he is still with us,” says Theresa.


President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina


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SC   energy Q&A

Charging an electric vehicle at home BY PATRICK KEEGAN AND BRAD THIESSEN


I’m seeing more information about new models of electric vehicles with longer ranges and better prices. Is it worth making the switch from gasoline to electric? And how would I charge the battery at home?


You’re right! Electric vehicles (EVs) are getting more attention these days. Electricity as a vehicle fuel is typically one-half to onethird the cost of gas or diesel, and EV batteries now enable longer ranges. The upfront price of an EV is still higher than a comparable gas-powered car, but the cost is coming down. The Chevy Bolt, for example, has a range of up to 238 miles on a full charge and costs about $36,000 before incentives. The number of electric vehicle models is also increasing, and we could even have an electric pickup truck option in the near future. As more Americans choose to drive electric, home charging options will be an important consideration for EV owners. Consider these four factors. EV or PHEV? The two basic types of EVs are the all-electric vehicle, which is commonly referred to as an AEV or EV, and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, also known as the PHEV, which can run using an electric motor or a gas engine. Unlike the gas-electric hybrid that started with the Toyota Prius in 2000, where a battery and small electric motor assist the gasoline engine to improve mileage, the PHEV features a larger battery and an electric motor which can power the car independently. A PHEV can run solely on electricity for about 15 to 50 miles, depending on the model. This electric-only range may be sufficient for running errands or for those with a shorter daily commute. Select your charging level. There are two levels of charging to consider for your home. A Level 1 charging unit 12

is the most basic. It’s usually included with the vehicle and plugs into a typical 120-volt outlet, so it is the easiest and cheapest charging solution—but also the slowest. A Level 2 charging unit is more powerful and you need to purchase it separately. It plugs into a 240-volt outlet, the type used for larger appliances (like a clothes dryer). Most of us don’t have those in our garages or outside our homes, so there’s an additional cost to have the outlet installed. Know your needs. Most EVs travel 3 to 4 miles per kilowatt-hour (kwh). Level 1 charging units distribute charge to the

GET MORE Visit for more on electric vehicles. u Is an electric vehicle right for you? Trying to decide if an electric vehicle belongs in your driveway? Consider these five factors before you buy. u Charging across America—Electric cars are comfortable, well-built and roadworthy, but they have raced ahead of the national charging infrastructure. See what else we learned on a 2,200-mile road trip in a Chevy Bolt.

battery at 1 to 1.5 kwh, giving the battery roughly 3 to 6 miles of range per hour of charging. If you drive your car 40 miles or less during the day and can charge it for 10 hours a night, this probably will be adequate. Level 1 charging makes the most sense for PHEVs and early EVs with smaller batteries and shorter ranges. Level 2 units typically supply power levels from 6 to 12 kwh, depending on the amperage of the circuit and the power level the EV can accept. This means the Level 2 chargers will provide between 18 and 48 miles of range per hour of charging. Count the costs. A Level 1 charging unit comes with the car and will meet the needs of most PHEVs and earlymodel, short-range EVs. A Level 2 charging unit can cost $500 to $700, with installation between $500 and $2,700, depending on how far your electrical panel is from where you will be charging the EV. If you’re planning to buy an electric vehicle, talk to your local electric co-op before committing to an EV charging plan. Some electric co-ops offer special incentives for members installing Level 2 chargers or for members willing to schedule EV charging during non-peak energy hours.

u Meet the electric John Deere—Take a

look under the hood of the new, all-electric John Deere tractor.


Send questions to Energy Q&A, South Carolina Living, 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033, or email


A Level 2 charging unit can provide about 250 miles of charge in 10 hours, making it a suitable charging solution.

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SC   smart choice

Power through your honey‑do list


When professionals do a home energy audit, they use infrared cameras like the FLIR C3 to find and isolate weak insulation points, leaky ductwork and cold or hot points. You can do the same with this Wi-Fi-enabled tool that also uploads images to an app. The device itself holds 4,800 individual images that you can analyze and edit using the companion software. $550. (800) 254‑0630;

When it’s time to tackle that long-overdue roster of home improvement projects and lawn care chores, these useful tools will help you get ’er done. BY DAVID NOVAK


Smaller lawns need to be kept neatly mowed, edged and trimmed, just like the big ones. You can do all three jobs with one tool if you own the Black and Decker 20V MAX 3-in-1 Compact Lawn Mower. It comes with two lithium-ion battery packs, and each one can run up to 4 hours on a full charge. In mower mode, a Powerdrive transmission prevents the unit from choking on wet grass or weeds. $150. (800) 231‑9786;


The Craftsman V60 16-inch electric chainsaw is the perfect tool for thinning brush and cutting through the logs you’ll encounter in a typical residential setting. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery pack, so there’s no cord to worry about, it’s quiet compared to your old gas-powered saw and it’s virtually maintenance-free. $270. (888) 331‑4569: LASER-FOCUSED

“Measure twice, cut once” is still good advice but you’ll probably nail the precise measurements on the first try with the Stanley TLM30 Pocket Laser Distance Measurer. This mini marvel fits easily in your pocket and is accurate to ¼-inch on distances up to 30 feet. It arrives ready to use right out of the box and comes with a USB cord for convenient recharging. $20. (800) 262‑2161;



A DIYers dream, the DeWalt 4-tool 20V Cordless Combo Kit will make you the envy of the neighborhood. Inside the included 22-inch toolbox, you’ll find a 2-speed drill, an impact driver, an oscillating multi-tool and a versatile LED work light that all run on DeWalt’s 20V MAX rechargeable batteries. Two of the lithium-ion power packs are included and you can charge them completely in about 35 minutes to make quick work of any job. $250. (800) 433‑9258; 14


It’s a little on the pricey side, but how much would you pay to cross “cut the grass” off your to-do list—forever? When you leave the mowing duties to the Husqvarna Automower 315X, this nifty little robot uses GPS technology to mow autonomously, keeping up to .4 acres or grass neatly manicured before redocking and recharging until it’s needed again. A companion app lets you monitor the little mower’s progress and, if needed, take control and tell it where it missed a spot. $2,500. (800) 849‑1297;

Tech journalist David Novak is editor of Prices and availability are subject to change. Inclusion in this column is not an endorsement by South Carolina Living or any S.C. electric cooperative.

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MUSIC SCENES (top from left): Isla Belanger enjoys a nap while parents Laura and Matt Belanger take in the show. Michael Trotter of The War and Treaty belts out a tune filled with swampy Southern soul under the watchful gauge of the official SkunkFest mascot. Children get into the swing of things at the SkunkFest kids’ zone. Acrobat MiiMii Beaulieu, aka Emma Levin of Greenville’s The Secret Cirkus performance art troupe, mugs for the camera. The Steel Wheels bring the day to a close with a little straightforward Americana. THE NEW BRITISH INVASION Described as a cross between The Everly Brothers and The Rolling Stones, the Ruen Brothers band from Scunthorpe, England, had the audience at 2019’s SpringSkunk Music Fest gathered around the stage and dancing like no one was watching.

Inside the groovy vibes of the Albino Skunk Music Festival BY HASTINGS HENSEL | PHOTOS BY JOHN GILLESPIE

TO GET SKUNK-BIT, you first have to travel

north of Greer, through the rolling farmlands at the foot of the Blue Ridge Foothills. A few signs—hand-painted on w ­ eathered barn wood​—will show you the way, with arrows pointing toward SkunkFest, but when you get there, you might know it by the smell. Which, thankfully, is not the odor of Mephitis mephitis​—that species of Pepé Le Pew—but instead a heady blend of incense and wood smoke. Or, more likely, you’ll know you’ve arrived by the sight of hundreds of Skunkers in a grove of oak trees in front of a stage, yelling out their signature cry: “Fes-taa-vul!” It may seem, at first, like an unlikely place to host two of South Carolina’s best and most hidden music events—the Albino Skunk Music Festival (aka SkunkFest, scheduled this year for Oct. 3–5) and SpringSkunk Music Fest (typically held each April). But then you remember that Woodstock was held at a farm in the middle of nowhere, New York. That Burning Man and Coachella take place in deserts. That Bonnaroo happens every summer in a Tennessee farm town off I-75. And you realize that the out-of-the-way and the hard-to-find is the only real location that makes sense for the free-spirited.

The smile factory SkunkFest started in 1995 as a gathering among friends who shared a common love of bluegrass music, recalls founder Glynn Zeigler, known affectionately to everyone by his “skunk name” of “Zig.” “I said, ‘Let’s have a party, barbecue some chicken, and just play music and bring the wives over or whatever on a Friday night,’ ” he says. “I’d been to MerleFest. They had a raccoon as their mascot. I said, ‘Well I’m just gonna call this thing a festival for the heck of it.’ And we’d seen a white skunk on the property.” At the first SkunkFest, they had three bands playing on a plywood stage for an invited crowd of around 60 people. But Zig, who worked for a construction company in Greenville, did what some of the best musicians do—he began improvising as SCLIVING.COOP   | AUGUST 2019   |   SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING


he went along. He added the spring festival, and he sought out bands that run the gamut from bluegrass (in all its forms) to Americana, roots, folk, singer-songwriter and alt-country. “I decided I wanted to get more touring bands. Of course, that costs money, so we started charging admission,” he says. “Six or eight bands, and you come and have a good old time out there under the trees. It just kind of kept growing. It just grew about as organic as we can.” They brought in vintage campers to use for offices and musicians’ lodging. They brought in singer-songwriters on Friday night. Zig assembled a volunteer team of “Skunk Boys” (the brotherhood that helps him maintain and improve the facilities year-round) and “Skunk Birches” (the sisterhood that helps sell tickets, update the website, reserve RV spots and do just about everything else under the sun). “From the start, I just decided to have fun with the festival,” he says. “We decided to start doing themes with the skunks just

MASTER OF CEREMONIES With a small army of friends and volunteers at his side, SkunkFest founder Glynn “Zig” Zeigler has grown a large barbecue for friends into one of the best underground music events in the Carolinas.



“ If you walk around out there, anywhere you go, walking up a trail or backstage or onstage or in a sitting area, everybody’s smiling.” —SKUNKFEST FOUNDER GLYNN “ZIG” ZEIGLER because we could. It’s just a creative outlet, I guess. ‘Planet of the Skunks’ and ‘Keep on Skunkin’ and ‘Skunkin on Top of the World,’ ‘Skunk-Powered Aeroplane,’ you name it.” And name it they do. Like any close-knit community, the Skunkers have their own lingo full of “Skunk-worthy” names and music puns. The children are Skunksters. The wood pile is called Woodstock Too. The chefs in the food trucks are Hill Grillies. They say that if you build it, they will come. But if you are a builder like Zig, and you have built something this ­community-minded and special, they keep coming. The organic coffee-roasters and the burrito-rollers, the tie-dyers, the bumper-sticker-sellers, the portrait artists, the chalk artists, the puppeteers, the woman with a mobile of paper butterflies attached to a surf-casting rod—as well as, of course, their kids and their dogs. They gather ’round their tents and RVs, their pop-up campers and their lean-tos, their VW vans and graffitied school buses. They tote folding chairs down to the stage. Some knit or color in coloring books while listening to the music. Others head-bob and sip beers. Some go up close to the stage and dance like nobody’s watching. “We’re kind of a smile factory,” says Zig. “If you walk around out there, anywhere you go, walking up a trail or backstage or onstage or in a sitting area, everybody’s smiling.” Stay long enough at SkunkFest and you realize his positivity is infectious. It runs down from Zig and on out through the people, who all form a chorus singing the festival’s praises. John Sconlon, a puppeteer walking an alligator puppet like a dog, says: “This is the perfect size for what we do and what we enjoy. Small music festivals like these are our festivals of choice.” Stewart Prather, a vendor and artist, engaged in a friendly debate about the origins of the “Just Say Know” bumpersticker quote, adds: “There’s just good vibes and lots of groovy people. Here it’s small, local, family-friendly.” A guy in tie-dye says to another guy in tie-dye: “It’s like we died and went to heaven, isn’t it?”


Maybe all the talk will sound to you like everyone here has taken a bite from a communal poppy plant. Or that they’ve read so many bumper stickers they now speak exclusively in quotable hippy quips. But here’s something I discovered: Maybe you can’t be converted—maybe you can’t become “skunk-bit”—if you’re not initially skeptical. Otherwise, there’s no story to tell. I arrive in late April to the SpringSkunk Music Fest in what I consider an unusual way to attend a music festival—alone. Plus, to be honest, my past experience at music festivals has meant big crowds, long lines, dirty Porta-Johns. I once spent the saddest Easter weekend of my life camping in Suwannee, Florida, at a music festival after my college girlfriend broke my

heart. There, I woke up one morning in my tent to a guy handing me a chocolate Easter bunny, and that was enough for me. Also, I’ve recently seen two documentaries about the infamous Fyre Festival—that beleaguered con job of a “luxury music festival,” which left attendees stranded and angry in the Bahamas. So, forgive me for my opening doubts, which might account for why I park my station wagon in the farthest northeastern corner of the campground in The Quiet Zone (lights out after 10 p.m.), and why I set up my camp next to a pasture where two horses graze. It’s why I’m wearing a ­button-up shirt, for crying out loud. Fast-forward to the end of Day Two, as if waking from a crazy dream, and I’m wearing a tie-dye T-shirt. I haven’t bathed and don’t feel the need to. I’ve cried out “Fes-taa-vul” so many MUSIC SCENES (top from left): Carley Arrowood keeps the SkunkFest “smile factory” humming along with her fiddle work as part of the Darin and Brooke Aldridge band. A tie-dyed-in-the-wool trio of Skunkers gets fired up for the show. Singer-songwriter Lera Lynn, whose haunting vocals for the HBO series True Detective landed her a recurring role on the show, surveys the SkunkFest scene before taking the stage. Jay Lapp of The Steel Wheels makes his mandolin sing for the audience at the pet- and familyfriendly festival. Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale belts out a song from one of his many albums. Lauderdale grew up in Due West before heading to Nashville in the 1980s and to date, he’s released 31 studio albums. ALL THAT JAZZ They might have been overdressed for the occasion, but the Canadian folk jazz trio David Myles won the SkunkFest family’s heart at the spring event.

MUSIC SCENES (from left): Crafter Brandy Weiner of Soul Reflections Glass Art forges a multi-colored peace sign. Tim TV, aka Tim March, of The Secret Cirkus, entertains the crowd between sets. Grace Rowland Park, lead singer of Austin psychotropic folk band The Deer, serenades the SkunkFest audience.

times that I’m hoarse. Nevertheless, as I wander (not lost!) in the morning to get my breakfast burrito and my organic coffee, I’m waving to my friends who have welcomed me into their campsites with food and drink. People I’ve listened to strum guitars until the wee hours, and with whom I’ve ridden around on golf carts spouting such truths as one Birch named Butterbean spouted: “I think it’s the love, the blood, sweat, and tears of making an infrastructure based on love and music!” Later I’ll ask how it happened—when, exactly, I was bitten by the skunk—but the question is stupid when the answer is so obvious. As in, the answer is right there, in the festival’s name. As in, duh. It’s the music. The harmonic, foot-stomping, smile-inducing music.

Musicians need fans, fans need music

“People always say, ‘How do you get these bands?’ Zig says. “And I tell them it’s like when I was a kid, and I collected arrowheads. To collect arrowheads, you have to go looking for them! Before YouTube and all that, I would try to catch bands live and see what kind of show it is. Generally speaking, they have to have some really good harmonies.” There’s also the fact that this festival has only one stage. You don’t get the anxiety that you’re missing out on some other band elsewhere, the way I felt once at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, when Van Morrison and Pearl Jam played at the same time, on opposite ends of the festival grounds. “I went to MerleFest,” says Zig, of the 13-stage festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, “and I said to someone I was

GET THERE The 2019 Albino Skunk Music Festival will take place Oct. 3–5 on Glynn Zeigler’s farm property, located at 4063 Jordan Road in Greer. Bands scheduled to perform include Tim O’Brien, Lindsay Lou, Larry Keel Experience, Upstate, Sugarcane Jane, 8 Ball Aitken, Slocan Ramblers, Tellico, Western Centuries, South Hill Banks, Sol Driven Train, and more. Two bands—The Deadfields and Seven Handle Circus—will be reuniting at SkunkFest. For tickets, lineups, campsite and RV lot reservations and festival details—including the dates of the 2020 SpringSkunk Music Fest—visit



sitting in camp with, I said, ‘This schedule, you know what it’s for? It’s for you to see who you’re missing!’ ” At SkunkFest, though, because bands play in such an intimate setting for multiple days, by Day Two you recognize the songs. Sometimes you even begin to sing along. You carry the names of the bands—Oliver Hazard, the Ruen Brothers, Ida Mae, Lula Wiles, The War and Treaty—with you out into the world, recommending them to everyone you meet. This is important because, as Zig explains, in “this day and age, where there are so many festivals popping up, festivals are becoming an important part of a musician’s ability to make a living, with all the streaming and all that.” And the bands love it. They make their way to the backstage area on a trolley pulled by a tractor, and for many of them, they are in the upswing of their careers. Some bands from past festivals—like The Infamous Stringdusters, The Avett Brothers, and Trampled by Turtles—have gotten so big that they probably won’t be back, Zig says. But that also means you never know just who you’re going to catch. The slick, English, guitar-heavy, brotherly duo the Ruen Brothers, making their SkunkFest debut, say, “We’ve played lots of festivals. This one is tops.” And what makes it so is that SkunkFest remains true to its original ethos; it has no big corporate sponsors. They don’t even yet have an allotment of tickets. Still, their sustainability comes in part from Zig’s understanding that the relationship between musician and fan is symbiotic. The musician needs the fan. The fan needs the music. That’s why he’s added a charity bike ride called deTour de Skunk on Saturday mornings, with proceeds going to various musicians in need. Or why he’s always wanted this to be a family-friendly atmosphere, complete with a hula hoop stand, a baby-changing station tacked onto the barn, a psychedelic school bus usually packed with teenagers, and a Neverland-ish place called KiddieLand. That way, Zig says, the smile factory will continue cranking them out. Like the music, the good vibes will go onward and outward, and new generations of Skunkers will become skunk-bit. “The kids love the music, too, and they love the whole carnival atmosphere,” Zig says. “It’s something where, when I’m gone, they’ll be sitting around telling their grandkids about going out to this old farm and how much fun they had.”


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The shark whisperer Other than doing battle on the open sea with 3,500-pound great white sharks, Chip Michalove claims he’s a rather boring guy. “I live a pretty simple life,” says the 5-foot-9, 160-pound angler who earned the nickname of “the shark whisperer” by reeling in great whites measuring up to 16 feet long. His love of fishing was cast early. Michalove was 5 when his family vacationed on the South Carolina coast. His parents booked a charter with legendary fishing guide Fuzzy Davis and, on that first trip out, they caught a six-foot shark. “I thought it was just the coolest thing in the world,” he says. “I became obsessed.” The family later moved to Hilton Head Island and at the age of 22, Michalove bought his first boat and went into business as a fishing guide. Before catching his first great white, Michalove was just like everyone else of generation Jaws—scared to death of the giants. But as he caught more and more great whites, his respect for the animals grew. “It’s the smartest fish I’ve ever seen,” he says. “I’ve never seen an animal that will come up behind a boat and if they sense something’s not right, they leave. They’re not the maniacs that you see on TV that come in and crash into the place. There’s actually a methodical, thinking process.” Michalove, who operates the Outcast Sport Fishing charter business, says he is grateful for the life fishing and sharks have provided. “Great whites have absolutely changed my life,” he says. “They’ve given me a new truck, a new house. It’s been so beneficial, and I owe them everything. If I can help protect these guys, I’ll do everything I can.” —MICHAEL BANKS | PHOTO BY MILTON MORRIS

Chip Michalove AGE:


Hilton Head Island. Fishing guide dubbed “the shark whisperer” after hooking 50 great white sharks over the past four years, including an unheard-of seven great whites in one day. A MATTER OF SCIENCE: Michalove attaches satellite tracking tags to many of the sharks he and his charter customers reel in so scientists can track shark movements along the Atlantic coast. ONSHORE: Enjoys golf and tennis in his free time. CO-OP AFFILIATION: Member of Palmetto Electric Cooperative. HOME TURF:


GET MORE Learn more about Chip Michalove and his shark adventures at SCLIVING.COOP   | AUGUST 2019   |   SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING



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It was an unusually warm

January afternoon in the Lowcountry, with a brilliant blue sky, heavenly wisps of clouds and the majestic Beaufort City Hall perched at the top of town. As throngs of community members, neighbors and schoolchildren filled the lobby to hear South Carolina’s premier Gullah musical group perform a free concert to commemorate the start of Black History Month, the members of the Hallelujah Singers graced the spiral staircase like angels, replete in their brightly colored African finery. The mood matched the scene—anticipation, expectation and sheer joy. And then the music began, and the voices reached up to the heavens. The rich and angelic harmony of the nine-member choir, led by Beaufort’s own Dr. Marlena Smalls, was powerful and palpable. With renditions of Gullah “message” songs and Negro spirituals like “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” and “I Came to Tell You (What Jesus Said),” the music vividly brought to life the stories and struggles of the African people who arrived in the area as enslaved laborers from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The choir was immersed in the performance— swaying with the tempo, beating the banister for percussion and belting out the rich melodies. The ever-spirited Smalls introduced several of the selections with stories of the Gullah culture and others with the history of the Hallelujah Singers. All the while insisting on pitch-perfect harmonies along the way. The audience clapped and moved to the rhythm, taking videos and erupting in applause after each song. In the end, the performance was an ebullient celebration of the Gullah culture and the Hallelujah Singers’ love and passion for sharing the story.

Rooted in tradition South Carolina’s Lowcountry, centered around Beaufort and the Sea Islands, is the epicenter of Gullah culture. With a large population of Gullah descendants, historic l­ocations like Penn Center (the first school in the South for freed slaves), Gullah festivals and the new Reconstruction Era National Monument, a strong commitment resonates to keeping the Gullah cultural traditions alive. Few people have a stronger devotion to spreading the Gullah message than Marlena Smalls. Born and raised in Ohio by South Carolina natives, Smalls came to Beaufort with her six children in the early 1980s and found a sense of community that had been missing in her life. After learning more about Gullah culture, she immediately felt a deeper understanding of how the Africans who were brought to America to tend the rice fields created their own language and cultural history. “This Gullah thing is really an African thing, so it gives us a truer picture of who we are,” explains Smalls. “And, I wanted to connect with others that we are more alike than we are different.” This realization ultimately gave her a better 22


Dr. Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers spread the gospel of Gullah music BY CELE & LYNN SELDON | PHOTOS BY RUTA SMITH

KEEPING THE GULLAH CULTURE ALIVE The choir practices by the ruins of a 1740 Anglican church on St. Helena’s Island before a performance at Beaufort City Hall to kick off Black History Month (left). The Hallelujah Singers are (above, from left): Stephanie Gains, Gladys Jenkins, Marilyn Weatherspoon, Sharon W. Millen, Ezhan Bush, Marlena Smalls, Christal Clements, Sandra Cannon, and Tammy Holman.

understanding of her background and her people. And, as her knowledge grew, she took it upon herself to spread and keep the Gullah message alive through music and education. From a musical family of eight children, Smalls was uncomfortable with her voice as a youngster and wasn’t as confident with her talent as her siblings were. According to Smalls, “I didn’t have a ‘black’ sound. My first voice was between a Judy Garland and a Mahalia Jackson.” But, with the help of a voice coach at the age of 11, she found her voice and shared it with her church and then the world. Smalls and her mother wanted to share their passion for music and formed the Lowcountry School for Music, where they taught piano and voice to students throughout the Beaufort area. With more than 190 students in the early years, the women were teaching gospel, blues and jazz to kids who had, in many cases, never been out of Beaufort. With a goal to expose these students to the music of the




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world, Marlena Smalls arranged to take 28 of the children by train to Charleston to experience the Spoleto Festival. Not only did the trip expose the children to other forms of music, but it showed them that there was a larger world and that they had a right to see it.

Birth of a lyrical idea The trip, including an evening concert by Nancy Wilson, was a huge success and whetted Smalls’ appetite to expose her students to more performances outside of Beaufort. To pay for more trips, she convinced friends and family to sing at fundraisers in the community. With their first concert in 1989 at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, the Hallelujah Singers were born. Fifty members strong in the early days, the amateur group performed blues, folk, gospel and what Smalls calls “plantation melodies,” and started making a name for themselves. As their audience grew, they moved to the First African Baptist Church as their base. Along the way, the music also morphed into more of a testament to the Gullah community, with a focus on “work songs” and “invisible church” songs that were originally sung by the Sea Island Africans as they tended to their daily work. “The slave songs are one of my musical bibles. The music

has a lot of Africanisms,” says Smalls. While they are faithbased, work songs differ from traditional praise-and-worship gospel music. Many of the inspirational songs, like “Please Lordy”—one of Smalls’ favorites—helped spread the important message of survival of the Gullah people and their ancestry. And, according to Smalls, it reminds people that mankind is more alike than different. During this same period, Smalls started performing solo for various local organizations and, before long, the word was out. Smalls was being asked to sing further afield, with a performance at the South Carolina Arts Commission Showcase opening doors throughout the state. Soon, there were requests from senators and governors to perform her melo­dious blues, jazz and contemporary reper­ toire across the state and beyond, ­including performances at The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian, European tours for the Queen of England, the G8 Summit, and international music festivals. The University of South Carolina even awarded her an honorary Ph.D. in music. In addition to being the guiding force behind the Hallelujah Singers, Smalls spends her time as an educator, musician and entertainer—all with a goal to keep the Gullah message alive. She also played an integral role in the founding of the Original Gullah Festival more than 30 years ago, which today welcomes more than 35,000 people to Waterfront Park every Memorial Day weekend.


Making a joyful noise

On the silver screen Singing isn’t Marlena Smalls’ only claim to fame. She also had a memorable cameo role in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump. When the movie began filming in Beaufort, Smalls was hired to arrange a gospel song called “I’ve Got A New Home,” which was featured in the film. Over lunch one afternoon, the producers asked if she would be interested in reading for the role of Bubba Blue’s mother. Fans of the movie will remember Bubba as Forrest’s war-time buddy who dreamed of going home to make a living as a shrimp boat captain. Smalls thought they were joking. However, after some prodding, she hesitantly agreed to read and was ultimately cast in the role. Although she only had one speaking line, she was featured in several scenes and her fainting on the front porch remains a classic clip. Ironically, and in a poetic twist of fate, Smalls is allergic to shrimp.



Today, the Hallelujah Singers are made up of a dozen or so local singers—all female—that Smalls has hand-picked. Some were part of the original group and many have been performing with Smalls for more than 20 years. Others have been more recent additions. Several are siblings and family members of Smalls. However, what they all share is a commitment to the music and the message. Many of the choir members perform for their own enjoyment. Some are from the Beaufort area, finding strength and connection with their roots, while others are recent transplants who are just learning about the culture and how it has shaped the community. For Tammy Holman, who grew up singing in her church, she feels that both gospel and Gullah tell a story. “For gospel, it tells the story of Jesus and salvation. For Gullah, it tells the story of where we came from and the struggle,” she says. Performing 20 to 30 events a year for corporate functions, churches, festivals and events at Gullah-rich destinations like the Penn Center and Mitchelville—the first self-governed freedmen’s town in America—the Hallelujah Singers are still as committed to the music and the message as they were when the group assembled almost 30 years ago. The members rehearse every Monday for a few hours. Half-rehearsal, halfspiritual session, Smalls kicks off the evening with a group prayer. After some thoughts about gratitude and appreciation,

“ Please Lordy”—one of Smalls’ favorites—reminds people that mankind is more alike than different.

CROWD PLEASERS Dr. Marlena Smalls shares stories of Gullah culture and the history of the Hallelujah Singers with the audience between songs at the choir’s January concert in Beaufort City Hall’s soaring lobby.


as well as reminders of upcoming events, it’s time to sing. At practices, the women start singing as though they are at a pick-up basketball game and everyone knows the rules. They know what song, who sings what part, and who comes in when. There is no sheet music—the words are from memory and the melodies and harmonies are from within. The beat is supplied by any of the members as they clap their hands, stomp their feet or simply bang on a book.

The day of the Beaufort City Hall concert, the group had one last chance to “rehearse” at an impromptu photo shoot at the Chapel of Ease on St. Helena’s Island. With the apt setting of the ruins of a 1740 Anglican church in the heart of Beaufort’s Gullah community, the women were inspired by the shadow of their ancestors and the sun-dappled Spanish moss hanging from the 400-year-old oaks surrounding the oyster tabby ­façade. Their voices came alive as the photographer captured the true spirit of their sound in a magical setting. Back in town, they changed into their African-inspired attire and watched the community fill up the two-story lobby of City Hall. As Smalls introduced the group to the standingroom-only crowd, she shared stories of how the Hallelujah Singers came about and how they celebrate all things Gullah. And, then the music flowed—with the sounds of the struggles, joys, challenges and triumphs of the generations that came before. The meaningful words and uplifting harmonies, along with the percussion supplied by a member’s walking stick and the clapping of the crowd, enveloped the space and brought smiles to all in attendance. The crowd was moved, inspired and educated. And, in the moment, we were, in fact, more alike than we were different.



The return of Cypress Gardens BY JENNY PETERSON | PHOTOS BY ALEX FOX


in a flat-bottomed swamp boat, sandwiched between her brother and husband, who are each manning a paddle. The boat moves slowly through the black­water swamp at Cypress Gardens, cutting through a green rug of floating moss. The trio knows there are alligators in this picturesque lagoon, and any mosscovered stick floating on the surface could easily be the tail of a reptile. As they dip their paddles into the water, weaving through overhanging trees and dodging cypress knobs, Farrae starts giggling with excitement. “It feels like being a kid again,” she says. One of the Charleston area’s bestloved outdoor attractions, Cypress Gardens reopened in April after the historic floods of 2015 severely damaged the park and forced Berkeley County officials to close it for more than three years of extensive renovation. For Heather McDowell, director of Cypress Gardens, the reopening was a cause for celebration, and a far cry from the despair she felt immediately after the flooding when the park’s boat docks, walkways, buildings and even the front gate were all underwater. “I had to row a boat in here,” she says. “There was water everywhere— every building had water, and everything was ruined.” Inside the restored 170-acre park, ­visitors are once again free to make their own adventures. They can explore as they please, walking their own pace along 3.5 miles of winding nature trails and over picturesque arched bridges, maybe stopping off for a moment of solitude inside one of the secluded gazebos. Or they can explore by boat, paddling through the blackwater uu 26



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Cypress Gardens reopened in April after the historic floods of 2015 severely damaged the park, requiring three years of extensive renovation. BACK TO NATURE Visitors can experience Cypress Gardens by land via 3.5 miles of nature trails, or by water in a flat-bottomed boat. If you don’t spot an ­alligator, head to the park’s ­Swamparium, where gators and their reptilian cousins can be safely viewed. SCLIVING.COOP   | AUGUST 2019   |   SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING



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“ I just love it here. There’s always something new to see.” —VISITOR JERI KLOWAS VICEROY OR MONARCH? After giving your smartphone camera a workout in the ­Swamparium, move on to the butterfly house and download an app developed specifically for Cypress Gardens that identifies the winged creatures—like this monarch.



Cypress Gardens is located at 3030 Cypress Gardens Road in Moncks Corner. HOURS: Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.). The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. ADMISSION: $10 for adults; $6.50 for seniors over 65, first responders, active duty military and veterans; $5 for children ages 6–17; and free for children under the age of 5. Admission includes all attractions including self-guided boat use. Guided swamp boat tours are available for an additional $5. FUN FACT: The unique and beautiful gardens and swamp have been featured in several popular movies including The Notebook, The Patriot and Cold Mountain. DETAILS: For more information, visit or call (843) 553‑0515.

swamp filled with ducks, fish and an alligator or two. On land, an aviary is filled with colorful parrots that greet everyone with lots of noise and an occasional “hello.” At the indoor Swamparium, visitors can safely view exotic reptiles, snakes and large fish from behind glass. In the renovated butter­fly house, guests can use a smartphone app, specifically created by Google for Cypress Gardens, to identify each winged insect. The venue includes new playground equipment and a larger parking lot for easier access. A shiny bronze alligator greets visitors when they turn onto the grounds off Cypress Gardens Road. A building for events is under construction. More than 2,500 people visited on the day the park reopened, and for returning visitor Jeri Klowas of West Ashley, it was a welcome homecoming. “I just love it here,” she says, surrounded by blooming azaleas and camellia bushes on one of the nature trails. “There’s always something new to see.”

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looming Dogwood Trees and Azaleas signal that spring has arrived. In summer, explore 150 area waterfalls, cruise on freshwater lakes, and challenge the rapids of the Chattooga National Wild & Scenic River with Wildwater Rafting. Fall brings a display of breathtaking foliage as you meander the scenic byways. Stay in a cozy mountain cabin in wintertime and hike trails with unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Whenever you choose to visit, know that the Perfectly Seasoned Upcountry is perfectly seasoned!

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SC   recipe

Delicious and nutritious meals nsive. These don’t have to be expe t are always tha ts recipes use ingredien at reasonable le ab y avail in season and readil th plain, wi ll we prices. They pair very mber or cu cu like inexpensive salads— you ep ke ll wi t red cabbage—tha et. dg bu within a $10

Cheap eats— meals   under $10 BY BELINDA SMITH-SULLIVAN

Total cost: $8.78


8 ounces cooked macaroni pasta (elbow, cavatappi or mini penne) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 pound ground beef, crumbled Kosher salt Black pepper, freshly ground H teaspoon dried thyme H teaspoon dried oregano

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups milk, warm Pinch nutmeg 3 cups grated cheese (your favorite) G cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs

Cook pasta according to directions on the packaging. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Add salt, pepper, dried herbs and tomatoes. Stir and continue to cook for 3–5 minutes. Drain off juices and set aside. In another large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk continuously until the consistency of wet sand, 3–4 minutes. Do not let brown. Add milk and continue to whisk until thickened. Remove from heat and add nutmeg and cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta and thoroughly combine. I U LI I A N EDRYGA I LOVA

Into the prepared baking dish, add one-third of the pasta and cheese mixture topped with half of the meat mixture. Layer again with one-third of the pasta and cheese mixture followed by the remainder of the meat mixture and finally the remainder of the pasta and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake for 25–30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest 15–20 minutes before serving.

What’s cooking at More cheap eats online CLASSIC BATTERED FISH AND CHIPS Got a hankering for this pub standard but are daunted by deep frying? Follow the recipe with Chef Belinda’s step‑by‑step instructions and satisfy your urge. u

Find both at 30



CHEAP DESSERT A delicious dessert for less than 50 cents? Chef Belinda shows you how to do it in this video recipe for caramelized bananas. It’s also a great topping for pound cake or ice cream.

al Tot t: cos 46 $8.


Tot cos al $9. t: 46


4 large green bell peppers (6 if small) 1 pound Italian sausage links, removed from casing 1 small onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning J teaspoon red pepper flakes Kosher salt Black pepper, freshly ground 1 24-ounce jar tomato and basil pasta sauce, divided G cup Parmesan cheese 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Cut tops off peppers. Remove seeds and ribs inside peppers. Set aside. You can cut peppers in half lengthwise to make smaller portions, if desired.

al Tot t: cos 55 $8.

In a large bowl, combine the sausage, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, 1 cup pasta sauce and Parmesan. Mix until well combined. Divide meat mixture among peppers. Cover bottom of roasting pan with 1 cup of pasta sauce and place peppers in pan. Pour the remaining 1 cup of pasta sauce over the peppers. Cover tightly with foil. Bake peppers until stuffing temperature is 165 F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour, depending on size.




¼ cup lemon juice N cup garlic flavored/infused olive oil 1 tablespoon honey H teaspoon kosher salt G teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Remove from oven and discard foil. Increase oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle tops of peppers with shredded cheese and return to oven. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10–15 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.


2 cups pasta, cooked (your favorite) 2 cups shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken G red onion, thinly sliced H cup grape tomatoes, halved G cup Kalamata olives, halved G cup basil, roughly chopped G cup toasted pine nuts, optional H cup feta cheese, crumbled

In a small measuring cup, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use, or refrigerate in a small glass jar for up to two weeks. In a large salad bowl, toss together pasta, chicken, onion, tomatoes, olives and basil. Add half of the vinaigrette and toss until all ingredients are covered. Finish by adding the nuts and feta and tossing very lightly. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Please note that the pasta will soak up a lot of vinaigrette. Plate salad and serve with remaining vinaigrette.

Doing the math of these meals, I took into consideration that the average kitchen is equipped with basic staples like flour, seasonings, dairy, eggs, oils, vinegars, etc. For price comparison, all of the ingredients for these recipes were sourced at a local Walmart. IN CALCULATING THE COST


is out of budget, substitute cooked and shredded chicken thighs. They are juicier and tastier than breast meat and always a bargain in the supermarket. IF A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN

and what to look for is key. Don’t shy away from private label store brands. They are often a better value and just as good. KNOWING WHERE TO SHOP


and freeze for future use. Meats like chicken parts and ground beef are usually offered at special pricing at least two times per month in supermarkets. And “flash-frozen” fish is actually fresher than “fresh” fish, and less expensive.





SC   gardener

The lure of lunaria

AUGUST IN THE GARDEN n ’Tis the time of the tiny terrors. Minute menaces such as aphids, flea beetles, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies tend to be at their worst during hot weather.


n Herbs will be at their peaks of flavor just before their flowers begin to bloom, so plan and pick accordingly. n Outdoor ornamentals such as coleus, geraniums, impatiens, wax begonias and fuchsias can be easily rooted in pots and brought indoors in a few months to brighten up a home’s interior during the winter months. n Looking to add more visible snapcrackle-pop to the midsummer garden? Grab your sunscreen and big, floppy shade hat, and check out local botanical gardens, arboretums, city parks or even garden centers to see what kinds of plants are showing off the best for them during these hazy, lazy days of August.


TIP OF THE MONTH Do you enjoy the bright berry displays of hollies, nandinas and pyracanthas that begin to glow on crisp autumn days and last into the chill of winter? To ensure a bumper crop of such berries later this year, pay close attention to your bushes’ water needs now. The stress from extended periods of hot, dry weather can sometimes cause these plants to shed their immature berries, so pamper them through such arid times by refreshing their moisture-retaining mulch and watering deeply—long, thorough soaks that seep well down into the root zone—at least once a week if the rains don’t come.


FASCINATING IS THE PLANT that can visually

hook gardeners, not with fancy foliage nor flashy flowers, but rather dried seed pods— those faded leftovers of a glorious growing season. Well, welcome to the strangely fascinating world of lunaria (Lunaria annua), also known as money plant because of the round, parchment-like seed casings it produces in late summer that have the shimmer of freshly minted silver coins. Although it originates from southwest Asia, lunaria has been an heirloom favorite in Southern gardens since it was introduced to the American colonies in the 1600s, with the seeds of this easy-to-grow plant being passed down through the generations. Sown in late summer, the seeds of this biennial will produce 2- to 3-foot plants the next spring that will pleasingly pop with clusters of small white or purple flowers above the foliage. But while the blooms are cute—and also attract butterflies—they are only an opening act to the main attraction. It is the flat, spherical seed pods that add the most interest to the garden when their green coverings turn a dull brown, fall off and reveal the shiny inner ovals, which contain seeds for next year’s crop. When cleaned of their coverings and seeds, the delicate, glistening “coins” are especially eye-catching— as well as long-lasting—in dried indoor flower arrangements. Lunaria will grow from seed almost anywhere in our state, but for healthier, better-producing plants, choose a site



n Continue harvesting mature cucumbers, squash, green beans, indeterminate tomatoes and okra plants at least once or twice a week to encourage maximum production from these summer veggies.

The dusting of white on Variegata lunaria helps lighten up the deep sea of green in a summer landscape. The “coins” harvested from lunaria at the end of the summer can enrich any indoor dried arrangement.

that has well-worked, compost-enriched soil and gets, if possible, some morning sun and dappled shade during the heat of the day. And don’t worry about deer—to them, lunaria is not considered a desirable munchie. After flowering but before the seed pods dry on their stems, common lunaria tends to disappear into the typical summer garden’s deep sea of jade. However, Variegata and Alba Variegata are snazzy cultivars that show off brightly dappled leaves and are quite capable of adding sightly sparks to help lighten up a green, green, green landscape. These showy selections probably won’t be easily found locally, but an e-search will quickly locate seeds of these botanical pretties for sale online. Keep in mind that a happy stand of lunaria can readily reseed to the point of being invasive if the pods mature and are not harvested yearly, so be sure to pick and pass along the seeds of this beauty to keep it from becoming a beast in your garden. L.A. JACKSON is the former editor of Carolina Gardener magazine. Contact him at


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SC   calendar AUGUST 15–SEPTEMBER 15

Upstate AU G U ST

16  Third Friday SUP and Kayak

Paddling Tours, Table Rock State Park, Pickens. (864) 918‑8475. 17  Model Train Day at the Depot, Hub City Railroad Museum, Spartanburg. (864) 963‑4739. 17  Nine @ Nine or Astronomy Golf, Hickory Knob State Park Resort, McCormick. (864) 391‑2450. 17  Superhero 5K and Fun Run, Kroc Center, Greenville. (864) 235‑6047. 17  Tailgate Trot, Indigo Hall, Spartanburg. (864) 583‑7688. 23–24  Spring Water Festival, Mineral Spring Park, Williamston. (864) 847‑5743. 24  Kid’s Day, Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, Clinton. (864) 938‑0100. 24  Turtle Trail Naturalist Hike, Paris Mountain State Park, Greenville. (864) 244‑5565. 24  Twilight Paddle, Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg. (803) 222‑3209. 29–Sept. 8  Upper South Carolina State Fair, Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Easley. (864) 269‑0852. 31  Rock the Ranch Music Festival, Charlie B. Ranch Arena, Seneca. 31–Sept. 1  American Truck Historical Society Palmetto Upstate Chapter Fall Show, Dacusville Heritage Association Field, Easley. (864) 677‑3453. SE P T E M BE R

3–7  South Carolina Apple Festival,

multiple venues, Westminster. (864) 647‑7223. 7  Olde South Ball, Spartanburg Marriott, Spartanburg. 12–14  SpartOberfest, Jesus Our Risen Savior Catholic Church, Spartanburg. (864) 576‑1164. 13  Indie Craft Parade, Timmons Arena at Furman University, Greenville. (864) 406‑6253. 14  Family Fishing Clinic, Lake Hartwell State Park, Fair Play. (864) 972‑3352. 14  Frontier Encampment, Oconee Station State Historic Site, Walhalla. (864) 638‑0079. O NG O I N G

Every other Wednesday  Music Sandwiched In, Spartanburg County Public Library, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020. Third Thursdays  ArtWalk, downtown cultural district, Spartanburg. (864) 582‑7616.


30–31  Lowcountry Jazz Festival, Gaillard Center, Charleston. (843) 724‑5212.

Our mobile-friendly site lists even more festivals, shows and events. You’ll also find instructions on submitting your event. Please confirm information with the hosting event before attending.


7  Bald Eagle: Symbol of Survival,

The Colour of Music Festival at Allen University’s Chappelle Auditorium, Sept. 11–15, includes a performance by the All-Female Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. Fridays through August  Dancing on Depot, Commerce Park, Fountain Inn. (864) 724‑8044. Fridays  Starry Nights, Roper Mountain Science Center, Greenville. (864) 355‑8900. Saturdays until Sept. 28

Farmers Market, Commerce Park, Fountain Inn. (864) 724‑8044.

Midlands AUG UST

12–18  Schuetzenfest, multiple venues, Ehrhardt. (803) 707‑0999. 15  Twilight Paddling, Chester State Park, Chester. (803) 385‑2680. 17  Vintage Harmonic Symphony, Gettys Art Center, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 17–18  Summer Stamp and Postcard Show, Spring Valley High School, Columbia. (803) 309‑2534. 23  Resurrection: A Journey Tribute, Sumter Opera House, Sumter. (803) 436‑2616. 23–24  Sandy Oaks Pro Rodeo, Lazy J Arena, Edgefield. (803) 637‑5369. 23–24  Summerfest, downtown, York. (803) 684‑2590. 24  Jailbreak Escape Urban Challenge Run, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Lexington. (803) 799‑4786. 28  Research Roundtable, Seibels House, Columbia. (803) 252‑1770, ext. 28.


3–6  Nature Photography

Workshop with Robert Rommel, Santee State Park, Santee. (803) 854‑2408. 6  Bridles & Birdies, Newberry Hall, Aiken. (803) 226‑0053. 6–7  Aiken’s Makin’, downtown, Aiken. (803) 641‑1111. 6–7  The Big Grab Yard Sale, multiple locations, Blythewood, Ridgeway and Winnsboro. (803) 635‑4242. 7  Coin and Currency Show, South Aiken Presbyterian Church, Aiken. 7  Springdale 5K at Sunrise, Springdale Race Course, Camden. (803) 432‑0951. 7  Walk Toward Brighter Days, Cherry Park, Rock Hill. d.jackson@ 9  September Monthly Gospel Singing, Midland Gospel Singing Center, Gilbert. (803) 719‑1289. 11–15  Colour of Music Festival, Chappelle Auditorium at Allen University, Columbia. (864) 406‑6838. 12–15  Bicycle Across South Carolina, 150 miles of the Palmetto Trail, Sumter to Awendaw. (843) 937‑5458. 13  Book Signing with Brian Boger, Aiken County Visitors Center, Aiken. (803) 642‑7557. 13  Twilight Paddling, Chester State Park, Chester. (803) 385‑2680. 14  By the Sweat of Our Brows, Historic Brattonsville, McConnells. (803) 684‑2327. 14  Cocktails & Cockabooses, The Cockabooses on Key Road, Columbia. (866) 933‑2873.


14  What’s Going On: The Marvin

Gaye Experience, Sumter Opera House, Sumter. (803) 436‑2616. 14–15  St. Anne International Festival, St. Anne Catholic Church, Rock Hill. (803) 792‑1442.

Lowcountry AU GU ST

12–16  Summer Camp: Illustration and Storybook Design (ages 8–11), Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 17  Abstract Landscape Painting with Cory McBee, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 17  Half Rubber Tournament, Isle of Palms Recreation Department, Isle of Palms. (843) 886‑8294. 21  Art of Jazz Series featuring Arshak Sirunyan Quartet, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 641‑0011. 21  Introduction to Figure Drawing, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 23  Fourth Friday Paddle with a Ranger, Colleton State Park, Walterboro. (843) 538‑8206. 24  5K Run for the Kids, Morse Landing Park, Murrells Inlet. (843) 448‑3400. 24  Race for The ARK, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Summerville. (843) 471‑1360. 25  SC Reggae Jerk & Wine Festival, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, West Ashley.

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston. (843) 852‑4200. 7  Defense of a Colony, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston. (843) 852‑4200. 7  Dog Day Afternoon, Splash Island Waterpark at Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park, Mount Pleasant. (843) 795‑4386. 7  Moore Farms Botanical Garden Beer Fest, Moore Farms Botanical Garden, Lake City. (843) 210‑7592. 7  To Settle a Town, Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site, Summerville. (843) 873‑1740. 8  Dog Day Afternoon, Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark at North Charleston Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston. (843) 795‑4386. 12–15  Bicycle Across South Carolina, 150 miles of the Palmetto Trail, Sumter to Awendaw. (843) 937‑5458. 12–21  Society of Stranders Fall Migration, Ocean Drive Beach and Golf Resort, Myrtle Beach. (803) 371‑4731. 13  Shoot for the Moon Gala, Gaillard Center, Charleston. (843) 747‑4099. 14  1 in 5 Wellness Festival, Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head Island. (843) 681‑2393. 14  Moonlight Canoe Float, Cheraw State Park, Cheraw. (843) 537‑9656. 14  Second Saturday Paddling Trips with ERCK, Colleton State Park, Walterboro. (843) 538‑8206. 14  Surfside Beach Skyhoundz Disc Contest, W.O. Martin Park, Surfside Beach. (843) 650‑9548. 14  Take 5: West Coast Cool Jazz, Charleston Music Hall, Charleston. (843) 641‑0011. ONGOING

Nightly through August

Summerfest, Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach. (843) 272‑8349. Mondays through August

Fireworks, Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach. (843) 272‑8349. Fourth Tuesdays  Wash Day, L.W. Paul Living History Farm, Conway. (843) 365‑3596. Wednesdays  Arts and Crafts Market, Bay Creek Park, Edisto Island. (843) 869‑3867. First Saturdays  History in the Landscape, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, Charleston. (843) 546‑9361.


SC   humor me

Alice in Plunger-land BY JAN A. IGOE


recently experienced what can only be described as a disaster of biblical proportions. After many years living a pampered life, dining on exotic Scrubbing Bubbles and Lysol, the master bathroom toilet delivered its resignation tornadostyle, giving zero warning. Not even two-weeks’ notice. When your entire plumbing arsenal consists of a $7 plunger and only a vague recollection of where the shut-off valve is, watching the murky water creep steadily toward the rim is terrifying. It might cause a frantic female to run around in circles, swinging the virgin plunger like a baseball bat. Good thing we don’t know anybody like that. The water slowed to a halt just as it tickled the rim. My prayers answered, I cautiously removed the tank lid to investigate this perilous abyss. Let’s see, we’ve got a chain anchored by a plug and a fat, black rubber thing attached to a stick. Also water. What am I looking for, again? When things go wrong, I try to avoid them. Forever, if possible. Luckily, my house has other bathrooms, plus a bonus rest stop right next to me on the 15th hole, which could be my emergency outhouse. All those spare potties should buy YouTube enough time to turn me into a master plumber. According to the internet, the problem was a clog. Obviously, this


In hindsight, the warning about establishing a tight seal before proceeding would have made good reading. would require a new and improved plunger. “Which one works best?” I asked, grabbing the hardware guy by the vest before he could flee. “They’re plungers,” he shrugged. “They’re all the same.” He was right. Nothing but clones, except for the purple accordion model hiding in the back. “Pick me,” the pretty plunger whispered. “You won’t be sorry.” Who could refuse? So I named her


Penelope and we went off to attack the clog. Damn the instructions, full speed ahead. In hindsight, the warning about establishing a tight seal before proceeding would have made good reading. Otherwise, the toilet responds like a whirling blender without a lid. And we’re not talking smoothies here. After 10 seconds of ferocious plunging— followed by two hours of scrubbing with no help from Penelope— the bathroom recovered, but the clog hadn’t budged. Time for better weapons. I upgraded to a $12 auger, which is pretty much a fishing pole for potties. (The hardware guy promised I wouldn’t need a raincoat and tarp this time.) Soon, Augie and I were snaking and reeling like Brody and Quint fighting the great white in Jaws. It was the largest man-­eating clog ever seen in those waters. Then came the moment of truth— when you flush and pray the water will stop rising before flood stage. Guess what? It did. I retired Penelope and bought some ugly overalls so the next clog will take me seriously. Just in case there’s a sequel. saves money by doing dangerous home repairs herself. She also moonlights as a plumber and offers a generous discount to readers. Book now at Let her know if you’re selling a fighting chair. JAN IGOE

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*30963119 * 30963119

*91550620 * 91550620

LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 5 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 1 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 4 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*



Customer Rating

• Adjust from 11-3/4" to 16-3/8"




0.6 CFM

ITEM 61615/60637 @ 90 PSI 95275 shown Customer Rating

LIMIT 4 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*



20% OFF


Customer Rating


ITEM 63878/63991 PERFORMANCE $ 52 64005/69567/60566 MODEL: W2364 63601/67227 shown TOOL







$1 8 $

Customer Rating







MODEL: 1007102

$3 99

ITEM 38846/69597/62392/61196 shown


SAVE $ 30

ITEM 63842



Customer Rating






• Night vision








• 64 sq. ft. of shade


SAVE 50%


$ 09


Customer Rating






MODEL: 157467

9 $549

SAVE $ 44



ITEM 69456/62384/62898/62897/62899 shown

ITEM 69385/62388/62409/62698/30900 shown

*91550699 * 91550699

*91551197 * 91551197

*91551651 * 91551651

*91551880 * 91551880

LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 1 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 5 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 1 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

SUPER COUPON Customer Rating



SAVE $ 40%





$1 999

7999 $

ITEM 64412/62749 shown

12,000 LB. TRUCK/SUV WINCH • Weighs 83.65 lbs. • 21" L x 10-1/8" H

• 225 lb. capacity

9 $699 $





ITEM 67514





MODEL: S322A-1

*91551970 * 91551970

*91552847 * 91552847

LIMIT 1 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

*Original coupon only. No use on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase or without original receipt. Valid through 12/13/19.


WARN $ 99

Customer Rating

720 $ 39999

MODEL: 96820

ITEM 64045/64046/63770 shown



*91554042 * 91554042 LIMIT 1 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*



SAVE 69%

Customer Rating





PROFESSIONAL WOODWORKER MODEL: 51832 ITEM 63235/63292/97626 shown


$699 9

$ 99

*91554096 * 91554096 LIMIT 4 - Coupon valid through 12/13/19*

At Harbor Freight Tools, the “Compare to” price means that the specified comparison, which is an item with the same or similar function, was advertised for sale at or above the “Compare to” price by another national retailer in the U.S. within the past 90 days. Prices advertised by others may vary by location. No other meaning of “Compare to” should be implied. For more information, go to or see store associate.