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Charleston Festivals and Events by Month


Charleston’s year-round mild climate makes it the perfect spot for festivals and outdoor events. It’s also a southern culinary epicenter, so you might notice that many of the festivals on this list are food-related. Whether you’re into food, sports, music or the arts, there’s plenty to do in the Holy City nearly any time of year.

January Festivals

Charleston’s summers can be hot and steamy, but its winters are often mild. This is why some of South Carolina’s best festivals are in January, February and March.

Taste of Folly

Most visitors and locals head to Folly for the beach. But in January (when it isn’t exactly swimsuit season), there’s still a great reason to visit this pristine strip of sand.

The Taste of Folly food festival sets up shop here for one week each year. That’s seven days packed full of some of the best food in Charleston. Events include a chili cook-off and oyster shucking and hot dog eating contests. Fans can even cheer on their favorites in the Server Olympics.

February Festivals

The weather starts warming up a little in Charleston during February — and so do the events.

Southeastern Wildlife Expedition

Some people just aren’t into food. (We don’t really get it either, but hey — it happens.) If you’re more into nature than nurturing your belly, join the thousands of visitors that come down to Charleston for the Southeastern Wildlife Expedition.

This three-day event is all about conservation and education (and of course, getting up close and personal with wildlife). Exhibits include art exhibitions, sporting demonstrations and conservation education events.

Lowcountry Oyster Festival

Charleston is known for three things: it’s architecture, history and food. (OK, its beaches run a close fourth).

We can at least celebrate the food part at the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the largest oyster festival in the world! At the beginning of each year, some of the Holy City’s most celebrated chefs get together to serve some of their iconic oyster dishes. Of course, there will be an abundance of freshly shucked raw oysters on the half shell too — and if you’re a serious oyster eater, you can sign  up for the oyster shucking contest!

March Festivals

Charleston Wine and Food Festival

Back to the food and drinks! March comes in like a lion and goes out with a perfectly seared rack of lamb in Charleston. Taking place at Riverfront Park each year, this festival showcases the best of the food and drink industry in South Carolina. Attendees can expect to attend three meals a day, featuring signature dishes and plenty of vino. Enjoy a wide variety of vendors and music while eating and drinking your way through the city.

The Charleston Show

If you’re a collector, passionate about antiques — or just a fan of fine art and design, you’ll want to head to the Charleston Festival Hall for one of the biggest antique events in South Carolina. Here, you’ll see furnishings from England, Europe and America as well as vintage jewelry and silver.

Charleston Open

One of the biggest annual events in Charleston is the Charleston Open. This women’s tennis event is the oldest professional women’s tournament, and it is a WTA Tier I event. The first champion was Rosemary Casals in 1973. Billie Jean King won in 1977.

April Festivals

High Water Festival

The High Water Festival bills itself as, “A celebration of music, food and libations.” Sounds just awful, right?

When it comes to food, there’s plenty of authentic experiences to be had here. Some of the food events include a family-style dinner, a lowcountry boil, handcrafted cocktails and snacks along the way.

Musical guests have included the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jenny Lewis, Phosphorescent, Leon Bridges, and Hozier.

Jazz Festival

New Orleans may be known as the jazz capital of the South — but that doesn’t mean that Charleston doesn’t know how to tickle the ivories and hit all the right notes too.

The Charleston Jazz Festival brings music lovers from around the world to celebrate the city’s vibrant music culture and enjoy music from some of the best jazz artists in the world.

May Festivals

Spoleto Festival

This 17-day music festival features artists from a wide variety of genres, including chamber, symphonic, choral, opera and jazz music. They also feature also live theater and dance.

The festival’s mission is to, “present programs of the highest artistic caliber while maintaining a dedication to young artists, a commitment to all forms of the performing arts, a passion for contemporary innovation and an enthusiasm for providing unusual performance opportunities for established artists.”

September Festivals

MOJA Arts Festival

The MOJA Arts Festival is a multicultural festival that focuses on dance, health, literature, music, heritage, theater and the visual arts. Did you catch all that? It focuses on African-American and Caribbean art and has remained one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events” for several years.

October Festivals

Fall Tours of Homes & Gardens

Have you ever walked by a beautiful Charleston home and wished you could just peek inside?

During the fall homes and gardens tour in October, you’ll get to tour several homes and gardens — without worrying about trespassing. Not only will you get to see the interior architecture of these homes, but you’ll also learn about some of the intricate exterior details, such as the ironwork.

December Festivals

Holiday Festival of Lights

Charleston gets decked out for the holidays in November and December. Among many other holiday activities, the Holiday Festival of Lights at the James Island County Park is one of the most popular here. In addition to enjoying holiday lights, live music and snacks, you’ll get a chance to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

They even have a kids fun zone so your little ones won’t get bored (or get a glimpse at their Christmas gifts).

No matter what the event, make sure you plan accordingly. While Charleston’s weather is pretty mild all year long, you’ll still want to come to these festivals prepared. For outdoor events, dress comfortably (but don’t forget to dress up a little — this is the South after all!), bring sunscreen and pack a bottle of water.


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