CENTRAL — There is just something nostalgic and charming about small town festivals. Strolling down Main Street, munching on freshly popped kettle corn and listening to guitars strumming out classic songs while kids get their faces painted and beg for cotton candy.
This will be the scene in Central on Saturday for the Railroad Festival: small towns at their best.
Most areas in the Upstate hold their own celebrations sometime in Spring: Pickens just had the Azalea, Six Mile does the Issaqueena, Easley’s had their Spring Fling — but there’s something special about Central’s.
It’s not the biggest event around and you’ll see no “big name” headliners on the main stage — but you will hear some of the best music the Upstate has to offer, usually accompanied by the most adorable little cloggers and tap dancers you’ve ever seen.
Local artists will display their wares while church volunteers will man the bouncy castles. Somewhere, someone will be turning out soem of the best BBQ plates in the Upstate.
Last year, the real star of the show — a massive Norfolk Southern diesel engine — chugged through town while kids lined up and down the tracks to wave at the conductor who blew the horn the whole way.
The cool thing about the Railroad Festival is the town celebrates its history with it. After all, the Central we know today would never have existed if the Atlantic and Richmond Air Line (which would become the Southern Railroad) hadn’t laid tracks through Pickens County 145 years ago.
Because the location of the future town was “centralized” between Atlanta and Charlotte, “Central Station” was born.
The rest, as they say, is history and even today, when you think of Central — you think “trains.”