Monday, September 14, 2009

Save the May River Theatre Co.;buy some tickets to the show

Bluffton Today

It has been a productive “off season” from the legislative session. I have made some very promising contacts with businesses looking at Greater Bluffton and southern Beaufort County as places to expand or relocate businesses, or possibly establish a new corporate headquarters.

One of the things that always impresses these business folks is the interesting cultural aspect of Bluffton, especially the arts and artists that we support in our area.

Sometimes, they need to leave the rust belt or the high real estate costs of the big city, but they are reluctant to move key employees to a place without a certain level of cultural amenity. A tour of the arts district of Old Town Bluffton is a huge selling point for potential new business neighbors.

A particularly impressive part of the art community is the May River Theater. Now in their 8th season, artistic director Jodie DuPuis and business manager Ed DuPuis have created a charming and successful amateur theater company. Housed in the Ulmer Auditorium of Bluffton Town Hall, the May River Theater is an institution of which we can all be justifiably proud.

Unfortunately, the recession has not spared this worthy outfit, and they find themselves behind in their financial projections for the year. Consequently, they are holding a classy fundraiser at Cork’s Wine Bar on Sunday, 27 September, from 4 ­ 7 p.m. Entertainment will be by “The Great Pretenders” with support from the talented May River Theater performers.

Tickets are $50 each and will be available at the door or by calling 837-7798. I hope you will join me for this fun event.

There is another arts event this weekend right here in Old Town Bluffton. Called “Art in the Windows” and spearheaded by the talented and hyperkinetic Diane Dean, this event will feature displays of two and three dimensional art in the windows of the businesses around the Promenade, as well as an art walk including the usual venues in the Arts District. There will be artists working on the streets, as well as an after-school chalk art contest for the kids. Suzette Surkamer, former executive director of the SC Arts Commission, will deliver the keynote address.

The art will be in the windows all week but the fun officially kicks off early Friday and will include a wine tasting, music all over town, a treasure hunt with prizes, and the art walk will continue until at least 8 or 9. Bring your kids and have some quality family fun time-- right here at home.

Speaking of fun, I had breakfast with the ROMEO s out at Sun City last Wed. The ROMEO s (Retired Old Men Eating Out) are a great bunch of fellows and I want to thank Ernie and the crew for their good work. There was good conversation and an ample ration of laughter to go along with the astute questions and sound opinions from guys that have been around.

Don’t forget about the jobs fairs at the Beaufort campus of Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) on 3 October. I have been working hard with Senator Davis and Representative Erickson, along with the good folks from Employment Security Commission, to assure that this is a productive event.

There were a few calls wanting to know why we didn’t have the fair at the Bluffton campus. It’s a fair question and the answer is: We flipped a coin.