Super Saturday: 44 years of children’s entertainment in Tryon
Published 12:22 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Annual event returns this weekend
TRYON – The 44th annual Super Saturday will take place on March 18, 2023, in downtown Tryon, and includes the best in children’s theater and entertainment. World-class acts perform in indoor venues, with entertainment continuing all day on the street as well as on the Community Stage. The midday parade is an event not to be missed by children of any age!
Super Saturday is produced annually by the Children’s Theater Festival, an all-volunteer organization in Tryon, with the purpose of enriching the lives of children and their families by introducing, promoting, and encouraging the lively arts in the communities centered in and around Polk County.
“As a child, I attended Super Saturday, and have many fond memories of the amazing performers I witnessed throughout the years,” says current board chair, Jessica Greve. “As a mother, I introduced Super Saturday to my children and watched as their eyes filled with delight as they experienced live theater for the first time. I am honored to help continue the tradition started in 1979 by so many legends in our community. Thank you to all of our sponsors, board members, and community members that support this wonderful organization and continue to make this a magical day.”
In 1978, a group came together to discuss children’s theater and the possibilities that were out there: Joe Wray, Emmie Mackay, Lee Mueller, Mary Ann Claud, Sunny Grenfell, Gus Hoffman, Ann McCown, Franklin and Sadie McKaig, Jim Moore, Clara Rogers, Ed Ryerson, Jack Wheaton, Geoff and Alice Tennant, Ann Stubbs, Helen McBirney, and Jane Dalton.
“There was an absence of cultural activities for children in Polk County, nothing programmed specifically for children, and we wanted to provide that, not only chances for kids to perform themselves, but also to see really good theater,” said the late Joe Wray, one of the original founders of the event, according to the festival’s website.
Super Saturday began on March 10, 1979, and has occurred every year since then except in 2020 (virtually in 2021).
“I learned about Super Saturday from all those capable souls who came before me, but I think we all shared that love of kids and this special day specifically for them, and I am still in awe of all the folks who made it happen over the years,” says former board chair Amber Keeran. “It’s hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t know about it. No one can ever believe it is such a tremendous event with world-class entertainment in this little town, put on by a troop of volunteers who love it”
In the first festival’s program, General Chairman Emmie Mackay wrote, “May Children’s Theater Festival become one of our community’s finest traditions.” It certainly has, and each year, the Children’s Theater Festival carries on this now-rich tradition.
This year’s Super Saturday features nine outstanding performers, including the Grammy-winning hip-hop musical group The Secret Agency, theater productions by the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Porkchop Productions, and mountain heritage storyteller Johnny Fowler. The shows will take place in five venues in and around downtown Tryon and thanks to many generous sponsors, tickets are only $2 per show to make it affordable for local families. There is also free entertainment throughout the day along Melrose Avenue, such as giant bubbles, balloon twisting, paper cutting art, caricature artists, a magician, and local organizations set up with crafts and activities.
For more information, visit tryonsupersaturday.com.