Top 10 Things Every Newberrian Should do this Winter

This winter our top 10 list is heavily influenced by history and the arts as Newberry finds itself celebrating a very special moment in our downtown with the arrival of the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, renewed celebrations surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day, classic shows at the Ritz Theater, and the 5th year of the South Carolina Clay Conference hosted by the Newberry Arts Center. Here are our 10 favorite ideas for things to do this winter, some of which will only happen once, so mark your calendars!
1. Smithsonian Museum on Main Street
In December the Newberry Opera House welcomed the Smithsonian to their lobby! Crossroads: Change in Rural America is an interactive Smithsonian created installation that is currently on display. The exhibit highlights the history of rural America, its story, and what’s to come for these classic American communities, including Newberry! The exhibit closes February 2nd. Viewing is free and open to the public. For details on this event visit
Downtown's Main Street with Exhibit Logo and Sponsor Logos
2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Celebrations
All are welcome to a weekend celebrating the legacy of American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., and remembering the work that continues to advance civil rights. The weekend begins on Saturday, January 19 at a special brunch and networking event at Community Hall. Sunday celebrations will continue with a parade on Main Street in downtown Newberry at 3pm. The weekend of activities will conclude on Monday, January 21, with a day of remembrance that begins with a morning march at 9:30. Marchers will travel across downtown from Miller Chapel AME to Bethlehem Baptist Church on College Street. The march will be followed by a 10am program featuring the Reverend Freddie Wicker, Jr., a Newberry native. For more information, to purchase tickets for the brunch, or for your free application to participate in the parade please contact Travis Reeder at 803-597-9217. This event is organized in part by the Newberry Champions.

Collage of images from past MLK day events in Downtown Newberry
3. Communal Pen Workshop
The SC Arts Commission is coming to Newberry to host a special and free writing workshop as a part of the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, Crossroads: Change in Rural America, now on display at the Newberry Opera House. The workshop, “Communal Pen: A Writing Workshop Celebrating Memories, Stories, and Traditions of Place” invites attendees of all ages to bring a photo or object that has special meaning to be used during the writing exercise. The event takes place on Saturday, January 19 at 10 am at the Newberry Arts Center in downtown Newberry. The event is free; however, pre-registration is required. Visit or call 803-271-2477.
Collage image from the Newberry Opera House of Newberry "stories"
4. Newberry Passport and Tom Poland Author Talk
In addition to the writing workshop and other special events surrounding the Crossroads exhibit in the Opera House Lobby, the Opera House will host southern author Tom Poland for two talks on Tuesday, January 22. The 11am event titled “Lost Traditions of the South” will give listeners a glimpse into the world of the author of 14 books and over 2,000 magazine pieces. Tom’s writings about the South focus on people, culture, land, and the natural wealth that lives in this region. The final talk at 7pm will be a discussion of his most recent book “SC Backroads” followed by a book signing. The day will be punctuated by the release of the Newberry County Passport, a community produced guide that highlights the many Arts, Recreation, and Historic Tourism features throughout the county. For details on this event visit
Collage image of Tom Poland and Cover of Newberry County Passport
5. Visit First Fridays in Downtown Newberry!
The Newberry Downtown Development Association has started a NEW initiative! #NEWberry: Newberry Empowering Women is a program to recognize the women leaders and entrepreneurs in town. As part of the program all are invited to attend First Fridays to network and socialize and for a chance to get to know some of the women owned businesses in downtown. Their next event is scheduled for February 1 starting at 5:45pm at the newly opened Handcrafted Artisan Emporium where shop owner Kayla Sansom will teach guests how to make bath bombs and Wendy Forgetta of Your CBD Store will give a short presentation. Wine and snacks will be served. There is a small fee to participate in the bath bomb activity, but all other activities are free and open to the public.
First Fridays Logo
6. Healthy Chili Cook-Off
Kick off your New Year right by celebrating “Healthy Living and Giving” at the annual Healthy Chili Cook-Off in downtown Newberry on February 2nd. This community event in Memorial Park features aerobics, healthy tips, blood drive with the Blood Connection, and of course the People’s Choice Healthy Chili Competition! The event is free to attend, however to sample chili visitors will be asked to make a $5 donation to the Souper Bowl of Caring, that in turn goes to a local food bank. Visitors who give blood via the Blood Connection at the event will be given chili samples for free as a thank you for their donation. Tasters will also be given 1 ticket for each voting category; Best Booth Decoration, Most Original, and Best Overall. At the end of the event the votes will be tallied to award trophies and cash prizes to the winners. The event is from 11am to 1:30pm, however voting ends at 1pm. Applications to compete are open now and filling fast! Competitor’s chili must meet the basic requirements of at least four types of vegetables and three bean varieties. If the competitor is making a meat chili the meat must be at least 90% lean. Call 803-321-1015 for details.
Image of Chili Cook-Off Trophies with Souper Bowl Donation Bucket
7. South Carolina Clay Conference Special Presentation
Celebrating its 5th year, the South Carolina Clay Conference (SC Clay Con) hosted by the Newberry Arts Center, is excited to partner with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum to bring acclaimed cultural researcher and ceramic artist Winnie Owens-Hart to Newberry for a special presentation on the history of clay work. The presentation, A Mark In Time will examine how humans from ancient times to today have been marking clay to create narrative surfaces that are integral in the cultural evolution of the art form. The free open to the public event will take place on Thursday, February 21 at 7pm at the Newberry Opera House. For details visit
Winnie Owens-Hart working in studio
SC Clay Con collage image of logo and five 2019 conference presenters.
8. SC Clay Con Pottery Sale
The SC Clay Con Pottery Sale & Exhibit is returning to the Newberry Arts Center. Featuring the work of presenters and attendees of the conference, the collection is one of the largest in the state with the most diverse cast of presenters hosted to date. In addition to the work of Matt Jones, the conference exhibit will also host works and images by acclaimed African American potter Winnie Owens-Hart, African American potter Kevin Snipes, Catawba potter Keith Brown, and Catawba Chief Bill Harris. Keith Brown will also be demonstrating traditional Catawba pottery at various times during the sale. The Arts Center has also partnered with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum to bring archival images of works by Dave the Potter, an American potter and slave who lived in Edgefield, SC. The sale offers something for everyone; casual shopping for a one-of-a-kind mug to sculptural works of art. Don’t miss it, Friday February 22 and Saturday, February 23 from 10am to 6pm at the Newberry Arts Center (803-597-1125).
9. Arsenic and Old Lace
In a season that continues to be filled with fan favorite plays, the Newberry Community Players are bringing Arsenic and Old Lace to life this February. The exaggerated black comedy focuses on Mortimer Brewster, a bachelor wishing to marry his love and neighbor Elaine but debating the possibility of the marriage as his family is filled with homicidal maniacs. Follow Mortimer as he deals with his aunts who poison, a brother who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and an additional brother who is a serial murder with an alcoholic accomplice and plastic surgeon. Showings are February 22 through 24. For tickets and details visit
Arsenic and Old Lace Stage Play Logo
10. Newberry Irish Fling
The Newberry Irish Fling has been a part of downtown Newberry’s line up of events for nearly 20 years, and this year visitors can expect to experience great Irish Food and Drink Specials, live entertainment, and the family friendly leprechaun scavenger hunt once more. The event takes place on Friday, March 15 (the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day) throughout downtown. This year the Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt will challenge festival goers’ knowledge of downtown trivia and a few lucky winners will receive prizes from various downtown businesses. Several restaurants and bars will provide festive food and drinks and live music in addition to the new Irish Fling Music Stage at Community Hall featuring live entertainment. More details to come on this event! Visit
Collage of images of people enjoying past Irish Fling events
These are only 10 ideas for things to do this winter around town, but there are many more activities happening! For information about these events and other events happening in the City of Newberry this winter visit
Mary Alex Kopp
Tourism & Events Manager
City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism