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Day Trips: Rock Hill will be hopping for 10 days

Come-See-Me’s Glen the Frog: Mascot of festival ceremonies since 1963.
Come-See-Me’s Glen the Frog: Mascot of festival ceremonies since 1963. Rock Hill Herald file photo

Glen and his girlfriend, Glenda, know something about staging a party: Their annual spring event attracted roughly 122,00 guests last year.

This despite being bright green and having webbed feet.

The two characters have hosted Rock Hill’s multi-day Come-See-Me festival for decades; Glen has been its mascot since 1963.

The couple will be back April 14-23. Close to 80 festival and concurrent events will be held in Rock Hill, ranging from fine art exhibits to pop music to athletics.

The inspiration and epicenter of Come-See-Me is Glencairn Gardens; Come-See-Me began as a way to showcase the azaleas, dogwoods and other plants there that bloom this time of year.

You can figure out how Glen got his name ... but how did a frog get the job?

Nebraska-born cartoonist Vernon Grant, who made his name in the 1930s and ’40s as a book, magazine and commercial illustrator – married a woman from Rock Hill and settled in the area, raising cattle and grapes on a 670-acre farm. His biggest claim to fame was creating Snap, Crackle and Pop, the iconic cartoon trio that promoted Kellogg’s Rice Krispies for decades on cereal boxes and in TV ads.

Grant (1902-1990) became active in Rock Hill civic organizations and government; the frogs are his creations.

Thursday, the Museum of York County, on Mount Gallant Road, opens “Vernon Grant’s Leap Into Spring,” an exhibit that displays a collection of his work and points up his role in launching Come-See-Me. Other artists’ exhibitions will also be opening around Rock Hill.

At 6:30 p.m., a downtown parade that features Glen and Glenda kicks off the 10-day fest.

Other noteworthy events?

From 5:30 to 10 p.m. April 15 – Friday – at the City Hall Plaza, there’s a beach music concert by The Extraordinaires. The Mayor’s Frog Jump will begin at 10 the following morning at Cherry Park. (Bring your own amphibian or borrow one of the frogs there.) The park is also the site of the daylong music and food-vendor Gourmet Gardens event. Early on Saturday: a half-marathon, 5K and a fun run at South Pointe High School.

The first weekend wraps up April 17 with the Historic White Home and Garden Tour and a free 4 p.m. performance at Winthrop University’s Byrnes Auditorium by the university’s Wind Symphony. Check the online schedule for more things to see, do and hear.

April 15-18, Johnson Studio Theatre at Winthrop University is staging a one-act play festival.

Activities are scheduled through the workweek and pick up steam again April 22 for the Moonlight Jazz & Blues concert, 6-10 p.m. at Winthrop Lake – where the Anything But Butts barbecue cook-off will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Highlights on April 23 – a Saturday – include a car show, a tailgate party and a 10 a.m. bed race on East Main Street. The race is a fundraiser where teams push and steer beds-on-wheels toward the finish line.

Participants will be wearing mandatory “pajamas,” not frog suits.

John Bordsen: 704-358-5251

Want to go?

Rock Hill is about 30 minutes south of uptown Charlotte, via I-77. Some Come-See-Me events require paid admission; others are free. Details/schedule: www.comeseeme.org.

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