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Simpsonville will light up the holiday season again on Saturday evening, but the celebration will be a bit different this year.
The most noticeable change may be the addition of a 3-minute fireworks show to supplement throwing of the power switch at Fred Wiche Gazebo in Simpsonville City Park. The festivities begin at about 6 p.m., with the boom scheduled for about 6:20.
In fact, the Simpsonville City Commission had to pass a waiver to its own fireworks ordinance, which limits shooting off fireworks to July 4th celebrations.
Parks Director Chris Truelock asked for the wavier because he said he thought the fireworks would add a special touch. The Simpsonville Fire Department will handle the detonation.
The next biggest change comes later in the old gymnasium, where the cooking for the free community chili supper will be handled by the culinary arts students at Collins High School.
For most of the past decade, City Clerk Debbie Batliner had done the cooking, stoking up pots all over city hall on Friday before the event as she prepared to feed more than a thousand.
This year, though, Batliner was able to take vacation, ending a tradition.
The chili came to be part of the celebration in 2003, when Batliner started a chili cook-off. “We had some entries, but I cooked chili to make sure we had enough, and it has grown and grown,” she said.
Employees from Whitney M. Young Job Corps center provided the chili for a while, she said, but three or four years ago there was an emergency and the chef no longer was available. “I started back doing it,” she said.
Batliner stepped down from that role, but Truelock said the several types of chili and bean soup would be available. City officials again will serve the free meal.
Light Up Simpsonville
WHAT: Community holiday lighting
WHEN: 6 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Simpsonville Community Center
FESTIVITIES: Tree lighting, fireworks, chili supper, other stuff for kids