As the "number one tourist destination in America", Charleston embraces its lofty claim to fame by providing an endless summer of things to do. Its sun-drenched beaches, beautiful parks, historic landmarks, and hospitable communities are its pride and joy. From the heart of its Old City Market to all points of its surrounding Lowcountry, it is a multifaceted topography jam packed with interesting tours, yearly festivals, tasty cuisine, fashionable shopping, rooftop bars, and an active nightlife to fill your days and evenings.
From Charleston's expansive catalog of things to do, I have picked five events you will want to do before July arrives.
Spoleto Festival Finale
Internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival, the 17-day Spoleto Festival is a celebration dedicated to showcasing and honoring the artists and performers while providing high caliber entertainment from beginning to end for all its patrons.
Beautiful, historic Middleton Place Plantation, home of "the oldest gardens in America", is the host and the backdrop for the finale. The setting is unmatched, the music is entertaining, and the fireworks at the close are spectacular. This is one of my top must-do events.
The 3rd Annual Beer Garden begins at 3:30 p.m. with local craft beers, gourmet picnic fare, and music from the best local and regional bands--4:15pm - 5:00pm Johnny Delaware, and 5:15pm - 6:00pm Steven Fiore. At dusk, the attention turns toward the main stage performance featuring the Alabama-based seven-piece soul band, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, at 8:30pm.
Patrons are welcome to bring their own chairs, blankets, and picnics; food and beverage will also be available for purchase until 7:30pm. Adult Advance ($35.00), Senior ($31.50), Military ($31.50), Child ($15.00). Video of fireworks from 2014. Purchase tickets.
Party at the Point
Charleston Harbor Resort on Patriots Point hosts this beach party every Friday from April to July. You can kick off whatever foot wear you are wearing and sink your toes into its soft, cool sand while listening to the tunes of local bands--one of the top ten on my list of things to do.
Connected to the beach, a long walking pier provides you with a great view of the whole harbor while its balmy breezes wash over you with a splash of salt water scent. It is the only beach in Charleston where you can drink a brew.
The schedule--Seven Handle Circus with The Kenny George Band - May 29th, Banana Pancakes - June 5th, Sol Driven Train with Jordan Igoe June 12th, Reggae Night with The Dubplates - June 19th, and Season Finale with The Dave Matthews Tribute Band - June 26th. Party begins at 5:30pm with a cover charge of $7. More pictures.
Party in the Park
With a stunning view of the Ravenel Bridge towering over the pier at beautiful Memorial Waterfront Park, the Party in the Park offers free music concerts featuring national country music recording artists every Tuesday evening in June at 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The Firefly red pick-up truck is always a welcome sight for me. I always enjoy Firefly's Sweet Tea Vodkas and Moonshine mixes.
The complete lineup: JUNE 2ND--Dan and Shay, JUNE 9TH--Kelsea Ballerini and John King, JUNE 16TH--Canaan Smith and Mo Pitney, JUNE 23RD--Chase Bryant and Craig Wayne Boyd, JUNE 30TH--Kristian Bush and Mickey Guyton.
It is highly recommended you park offsite and hop on a Lowcountry Loop Trolley for a free ride. No coolers allowed; food and beverage are available for purchase.
Wednesday Wine Stroll
The weather and the setting were perfect. There was but a whisper of a breeze playing on the long branches of the old oaks. The fading sun cast a tranquil shade of pleasant over the beautified gardens. The numerous reflective ponds, alive with the chatter of its amphibious residents, were one with the surroundings. Their mirror like surfaces disturbed only by the watchful eyes of the long-toothed reptiles common to these Lowcountry waters.
Beyond the gated ruins and overlooking the Ashley, the four strategically placed tables were elegantly set, two bottles of vino on each, servers in place. Friends, relatives, acquaintances, and couples with cups in hand soaked in the ambiance and engaged in light conversation as they walked from table to table and strolled the numerous intertwined paths of the plantation landscape. All this is courtesy of Middleton Place and its Wednesday Wine Stroll--More pictures. Purchase tickets.
The final stroll is May 27th beginning at 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Record Smashing Tea Party
The annual celebration of National Iced Tea Day occurs on June 10th. The day is set aside to celebrate the summer drink that has become one of the most popular ways to quench one's thirst in the United States. As an alternative to carbonated soft drinks, iced tea makes up about 85% of all tea consumed. It can be enjoyed sweetened or unsweetened, but here, in the South, sweetened is infused, and the historical concoction is proudly called sweet tea.
On June 10th, the Birthplace of Sweet Tea is going to celebrate the day by attempting to set a new World Record for the World's Largest Glass of Iced Tea, and you are invited to participate. Summerville will be making from scratch a single 1,400 gallon glass of sweet tea, brewed with local tea leaves from America's only tea grower, the Charleston Tea Plantation, and the brew will be sweetened by Dixie Crystals--the sugar of the south.
An Adjudicator from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to oversee, verify and present the record for the 'World's Largest Iced Tea'. It all takes place at 5:00pm - 8:00pm at the southern end of Hutchinson Square in front of Town Hall.