A Grand Entrance of ‘Silver Bullets’
‘Streamin’ on the Harbor’ event set for March 6-8
The classic silver-bullet design of the Airstream travel trailer has served as a symbol of the “American adventure” since 1931, when Wally Byam founded the Airstream company.
Georgetown citizens and visitors will soon have a rare opportunity to experience 45 Airstreams making a grand entrance down Front Street and parking throughout the city’s Historic District during the “Streamin’ on the Harbor” event March 6-8. People will also have the chance to tour these iconic mobile living spaces, from vintage to new models, during their stay.
This second annual event has been made possible through a partnership between the City of Georgetown, the Georgetown Business Association, the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Coastal Airstream Club, a chapter of Airstream Club International. Henry Knight, a member of SC Coastal Airstream Club and coordinator for the event, said he and the other Airstream owners, known as Airstreamers, are excited to share their passion for these unique travel trailers.
“I love the Airstream because with its aerodynamic shape, it is one of the best towing trailers in the world,” Knight said. “After my wife and I bought our first Airstream and joined Airstream Club International, we quickly found that we had a family. We have friends all over the U.S. and in Canada.”
The Streamin’ on the Harbor event will officially start at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 6, with about 45 Airstreams cruising through the Historic District, from East Bay Park, down Front Street and ending at Dozier Street. The public is invited to welcome them. The Airstreams will park on Broad, Orange, Front and King streets.
There will be a Mayor’s Welcome on Friday at 6 p.m. at Francis Marion Park (Front and Broad streets). John’s RV of Lexington will also have a new Airstream on display In Francis Marion Park Friday afternoon and Saturday. All of the Airstreamers will have an “Open House” on Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
The SC Coastal Airstream Club will also make a donation to Miss Ruby’s Kids, which will help local children with early literacy. The presentation will be after the Mayor’s Welcome on Friday. Airstreamers will depart on Sunday morning by noon.
Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber said he is looking forward to seeing the 45 Airstreams make their entrance on Front Street Friday morning.
“I think they are pretty cool,” Barber said. “I call them silver bullets. They really stand out when you see them on the highway and I can’t wait to see the caravan rolling into town.”
He added that he has heard a lot of positive feedback from businesses about last year’s event, which included about 30 Airstreams.
“It is really a great marketing tool for the City of Georgetown, particularly the downtown area,” Barber said. “The influx of revenue they bring into our businesses in the core district are considerable.”
Knight said he is looking forward to being part of the “grand entrance cruise through” on Front Street that Friday morning.
“Last year, we felt so welcomed by Georgetown,” he said. “People came out of their homes and businesses to welcome us. It was a great way to kick off the event in a positive manner.”
Andy Friedman, who served as the GBA president last year, said the event is an exciting one for everyone involved. He agreed that last year’s event had a positive economic impact for the area.
“We estimated that the Airstreamers participating in the event spent about $15,000, in addition to money spent by others during the event,” Friedman said. “The event is free, so people don’t have to spend a dime. We didn’t know what to expect last year, but once they were here, we saw they were a mature crowd that was willing to spend money.”
Jack McManus, the current president of the GBA, said this event is perfect for promoting Georgetown, a quaint small American town.
“I think this is a great collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce, the GBA and the City working together to bring a unique Americana event to Georgetown,” McManus said. “What a great way for people of all ages to come enjoy the Airstreams and explore downtown. Everyone can also eat and shop while they are here and make a full day of it.”
Beth Stedman, president and CEO of the Chamber, said she would like to personally welcome the Airstreamers to Georgetown County, South Carolina’s Hammock Coast.
“It has been our pleasure to work with Henry Knight, Mayor Barber and the Georgetown Business Association to promote this wonderful event on the Hammock Coast,” Stedman said. “After a great first year, we are anticipating another memorable Streamin’ event!”
Knight said Airstream Club International is the largest and oldest single-brand RV club in the world with 16,000 members and 125 chapters in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He added that each of the Airstream clubs hold events and usually donate to a local charity. For the past two years, the SC Coastal Airstream Club decided to donate funds to Miss Ruby’s Kids, an early literacy program in Georgetown County.
“We are big fans of their mission, to promote literacy in young children,” Knight said. “It is a worthwhile charity that supports folks in Georgetown and Georgetown County.”
Lisa Haas, director of operations for Miss Ruby’s Kids, said it is an honor that the Airstream club chose them for a donation the last two years. She said the money will be added to their general fund and most of it will be used for home visits, in which mentors work with families to improve early literacy skills of their 2- and 3-year-old children.
“(The Airstreamers) are a nice group of people and we are proud to have them come to Georgetown and support us,” Haas said. “I have had an Airstream myself and I love their vintage shape. It evokes a feeling of comfort and home to me.”
In 1951, Wally Byam and a group of brave adventurers formed the first Airstream Caravan, according to the official Airstream website. Their trip through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua was a rugged tour of some of the most remote terrain in Central America. Today, that tradition is continued with caravans across the country and the continent, in the spirit of Airstream’s motto, which in part is “… to open a whole world of new experiences…a new dimension in enjoyment where travel, adventure and good fellowship are your constant companions.”
“I look at it as an adventure,” Knight said of the caravans. “To quote Wally Byam, founder of Airstream, ‘Adventure is where you find it, anyplace, every place except at home in the rocking chair.’”
For more information about Airstream Club International, visit www.airstreamclub.org. For more information about Miss Ruby’s Kids, visit www.missrubyskids.net.