• CCES May 2024
  • Five Oaks May 2024
  • Int'l Ballet April 2024
  • Prisma Health Jan 2024
  • SCCT April 2024
  • YMCA May 2024

Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

Celebrate the 4th at Spartanburg’s Annual Red, White & BOOM!

Posted on | No Comments


Independence Day celebrations are a time to celebrate our historical heritage and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.  Traditionally, friends and family gather together for good food and fun, and Spartanburg’s annual Red, White, and Boom provides the perfect entertainment. This local favorite July 4th celebration combines fair foods, family-friendly music, and an impressive fireworks show in a community setting.

RELATED: See our list of fireworks near Spartanburg for even more choices on where to celebrate the 4th of July.

What to Know

Location and Time

Located at 248 E Saint John Street, Barnet Park is a sprawling seven acre urban park in downtown Spartanburg.  The gates for Red,White, and Boom open at 5 p.m. but the festivities officially begin at 6 p.m. and end after the fireworks display at 10 p.m.


Free parking is available in the Saint John Street Parking garage (adjacent to the park and Chapman Cultural Center) and the surrounding area parking lots are usually open, as well.  Parking is on a first come basis.  Red, White, and Boom is a popular event, so expect crowds.


Admission to the event is $5 per person, and children 6 and under are free!  Tickets can be purchased at the gate.

What to Bring

  • Cash $$$ and I.D. – Admission and event vendors accept cash only! Also, you will need a valid identification card if you wish to purchase alcoholic beverages at the event.
  • Lawn chairs and blankets – Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets and pick your spot for the musical entertainment and fireworks display.
  • Bug Spray – Tis the season for mosquitoes, so bring bug repellent.

What to Expect

  • Food – Local vendors offer tasty BBQ, hot dogs and hamburgers, funnel cakes, candy apples, and soft drinks and beer, bottled water, ice cream, cotton candy, snow cones and more!
  • Music – Every Red, White, and Boom features a musical performance.
  • Fireworks – The evening ends with a lengthy fireworks display by Zambelli Fireworks set to patriotic music.  If you have little ones, you may want to bring ear/hearing protection or just be ready to move to the back of the park or outside the gates to lessen the noise intensity. Many children are totally fine with the noise, but if you have a sensory sensitive child, it’s best to be prepared.  The good news is that the fireworks display is visible from the surrounding parking areas, top of the parking garage, and sidewalks outside the gates, so you can get farther away without missing the beautiful displays.
  • Light Up Paraphernalia – glow necklaces and light up wands are available for sale.  Kids love to see them light up as the sun sets.

Happy 4th of July!!!

RELATED: See our list of fireworks near Spartanburg for even more choices on where to celebrate the 4th of July.

Meet Juliet Wright
Juliet Autenzio Wright has lived in the Upstate for over 20 years. She is a proud alumna of Converse College and a former high school teacher. Now a stay-at-home mom to three little girls, ages five, two, and six months, Juliet loves exploring Spartanburg through the eyes of her children. Her favorite family-friendly activities include local parks and nature walks, library story times, and the many local festivals Spartanburg has to offer. In her spare time, she privately tutors, ghost writes, and reads as many books as possible. Juliet’s family and friends make her world go round!

Greenville Martial Art Center Offers Classes, After School Care, and Summer Camp

Posted on | 14 Comments

Thank you to Greenville Martial Art Center for sponsoring Kidding Around Greenville and this content.

While parents may not see their kid wax on and wax off their car, they will see noticeable positive differences after their child spends some time at Greenville Martial Art Center learning skills that extend way beyond the studio and into everyday life at home and at school.

Greenville Martial Art Center (GMAC) is entering its 10th year of operation, having guided both kids and adults through Hapkido and Taekwondo programs and instilled greater confidence, self-esteem and practical self-defense skills.

What is GMAC?

GMAC is an independent, family-owned business that offers both Traditional Taekwondo and Hapkido styles of martial arts. GMAC is owned by Chris Key, who has been teaching martial arts for over 15 years. They offer an after-school program, STEAM infused summer camps, and tons of great evening classes for both kids and adults.

Summer Camps

Summer is just around the corner, unbelievably, so why not start checking out what’s available to not only keep your kids entertained? GMAC will help them become better people, teach them personal accountability, and they will have a blast all at the same time!

GMAC just opened up their summer camp registration and they’ve got some exciting weeks planned. Why choose one themed camp, when you can choose them ALL? Legos, Harry Potter, Minecraft, Community Service projects, Zoology, and Ninja week are just a few of the themed weeks awaiting your student this summer!

Through using a combination of martial arts, including traditional Taekwondo skills, and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) activities, GMAC put together themed weeks to keep children engaged throughout the entire day.

Camps are broken up into five blocks, each consisting of two weeks. Camp Blocks begin June 5th and run through the week of August 7th. Themes for each block include LEGO engineering, Super Hero Service, Explore Like a Ninja, and Wild About Animals. Kids will do things like volunteering at a nursing home or an animal shelter, build a Free Little Library and go on field trips.

GMACs mission is to form well-rounded leaders through self-discipline, accountability, and character-building activities. These are all useful skills that can be translated to both a school and home environment and really, what parent wouldn’t want a child who listens more and is personally accountable to clean their rooms? Make this a summer they will remember for a lifetime!

The cost is $140 per week of full-day camps. The camps run Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. GMAC asks that campers arrive no later than 9am and are picked up not earlier than 4:30 p.m.

GMAC does offer family and sibling discounts.

After-School Program

GMAC has multiple buses that pick-up children from elementary schools around the Simpsonville, Taylors, Greenville, and Five Forks area every weekday and engage them in a dynamic after-school program. It includes quiet time for homework and reading, snack time, and of course, classes where kids are taught taekwondo.

Classes are taught by the owner, Chris, who while holding black belts in both styles, is also a dad, and someone who may or may not admit to being a big kid himself. Watching him interact and teach the kids, it’s easy to see why both children and parents keep coming back to GMAC. He cares deeply about being a role model and excellent instructor and strives to channel the boundless energy of children into useful skills.

The after-school program runs from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. and is very reasonably priced. Please call GMAC for prices and available pick-up locations.


Hapkido is an eclectic yet traditional Korean martial art that combines dynamic strikes along with joint locks, throws, pressure points, and other techniques used to effectively control opponents.  It truly is one of the original mixed martial arts.

One thing that sets Hapkido apart from other styles is that it is considered a “soft” style.  This means that instead of requiring practitioners to be big and strong, nearly anybody can utilize these techniques!  Using the principles of non-opposing force, circular motion, and fluid motion, a practitioner can subdue or control an opponent much larger than themselves.

The best part of Hapkido is that it is a great style for both men and women, and for all ages.  Currently their youngest student is six, while the oldest is in his 60’s (shhh! Don’t tell him we told you!)

Hapkido classes are held three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings.

All evening classes are affordable and family-friendly.

Who can take martial arts classes?

Everyone. There are evening classes for adults at GMAC. One of their current black belts didn’t start classes until he was 55! It is not uncommon to see a very wide age range among students in class.

While the after-school program is geared towards elementary-aged children, the Hodori (Little Tigers) Taekwondo classes are for kids as young as four-years-old. There are many family groups taking classes at GMAC, including the school owner, business manager, and their children.

Katrina Phillips, the program director at GMAC, says that children with any kind of attention-deficit disorder usually benefit greatly from their programs and are able to build better learning and listening skills.

GMAC offers family and sibling discounts, as well as a trial class so you can figure out what is best for you and your child. Martial arts are such a great way to provide structure and the opportunities to acquire valuable, life-long skills, so give it a shot!

Greenville Martial Art Center

Greenville Martial Art Center
1904B Roper Mountain Rd
Greenville, South Carolina

(864) 881-1397

Which martial arts class would your kid enjoy?

A New Summer Program Helps Teens Discover Their Future Careers

Posted on | No Comments

Thank you to Aid Joy for sponsoring this content.

Getting your teen ready to leave the nest is a road with many twists and turns. No sooner do you get past orthodontia, learner permits, and Snapchat selfies, then college destinations, SAT scores, and “what am I going to do with my life?” come flying around the corner.

Whether your teenager is ready to spread their wings and fly, or still finding their sense of direction, one thing is true: connecting the dots between what they like to do now and what they can do as a career is a challenge.

The Benjamin Franklin Experience

Benjamin Franklin Experience (BFE) is a summer program that gives teenagers, ages 14-18, an introduction to 10 different career fields in science, technology, arts, engineering, journalism, medicine, music, law, and more. Each day the class is led by a different expert.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The Benjamin Franklin Experience allows teens to experience 10 different career fields.” quote=”The Benjamin Franklin Experience allows teens to experience 10 different career fields.” theme=”style3″]

For example, in one class, students work with an environmental biologist in two local streams—one pristine, and the other near a construction site. Teens will be taught how to analyze and compare the health of each stream by examining macro invertebrates under a microscope. In the next class, teens work with a composer who writes music for the NFL. They’ll spend the day creating a two-minute musical piece, composing it, playing the instruments, recording it, and mastering it.

Discovering Interests, and Creating an Impressive College Application

These meaningful career experiences are intended to help teens envision a path to a fulfilling life, and help them explore and define their interests.

Most colleges recommend experiential learning opportunities for teenage students before they enter college. And, most college applications ask for a list all schools and programs attended since ninth grade. They require a long a description of what was learned during those programs.

BFE instructors guide teens through a focused reflection exercise at the end of each day. These written entries are edited by professional writers, and compiled into a portfolio for students to keep.

These portfolios—in addition to becoming wonderful mementos—become an invaluable resource for college applications.

Reinforcing Positive Messages

BFE also provides a way to combat the pressures and messages teens get from peers, TV, and social media. Too often, kids get a sense of what they should be, or they are drawn by the glamour of what they see on social media.

In addition to meeting expert instructors in each BFE class, students are introduced to visiting-mentors. Visiting-Mentors attend select classes alongside students. They are high-performing professionals from a variety of fields, interested in sharing their career stories with students and participating in class experiences. Students may be paired with visiting-mentors based on interests expressed in their program application, which could include former Olympians, CEO’s, venture capitalists, restaurant owners, architects, and more.

When an impressive person has come to spend the day with you, to introduce you to a new world, and tell you that you too can pursue a career, it can have a very powerful affect.

The classes also provide students a look at the day-to-day realties of a profession. While being a professional musician can appear glamourous, the amount of work and dedication required to make a living is tremendous. While moms and dads can try to explain those realities to teens, the class makes it easy for students to connect the dots, and gain real understanding from the experience.

Summer Schedule and How to Apply

The camp is scheduled for four courses over the summer, and each course is two-weeks in length.

Course 1: Monday, June 5   — Friday, June 16
Course 2: Monday, June 19 — Friday, June 30
Course 3: Monday, July 10  — Friday, July 21
Course 4: Monday, July 24  — Friday, August 4

The cost of tuition is $2,370 per course, which covers all instruction, equipment, transportation to-and-from class headquarters and field trips, lunch, a certificate of learning, and all other necessary costs. Scholarships are available.

There are approximately 100 slots, and the application process is competitive, requiring both a nomination from a teacher, pastor, coach, counselor, or close adult—and an application from students.

The deadline for applications is March 31, 2017.

BFE is looking for kids with grit and enthusiasm—those who are ready to take a bite out of life. Benjamin Franklin had many careers over the course of his life. Teens today are more likely to move in and out of a variety of careers before they retire. BFE is a place to help them get started, find the profession that will bring happiness into their lives, and set them up for future success.

Learn more or apply online at www.FranklinExperience.org.

Have you ever heard of a program like this before?

Saving Money on Vacation Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Have Fun

Posted on | No Comments

Whether it’s the beach or the mountains, the city or the country, many families take their vacation time during the summer. School is out and it’s the perfect time to get away together for a week (or more!).  But someone’s gotta pay for it and planning for the costs ahead of the time can help to reduce the stress and increase the relaxation. But even if you didn’t think ahead, there is still time to enjoy a break. ~Kristina Hernandez

Saving Money on Vacation

Thank you to Parent Financial for sponsoring this content. To learn about planning for your own family’s financial future and getting your budget on track, be sure to check out our great sponsor Parent Financial and read our introduction to the company here.

[adrotate banner=”92″]

Tip #1: Plan Ahead for Summer Vacation

You plan ahead for flights and hotels and time off work so why not start planning in advance for all the costs associated with your dream trip? Court Creeden, who runs Parent Financial, advises that families should first figure out what the trip will cost and then incorporate those costs into their annual and monthly budgets, where a certain amount of money can be saved each month.

“From there you can start by determining how many months you have until the trip and then calculate how much you should be putting away each month to have the trip saved for when the vacation starts,” Creeden explained.

“As an example, if you are planning on spending $2,500 to take the family to the beach in July, you could start at the beginning of the year knowing you have seven months until the trip. To be ready for the total cost, you should have been saving $357/month leading up to the vacation and then you would have been fully prepared for the trip. The earlier you start the better and the less likely you will need to dip into savings or use a credit card to help handle the costs!”

Tip #2: Don’t Forget the Smaller Costs – They Add Up

This is so easy to overlook but those extra costs of a vacation, both before and during, can really add up. Maybe $100 for clothes, another $50 for shoes, $20 for sunscreen, a few dollars here and there for games for the car or plane ride all adds up. Then once the vacation starts, don’t forget about extra food and snacks, drinks, magazines, taxis or Uber, or the t-shirt and photos from the theme park.

“These small expenses can add up to hundreds of dollars if not planned for,” said Creeden. “As a result, many parents find that they look at the hotel and flights for a trip to figure out the ‘costs’. Once the vacation is over they realize that the trip was hundreds of dollars more because they didn’t take into consideration the park passes, new clothes, beach toys, etc that were purchased and increased the total cost. “

So plan wisely for all those extras ahead of time or put away a special fund for purchases.

Tip #3: Consider Less Expensive Alternatives

Some of you are reading this and saying, “But I want to take a summer vacation now and I haven’t budgeted seven months for it!” Hang in there.

“Consider hotel alternatives and look at Airbnb or VRBO to find less expensive lodging options,” suggests Creeden. “Don’t book hotels online or from a 1-800 number. Call the front desk and see if there are any special prices or availability to potentially get a better rate. If flying, consider two ‘one-way’ tickets rather than roundtrip to find some potential cost savings.”

There are also some great day trips to local spots that don’t cost much where you and your family could leave early in the morning and make a long day of it. And if you left early enough, you could drive to the beach, have fun all day, and drive back in the evening and save money on a hotel.

Tip #4: Do Your Homework

Besides planning ahead and thinking of incidentals and special gifts or purchases beforehand, there is a lot you can do to be smart about vacationing.

Creeden suggests to “do your homework and look for off-season passes, Groupon specials, and discounted rates. Don’t forget to consider using your rewards miles or points to offset costs for flights or hotels.”

Using those reward miles is how my family paid for our summer vacations. We got free flights and hotels and my parents taught us how it works but that you need to be smart and pay off the credit card bills while racking up the miles or points!

Tip #5: Remember that the Amount of Money Does Not Necessarily Equal the Amount of Fun

Remember that your children don’t know how much you spend, so a great weekend at the beach could be just as fun as one at an expensive amusement park.

Tip #6: Pack Your Lunch and Snacks

Pack lunches or buy snacks for the plane flight or car ride.

Tip #7: Pack a Souvenir

Buy the kids a fun souvenir ahead of time to give them when you arrive at Disney rather than paying a much higher price buying gifts the theme park.

Tip #8: Consider Listing Your Home for Rent While You Are Gone

Consider listing your home for rent on AirBnB while gone to make some extra money.

Try to think ahead and be financially smart so that taking well-earned your summer vacation won’t cause stress afterwards.

To learn about planning for your own family’s financial future and getting your budget on track, be sure to check out our great sponsor Parent Financial and read our introduction to the company here.

Do you have a tip to add that helps you save for your summer vacation?

Court Creeden is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC [www.SIPC.org] 6000 Fairview Road Suite 400, Charlotte, NC 28210 (704) 557-9600. Court Creeden is not authorized to give legal or tax advice. Consult your own personal attorney legal or tax counsel for advice on specific legal and tax matters. CRN 201807-203641

Meet Kristina, KAG Food Expert
Kristina_headshot 150 pixel Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer and New Jersey native who is thrilled to call the Upstate her new home. She loves cooking, trying new foods, and checking out all that Greenville has to offer.


Enjoy the Perfect Park Day at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg, SC

Posted on | No Comments

Have you visited Cleveland Park near downtown Spartanburg, SC? This gorgeous, heavily shaded park is located just off Asheville Highway and is the perfect place to spend the day with your family. This park has everything, from a large duck pond spotted with several species of bird, to an expansive playground. There is something new to experience with each visit. The park is handicap accessible, so everyone can enjoy the park without feeling restricted. So, grab your picnic basket and head to Spartanburg for a lovely day at Cleveland Park!

Cleveland Park in Spartanburg, SC