May 23rd-June 8th – Don't miss the My Cousin Rachel, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Rene Marie. They won't disappoint! For more information, check out the website for shows and schedules.
28th Annual Progressive Dinner – Celebrate a beloved holiday tradition for Christmas 2013 with a progressive dining experience. For the 28th consecutive year, Charming Inns and Circa 1886 Restaurant will play host to the “Holiday Progressive Dinner.” During this festive evening, diners journey by carriage through downtown Charleston to dine at three different locations. The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres at the Kings Courtyard Inn, continues on with a three-course dinner at Circa 1886 Restaurant, and winds down at the historic John Rutledge House Inn for coffee and dessert. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. and wraps up at 8:30 p.m. A carriage will transport guests from one location to the next. The cost is $95.00 per person, excluding beverages. View the Progressive Dinner Menu at the website listed. Call to make reservations.
Sweet T. Christmas – This Christmas Believe That Your Greatest Wishes Can Come True … even those you didn't know to wish for. Returning for a second holiday season is the laughingly lovely story of a heavenly stranger, a hapless handyman, a hopeless hostess, a hopping-mad Santa, and their hysterical hunt for the holy grail of wish granting, a winning lottery ticket! The show that sold out last December returns to the Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre November 29 – December 29, 2013.
The Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre 164 Church Street 843.937.6453 www.charlestonmysteries.com
A Christmas Carol at Footlight Players Theater – which will be shown on multiple days throughout the holiday season. This song-infused version tells the classic tale of greed from a new perspective. Miser Ebenezer Scrooge is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who reveal to him his own miserable existence, what opportunities he wasted in his youth, his current cruelties, and the dire fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is faced with his own story of growing bitterness and meanness, and must decide what his own future will hold: death or redemption. This Christmas classic will be performed on the following dates and times: December 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, & 21 at 8:00 p.m. December 8, 15, & 22 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 843.722.4487 or online at www.footlightplayers.net. Ticket prices are $25 adult, $22 senior, $15 student, and $12 children 12 & under.
Little Elves Golf Clinic at Wild Dunes Resort – Treat Santa’s helpers to a round of golf this holiday season! Gather the kids (ages 7-15) for an afternoon of golf instruction at the Links Driving Range at Wild Dunes Resort from 2-3:30 p.m. Thursday, December 26. Cost is $25 per child. Please call the number listed to register. Wild Dunes Resort 4601 Palm Boulevard, Isle of Palms, SC 29451 843.886.2002 http://www.wilddunes.com/
Christmas 1860 at the Edmondston-Alston House – Fridays, December 6 & 13 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | tours given continuously | $20/advance & groups, $25/door Celebrate a Victorian holiday season by candlelight at the Edmondston-Alston House – decorated for the holidays as it would have been in 1860. Costumed interpreters will present dramatic scenes exploring Charleston's last opulent Christmas before the start of the Civil War. Performances are given continuously. Afterwards, visitors can enjoy hot cider and refreshments in the courtyard.
Grand Illumination at Middleton Place – December 19 & 20th – Step back to Christmas, 1782, when Arthur Middleton finally was able to come back home after years of incarceration as a prisoner-of-war during the American Revolution. Stroll through gardens illuminated by torchlight, candlelight and starlight and hear costumed interpreters along the way tell stories of the joyous holiday season when the British evacuated Charleston at the end of the Revolutionary War. See the House seasonally decorated and glowing in candlelight, and on the Greensward, enjoy a warm fire, live music and refreshments. The event concludes with a Southern Buffet dinner. 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., $55/person
2011 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Scottish Games and Highland Gathering in Charleston, to be held September 17th at Boone Hall Plantation. This is no doubt one of the most enjoyable family events in Coastal South Carolina, and features some of the most unusual sporting competitions ever witnessed. There's loads of fun annually on this warm September Saturday, with bagpipes echoing among ancient oak trees of Boone Hall's plantation lawns. The food, costumes, dancing and merrymaking are a grand time unto themselves, but it's the skill of the strong men in their Scottish kilts that makes it all so worthwhile.
The most visually incredible competition is the caber toss, in which massive cypress logs are flung by individual competitors. As long as 22 feet, the caber can weigh hundreds of pounds, and the trick is to hold it cupped in two hands and heave it end over end. Only the most powerful and skilled can do this and brawn is only part of the equation. The stone clacknert is a lump of rock that is heaved similar to a shot put, and it is remarkable how far this massive can be thrown by much more massive performers. A typical Scottish Games competitor weighs in at the 250-300 pound mark, which is necessary in throwing 28 and 56-pound iron weights for distance, and spinning discus-like with arms outstretched to toss the long metal hammer.
The sheaf toss is a throwback to days on the Scottish farms, as competitors spear a heavy mass of hay bale with a pitchfork, and try to throw it over a pole set on supports high above the ground. The pole is set higher and higher until the highest throw wins, then it's a mad dash to the nearest ibuprofen bottle.
There is also a Border Collie Demo competition in which these classic dogs show their skill, and the day is not complete without a dancing of Scottish reels to pipes and drums.
Charleston has a very strong Scottish connection, and those of Scottish descent make up the largest European heritage in the city. More than 35 Scottish clans will be represented in 2011, as the games are a throwback to the days when these families gathered to assert their nationality and independence. The strength competitions date from an era when soldiers were chosen from the strongest and most skilled, and the event has not lost any of its luster in all the centuries since.
The annual Rockville Regatta on Aug. 7-8 will bring thousands of sun-bathing,partying onlookers aboard a flotilla of power boats to watch sailboat races along Bohicket Creek, a far cry from the inaugural event 120 years ago. The first race in 1890 involved a handful of boats, with a small audience of well-dressed ladies and gents observing from shaded banks of the creek.
The 2010 version of the Cooper River Bridge run attracted 38,000 participants to run, shuffle and walk across the massive cable-stay span. Only a few hundred ran back in 1978 when the event was begun, and today it is considered among the most prestigious road races in America, drawing international running stars to compete. For most of its history, the run was made across the 1929 John Grace bridge, which was finally replaced by the present bridge in 2003. The Grace bridge was only built wide enough for two cars(1920's size), which made the old run an often clustrophobic affair over the former twin-cantilevered span. Despite the fact that the Ravenel bridge's eight lanes are more commodious, the ascending grade up to the 150-foot high roadbed above Charleston's harbor channel is longer and steeper, so the callenge is a little greater, and for most, the only reward is a t-shirt or a hat at the end of the run.
The idea of many moving bodies struggling to cross a crammed Charleston bridge actually predates the first bridge run by almost 60 years, although the ending the was very similar. In 1918, cattle being driven across the old swing-span Ashley River bridge stampeded into the city, crashing there way down into the commercial area where a few wandered into garment shops and grazed on flower-laden ladies hats. So it seems the cows and runners both ended their prospective runs with essentially the same prize.
The Historic Charleston Foundation offers a tantalizing look at some of America's finest architecture, interiors and gardens with its 63rd annual FEstival of Houses and Gardens, from March 18 to April 17. This event is especially popular for the rare opportunity to tour Charleston's historic private homes, and the festival will feature dozens of locations in a variety of historic neighborhoods. Exquisite details in woodwork, iron, plaster, brick, and wall coverings dating from the 18th and 19 th centuries will offer fabulous backdrops to mansions brimming with crystal chandeliers, 12-foot ceilings, marble mantels, cypress paneling, and parquet floors. One of the most interesting ingterior styles is the "side-hall" house popular among wealthy Charlestonians in the 1840's and 50's, featuring massive arched doorways between ballrooms that can be opened to make the entire floor en suite.
The formal gardens have long been a major attraction for visitors to Charleston, and with the guidance of foundation docents, people can learn about the varieties of blooming species and their origins. People may be surprised to find out, for example, that our famed camellias, azaleas, and even our Confederate Jasmine come from Asia. Expert gardeners came to Charleston from England and France during the city's historic heyday to plan formal gardens for the enjoyment of downtown residents, and that enjoyment is available for the price of a tour ticket today.
Much of the Spolet mystique is the enjoyment of fabulous venues throughout historic Charleston – offering much more than an auditorium seat. Some of the highlighted hangouts aren't on the official festival schedule, but are vintage Spoleto in character. For example, Charleston Grill offers a special combination of dining and jazz with nightly three-course menu complemented by the music of the Quentin Baxter Trio. The price is $39, the time is 9pm, and the venue is classic oziness in low light and dark paneling. Call (843) 577-4522 for reservations. A number of other outstanding downtown restaurants offer early "Prix-Fixe" specials during the festival for those who don't want to go to evening performances hungry, including Carolina's, McCrady's, Circa 1886, Fish, The Peninsul Grill, and Muse.
Among the after-performance hot spots for cocktails, cordials, and Irish coffee are Rue de Jean, Cypress, and Tristan's, and on warm, breezy nights there are few more enjoyable spots than the outdoor venues at Vickery's and Union Pier, or the enticing rooftop bars at the Library at Vendue Inn and the Market Pavilion.
May is a merry month with the scintillating spectacle of Spoleto. This international arts festival attracts some of the cutting-edge talent from around the world with new offerings and traditional classics in music, art, dance, theater and any number of other performances. An annual favorite is the Chamber Music series at the Dock Street Theater, which has featured such stars as Joshua Bell and Jean Yves Thibedet. There's also an exceitment in attending the outdoor performances in such compelling locations as the Custom House overlooking the harbor, the oak-canopied cistern at the College of Charleston green, and the grand fireworks finale at Middleton Place and its famed terraced garden.