Thoroughbred Country’s Cultural Scene Shines in 2018

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Aiken Trials

Award-winning bands, show stopping plays and esteemed horse trials all take turns at taking center stage in Thoroughbred Country.

Amidst the grand oaks and historical street signs, it’s easy to feel a world away in South Carolina’s Thoroughbred Country, situated along I-20, between Atlanta, Georgia, and Charleston–just east of Augusta, Georgia. Although the area is marked by quaintness, the cultural scene is anything but. The 2018 calendar is filled with a spectacular historical reenactment festival, Julliard trained artist performances, theatrical shows and more, bringing world-renowned entertainment to this idyllic countryside.

2018 starts off with a clang at Thoroughbred Country’ Etherredge Center with “American Portraits: The Dallas Brass and Daniel Rodriguez” on January 18. This brand new production combines the energy and precision of Dallas Brass with “America’s Beloved Tenor” Daniel Rodriguez. Feel the beat with a full complement of drums and percussion and get patriotic as Rodriguez, a retired Brooklyn police officer, stirs the crowd with his prized rendition of “God Bless America.” On February 15, pay homage to the founders of Musical Theatre, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, as “I’ve Got a Little Twist” takes the stage. The show, dedicated to give vitality to the living legacy of the innovative duo, excites with an entertaining night of music both old and new. On March 8, Goitse fills the theatre with the sounds of Ireland. This award-winning quintet is one of the most sought after bands amongst Gaelic genre connoisseurs and is known for their energetic and unique flare.  Contact the Ettherredge Center for tickets.

 History comes alive at the Battle of Aiken February 24- 25. For three days, Civil War reenactors eat, sleep, live and fight in the painfully recreated world of 1865. This War Between the States event has grown from a few hundred men with muskets to a full-blown festival with cannons, cavalry horses and living history experts. Explore authentic 19th-century military encampments, reproductions of medical facilities, an engineer and signal service and civilian portrayals. For more information, visit BattleOfAiken.org

Everything you thought you knew about “The Princess and The Pea” turns upside down as Circle Theatre presents “Once Upon a Mattress.” This Barnwell playhouse puts on this hilarious, romantic, melodic tale of royal courtship with side-splitting shenanigans. You’ll never look at fairy tales quite the same way after show dates on February 23-24, March 2-3. Matinees are on February 25 and March 4. Circle Theatre concludes their season with “Are You Being Served” on May 11-13, 18-20.  Lovers of innuendo, British humor and flying circus stunts need to look no further than this laugh riot of a play. Based on a popular British television comedy series, guests will be doubled over with the nonstop double entendres. Visit TbredCountry.org for more information.

 All-world artists converge on the charming town of Aiken for more than a week of Joye! Joye! In Aiken is where the best young artists of Julliard School and beyond showcase their remarkable talents for eight days, March 9-16. For ten years, Joye! In Aiken has brought top-notch actors, dancers and musicians into neighborhood churches, performing arts centers and hotels, bringing the excitement of learning and the pleasure of artistic discovery to local students and residents. On March 10, spice things up by heading to The Willcox Hotel for the “Joye of Jazz”. This smashing performance is comprised of the world’s most exciting young musicians. Things kick off with a jazz brunch and the fun continues throughout the evening. On March 15, the St. Lawrence String Quartet takes the stage in Aiken for the very first time. This famous chamber ensemble brings down the house with their charming sense of humor and serious musical talents. Don’t miss the ten-year anniversary experience of Joye!. For ticket information and a complete list of events, visit JoyeInAiken.com

Race into fun at Breakfast at the Gallops. On March 16, dine with the four-legged stars that will take over the track the next day at the Aiken Trials. Both newcomers and old-timers will be warming up for their time to shine. Local trainers will be on-hand to discuss the horses and their various training techniques. A light breakfast will be served. On March 17, the Aiken Trials, the first leg of Aiken’s Triple Crown events, begins and is defined by a cozy, family-friendly feel, complete with simple tailgates and assorted vendors. There are six horse races on the program, running ¼ mile to 4 ½ furlongs. The jockeys are local exercise riders who have an afternoon in the spotlight after paying their dues exercising horses each morning throughout the year. For more information, visit TheAikenTrainingTrack.com

The Aiken Community Playhouse has a show-stopping lineup for 2018. Immerse yourself in the tales of “The Rainmaker,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “The Dixie Swim Club,” “Sister Act,” “Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will?” and “Prodigal Son.” Whether you prefer drama, comedy or musicals, the area’s finest performers are sure to put a tear in your eye, a smile on your face or a chill in your body as they bring these stories to life. Book your tickets by visiting AikenCommunityPlayhouse.com

In an area where traffic is never on a list of concerns and there’s no trouble seeing the night stars, Thoroughbred Country doesn’t need the glitz of city lights to attract big-name entertainment. Enjoy this cozy cultural haven where smart attractions shine bright in the best and most unexpected way.

Thoroughbred Country, TBredCountry.org, 803-508-7070.