Friday, May 24, 2013

Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals Showcase Charleston's Charisma and Charm-Pick Your Event

It's Spoleto time in historic Charleston. Charleston showcases its charisma. The Spoleto Festival and its complement, Piccolo Spoleto, begins May 24th. The Spoleto Festival is patterned after a yearly festival held in Spoleto, Italy called the Festival of Two Worlds.

Charleston was chosen by the festival's founders as the perfect counterpart of Spoleto because it mirrors the classic charm of Spoleto as well as its wealth of preserved architecture, intimate theaters, natural beauty, churches and other charming performances spaces. Although compact in size compared to other U.S. cities, Charleston's closeness allows for the entire city to be submerged into the festivities, yet it is cosmopolitan enough to provide an enthusiastic audience.

The main difference between the two festivals-Spoleto concentrates on international artists where Piccolo Spoleto concentrates on artists of the Southeast. Other standout features of Piccolo Spoleto-It provides access to the festival for every person, especially children and half of its events are admission-free. Some examples of free outdoor concerts include the Sunset Serenade concert behind the U.S. Custom House featuring the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Children’s Festival, the Memorial Day Concert, and the Piccolo Spoleto Finale at Hampton Park.

A favorite of mine is the Piccolo Spoleto’s Sand Sculpting Competition. You can enjoy the natural beauty of one of Charleston's barrier island beaches and express your appreciation for art.

At times, I have been known to dig around in the sand to see what my imagination could come up with. Once, while vacationing on  Estero island, I conjured up a sand sculpture of a man buried in the sand. An older couple passing by asked me if I sculpted for a living and thought I worked for the resort. Come and try your hand for the fun of it or just come on down and see what creative minds and talented hands can do with the shaping and sculpting of sand. Isle of Palms, Front Beach is the place. June 1 from 9am-12noon is the time. Admission is free. Hopefully the rain stays away.

Two Spoleto events I have been eyeing are Rosanne Cash at the TD Arena at College of Charleston June 2 at 7:30pm and The Red Stick Ramblers at Middleton Place, June 9 at 8:30pm. Rosanne Cash's music career has spanned three decades. She has a sound that blurs the lines between country, rock, roots, and pop. Eleven number one singles, a Grammy and nominations for twelve more, and three books including the bestselling Composed are among her achievements. Recently, her endeavors have turned toward the South, her ancestry and the people. The finale at Middleton Place features the Red Stick Ramblers known for their unique hybrid of Cajun, honky-tonk, and swing. Enjoy craft beer at the Finale Beer Garden located at the Pavilion and sample the food. A spectacular post-concert fireworks display will bring the Festival to its traditional celebratory close.

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