Flowertown Festival in Bloom

March 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

April 6 to 8 is Coming Soon!

Fifty-Year YMCA Veteran Jan Parsons Shares Her Goodwill Perspective

“Flowertown & the YMCA are Summerville,” says Timmi-Jo Pashuta, a resident of Summerville, former teacher at YMCA and current CHG social media marketing specialist.

The Flowertown Festival was founded in 1972 to support health and wellness programs at the Summerville YMCA. The celebrated three-day weekend, recognized by Southeast Tourism as one of the top 20 events in 2016, will take place on April 6 to April 8 this year. Summerville, known for its beautiful old homes, sweet tea and abundant azalea, dogwood and wisteria blooms, celebrates The Flowertown Festival in style on Main Street and Azalea Park hosting restaurant vendors at The Taste, Children’s Jubilee/Kids Fest, and a Farmer’s Market on Saturday and Sunday.

Jan Parsons, Vice President of Health & Wellness at the Summerville Family YMCA, has been with the facility since 1988 and working for the YMCA for fifty years. The veteran, who will be stepping down from her full-time job to a part-time capacity this November, is a big believer in The YMCA and especially The Summerville Family YMCA, which she describes as a “non-profit, family organization with Christian-based principles and 14,000 members.”

“It’s our biggest fund-raiser of the year, by far and we expect it to bring in anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 for the YMCA this year. The money goes into our budget for scholarships, financial assistance and membership fees. Last year, we gave away $300,000 towards these types of causes. However, The Flowertown Festival also benefits greater Summerville and the community with the vendor booths and both civic and business profits. It’s just so much fun to see the community coming out to see and enjoy everything,” says Parsons.

For more information about the event, visit http://summervilleymca.org/flowertown-festival/and be sure to come visit Toast of Summerville’s booth where they will be serving breakfast all day: shrimp & grits and biscuit sandwiches.


Do You Know Charles Stark/Ava Clear?

March 7, 2018 § Leave a comment


Star Drag Queen Performer at Tabbuli

A Preview of Things to Come in this month’s issue of Charleston Digest, published and distributed March 9. We loved talking with Ava!

Charles Stark has been performing as a drag queen for fourteen years, since he was twenty years old. As an openly gay child he was often bullied in school, which left him shy and insecure. “Performing changed my life. I found an acceptance in the community when I started performing. I have made some of my best friends in fellow performers and found inspiration in the shared creativity within a cast. Performing with such varied people has pushed me to make myself the best I can be,” says Stark.

He describes Ava Clear, his drag alter ego as “a firecracker with the face of a goddess and the mouth of a sailor.” Though he previously performed locally at Club Pantheon, he joined The Tabbuli drag team in November 2016. “When I walked into Tabbuli, I was amazed at the unique atmosphere. I have performed all over and never worked in an outdoor venue. With the lights, the palm trees and the lighting and sound set up by DJDJ, I feel like I’m transported to Miami every time I perform there. Being outdoors also has its own set of particular challenges, and I’m always up for a challenge.”

In addition to a challenge, Stark is drawn to performing in general because of the control and attention it affords his Ava persona. “When onstage, you control the audience. You can truly change a person’s attitude. If someone is having a bad day, they can come to the show and forget about things for a while and just have fun. Plus, it is a high when you walk onto a stage and receive applause from hundreds of people.”

When he’s not performing, Star works as a full-time flight attendant. He loves the travel and adventure and has visited Europe, Australia, all over the Caribbean and Bahamas and the United States. Of all the cities he’s visited, Paris (which he describes as “magical”) is his favorite. He also hosts other drag events and monthly Bingo games. “I enjoy the hosting vs. performing. It lets me work on different skill sets,” explains Stark.

You can catch Ava Clear and some other members of Tabbuli’s talented drag queen team on Tabboo Tuesday drag shows hosted every Tuesday evening from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.  Tabbuli also hosts a Drag Brunch on the third Sunday and special drag events. For more information visit tabbuli.com or on Facebook at Tabbuli Grill.


Charles Stark in drag as Ava Clear is a popular performer at Tabbuli’s Tabboo Tuesday’s and Sunday Brunch drag shows.

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