Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spoleto Festival Showcases The Best Of Charleston-Plus A Block Party

Charleston, and its surrounding locales, have endured a persistent, ongoing northern invasion of a sort over recent years, perplexing locals and straining the infrastructure. Some locals had become so perplexed by the incursion, comparing it to the "War of Northern Aggression", they created a web site called GoBackToOhio.com, but must have finally accepted the unavoidable fact we are not just happy tourists, but here to stay. The website has fallen into near olivian as a result.

After lounging around the pool this past weekend, talking to fellow residents, it's apparent the incursion includes not just Ohioans, but also Pennsylvanians, Michiganers and New Yorkers. The common thread that binds us together as a group is the sheer fact we love the Charleston area.

Take myself for an example. I vacationed here for a few years before deciding to make the difficult move. Where I am from, fondly referred to as "The Northcoast", there are beaches on which to cool your heels, but also plenty of the white stuff during the off season. Hacking ice off your car on a daily basis can become an exasperating routine and unless you have experienced frostbite you can't appreciate what I am talking about when it comes to stinging pain.

None the less, snow wasn't the deciding factor in the move, I just like the sun more. The sun shines in the Lowcountry twice as much, presenting greater opportunity for outdoor activity throughout the year. Activity like boating, fishing, swimming, and golf. Charleston is a city rich with the kind of history I enjoy, reminiscent of a more genteel and eloquent time. It is also centrally located between Myrtle Beach to the north, Hilton Head to the south, and Florida not far beyond with all the amenities it has to offer. Charleston, for an added bonus, is also a cruise port.

I do miss the broadway shows at Cleveland Playhouse Square, fellow crazy fans in the Dawg Pound of Cleveland Browns Stadium, and living not too far from "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World", Cedar Point. But it is typical of life, you sacrifice some things to attain others. But the sacrifice is small.

When it comes to theater, Charleston abounds with a variety, even carrying the distinction of being home to the first theater building designed solely for theatrical performances in America, the Dock Street Theater. Charleston was even selected above all other cities in the U.S. to be the sister city of Spoleto, Italy and host to the American version of the Spoleto Festival, which is in progess as I write. And why was it selected? Its organizers saw in Charleston the same charm charateristic of Spoleto, Italy, and for its wealth of theaters, churches, and other performance spaces needed to host the operas, plays, dance, and music ranging from classical to jazz.

Charleston is artsy and a photographer's paradise. It also has a healthy nightlife. This Saturday, June 4, you can join in the fun for free. The Piccolo Spoleto Block Party: The Summer Frenzy! will take place at Marion Square, Calhoun St. & King St. A night full of music, dancing, and good eats. Entertainment ranges from local bands battling it out, dance performances by Dancefx and Mufuka Works Dance Company and a DJ mixin’ up tunes from the 60’s to today’s hottest hits. Possibly and painfully, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers might just come up in the mix. Its a long shot, but stranger things have happened. And if need be, you can down a drink to make it more tolerable. Its all in the name of fun. Time is 7pm to 11pm.

After the party is over, you can go to the Market Pavilion Hotel's rooftop bar for a night cap and enjoy the breeze coming off the bay.

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