River Rocks

“The fourth annual River Rocks Festival featuring live music, paddling opportunities on the Columbia Canal, environmental education, family friendly activities, food and beverages. All proceeds benefit Congaree Riverkeeper.”


My legs itched a little, a greensward engraving being pressed into the backs of them. My daughter was flung across me like a wet washcloth that had been wrung out and left to dry underneath the sizzling “famously hot” sun. Damp and droopy.

We shaded ourselves in an angled square patch made by a white truck next to the stage.

We came for the music and the bounce house.

STAGBRIAR (Columbia, SC)

Local Columbia band, Stagbriar, play the second spot.  They play to a small crowd.  This is some of the finest music in Columbia.

Latecomers missed out. I would have paid the ticket price just to see them.












Our people arrive with sunhats and sunscreen just as Stagbriar closes their set. We toss a quilt across the lawn to make our camp and plant ourselves at the riverbank.

Then we start to wilt. The sun blazes hotter.

A basket of chicken wings is offered to the girl, who likes the “chicken with the bones in it;” her mutinous stand against my feeble attempts to vegetarianize her from birth.


 SIRIUS.B (Asheville, NC)

Self-proclaimed stylists of Absurdist Gypsy Folk Funk Punk get the crowd dancing.  A tall dredded man in swim trunks tosses a boy in the air.










My husband and daughter pulsate with superpowers derived from the same solar rays that have practically paralyzed me and my son. Slack-jawed and quivery, we absorb every particle of ice and lemonade nearby.


 A mound of shaved ice swimming in a cup full of sugary syrup and a ride along the canal in an Adventure Carolina kayak can really get a kid hula hooping!


Harrier Hawk, The Center for Birds of Prey

It is a sad surrender to leave as Ben Miller Band takes the stage with their beards and their washtub bass. There is no way we can torture the boy further. We take turns carrying him to the car.

A group of girls walk over the canal bridge toward us in their prom dresses of orchid, teal and tangerine. Their silk skirts swirl or are held up, attended by an entourage of friends and family. Bands of rhinestones and beading glint from their waists and hair. A rhythmic wooden echo is made on the boards by their formal shoe heels as they head toward the big red door that marks one of the popular shooting locations in the city. Kayakers navigate the currents beneath the bridge as the girls sail above, coiffed, cool and good-smelling like the inside of a mall store. I suppose they are posing for prom pictures.

I realize how sweaty I am and the boy gets sick by the shrubs.

Next time, I’m bringing a bag full of personal AC!


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