Charleston festival houses gardens

Charleston’s Favorite Springtime Festivals

Charleston is gearing up for a busy spring filled with food, fashion, flowers. Plus, world-class tennis stars converge on Daniel Island while thousands tackle the annual Cooper Bridge Run. Put one of these great upcoming events on your calendar:

Charleston Wine + Food

Photo by Andrew Cebulka courtesy of Charleston Wine + Food

March 2-6 Charleston Wine + Food Festival – Food lovers won’t want to miss this annual celebration of culinary excellence. Enjoy the flavors of Charleston’s culinary scene and renowned culture at numerous events featuring outstanding chefs from around the country as well as pastry chefs, authors, beverage professionals and food writers. The cornerstone of Charleston Wine + Food is the three-day Culinary Village at Marion Square with tastings, demos, author signings and more. Debuting in 2016 is The Hub, an open-air tasting experience that replaces what has been known as the Grand Tasting Tent. The event also benefits scholarship programs for the culinary and hospitality workplace. | 843-727-9998

March 11-12 Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival – This festival brings together some of the best national and local storytellers with performances that reminisce about the carefree days of childhood, showcase humorous slice of life moments and transport audiences to significant times in history. Events are at Wragg Square, 324 Meeting St. in downtown Charleston (near Marion Square). For a complete schedule:

March 15-19 Charleston Fashion Week – Showcasing emerging designer and model talent across the East Coast, this annual event has become one of the premier fashion weeks in North America. Pack the tents in Marion Square in the heart of Charleston for runway shows, bridal shoes, interactive entertainment, parties and the Emerging Designer Competition: East and more. | 843-971-9811

March 16-April 24 69th annual Festival of Houses and Gardens – Explore the city’s historic district in a series of tours showcasing Charleston’s distinctive architecture, history, gardens and culture. A number of special events are also part of this springtime event, including morning history walks, Circa 1886 Wine Tastings, Mimosas at Middleton Place and Harbor of History Boat Cruises. The Food for Thought Luncheon Lectures includes lunch and a brief guided walk or experience related to the day’s topic. There are also several musical concerts that allow visitors to experience period music in historic settings. | 843-722-3405

Flowertown Festival

Photo/Summerville YMCA

April 1-3 Flowertown Festival – The Town of Summerville celebrates spring with this annual festival, ranked one of the top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. Stroll through downtown and Azalea Park to catch a colorful show of pink azaleas, purple wisteria and white dogwood all in full bloom. The festival features more than 200 jury-selected artists and their wares, food from local restaurants, rides and activities for children and more. Free admission. | 843-871-9622

April 2 Cooper River Bridge Run – Thousands of runners and walkers make their way across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge spanning the Cooper River for one of the largest 10K races in the world. In addition, the event includes an expo and events that further its mission of a healthy lifestyle. | 843-856-1949

Cooper River Bridge Run

Photo/Cooper River Bridge Run

April 2-10 Volvo Car Open – The Volvo Car Open (formerly Family Circle Cup) is the largest women’s only tennis tournament in the world. Among the players at the Daniel Island tournament are Sloane Stephens, Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams, Belinda Bencic, Lucie Safarova, Madison Keys and Andrea Petkovic. | 800-677-2293

April 8-10 World Grits Festival – Small town St. George welcomes visitors to enjoy all things grits. Get ready to eat grits, buy grits, learn how grits are made and even dive into a vat of grits for the Grits Rolling Contest. It all started in 1985 when the manager of a Piggly Wiggly supermarket in St. George was placing his order for grits. The broker said it seemed like St. George – with a population of 2,000 at the time – consumed a lot of grits. Shortly after another broker made a similar remark. Turns out, St. George residents did indeed eat more grits per capita than any other place in the world. So the World Grits Festival was born in April 1986.