Top 10 Charleston Events and Festivals
The Lowcountry Oyster Festival is the world’s largest oyster festival and has been named one of the “top 20 events in the southeast” by the Southeastern Tourism Society. Highlights include the legendary “Oyster Shucking” and “Oyster Eating” Contests, live music on the main stage, wine, a selection of domestic and imported beers, a Children’s Area and a “Food Court” showcasing a variety of local favorite restaurants to satisfy everyone’s taste.
The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) is a three-day celebration of wildlife and nature through fine art, conservation education, sporting demonstrations, food, drink and the people who honor them all. The largest event of its kind in the US, SEWE makes its home in Charleston, South Carolina and plays host to hundreds of artists and exhibitors, plus experts in wildlife and nature art – all eager to share their art and insights with more than 40,000 attendees.
The Charleston Wine + Food Festival®, a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a celebration of Charleston’s culinary excellence and renowned culture, which benefits scholarship programs for the culinary and hospitality workplace.
Showcasing emerging designer and model talent across the East Coast, Baker Motor Company Charleston Fashion Week® has fast become one of the premier fashion weeks in North America since its founding in 2007. Held March 17-21st, 2015 under the tents in Marion Square in Charleston, SC, this five-night celebration will feature more than 35 runway shows, the Emerging Designer Competition: East, the Spring Bridal Show, and the Rock the Runway Model Competition™. Accredited with launching the careers of numerous up-and-coming fashion designers and models, this true multimedia event presents high-end runway shows, interactive entertainment, chic after-parties, and press events. Charitable partners for 2014 are still being finalized, but previous partners have included Center For Women, Lowcountry AIDS Services, and MUSC Childrens Hospital.
The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. The Cooper River Bridge Run includes world-class competition in a unique setting with unparalleled participant satisfaction. It broadens community cooperation and participation in healthy events throughout the year. The Cooper River Bridge Run serves as a model of health motivation for other communities throughout the world.
The Family Circle Cup is the largest women’s only tennis tournament in the world, and Family Circle Magazine is the longest-running title sponsor of a sporting event in the United States, as well as in all of professional tennis, worldwide. Every April, Charleston welcomes close to 100,000 spectators and more than 70 world-class, women athletes to participate in the excitement of the Family Circle Cup. Records are broken and memories are made as extraordinary tennis stars take Stadium Court to compete for the coveted Cup. The event not only offers world-class tennis, but also hosts a wide-variety of other activities throughout the week long tournament.
Late May to Early June
Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of Spoleto Festival USA, its parent festival, and its 700 events in 17 days transform Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts. Piccolo Spoleto’s traditional program offerings include visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theater, poetry readings, children’s activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts and film.
Late September to early October
The MOJA Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary festival produced and directed by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the MOJA Planning Committee, community arts and cultural group and the MOJA Advisory Board, a group of civic leaders who assist with fundraising and advocacy. MOJA, a Swahili word meaning “One,” is the appropriate name for this festival celebration of harmony amongst all people in our community. The Festival highlights the many African-American and Caribbean contributions to western and world cultures. MOJA’s wide range of events includes visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theater, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much, much more. In addition to its myriad arts presentations, MOJA also includes an active and busy educational outreach component of workshops in the public schools and senior outreach in senior citizen homes.
The beauty and historic charm of Charleston come alive in October as friends of the Preservation Society of Charleston welcome you into the private interiors of some of the nation’s most exquisite homes. Guests experience firsthand the rich history of Southern culture, architecture, traditions and hospitality on Charleston's Fall Tour of Homes. Discover the secrets of these magnificent residences and the people who have lived in them for centuries. Discover why visitors from all over the world are still drawn to this special place today.
Different properties are featured each day, so whether you wish to learn about great periods in early American history or simply want to enjoy the gracious Charleston lifestyle, these tours will let you experience all the beauty and charm of historic Charleston.
Proceeds from the fall tours support the Society’s mission to preserve the unique history and architecture of Charleston.
The Charleston International Film Festival (CIFF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created in 2007 to bring people together from all walks of life through the art and science of film-making. This unique visual entertainment art has the power to touch lives and stimulate our emotions and mind like no other. Through the festival, the non-profit educates and promotes a healthy exchange of fresh ideas and a greater cross-cultural awareness and social understanding with the intention to personally inspire others within our community and around the world to new possibilities.