February kicks off festival season in Charleston as visitors flock to the city to experience wildlife and art, food and wine, fashion and flowers. These are some of the must-do events this winter and early spring.
Jan. 25: 32st annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival – Join in the world’s largest oyster festival at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. This event has been named one of the “top 20 events in the Southeast” by the Southeastern Tourism Society. Highlights include the oyster shucking and oyster eating contests as well as live music, wine, a selection of domestic and imported beers, a children’s area and a food court showcasing a variety of local restaurants. A portion of the proceeds benefit local charities.
Feb. 13-15: Southeastern Wildlife Exposition – Conservationists and nature enthusiasts come from all over the country for this three-day celebration of art, animal demonstrations, environmental education and culinary events. New this year is a program with Richard Wiese, host of “Born to Explore with Richard Wiese,” an Emmy Award-winning travel and adventure program on ABC. Wiese has circled the globe and will share his stories at the Charleston Music Hall. Annual favorites include the retriever demos, birds of prey flight demonstrations and the high-flying DockDogs event at Brittlebank Park. Events are at Marion Square, Brittlebank Park, Belmond at Charleston Place and various other venues.
March 4-8: BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival – Celebrate 10 years of this foodie festival in 2015. 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 event also benefits scholarship programs for the culinary and hospitality workplace. The festival has been praised as one of the top five food and wine festivals in the U.S. by Forbes Traveler.
March 17-21: 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, the Emerging Designer Competition and more.
March 19-April 19: 68th annual Spring 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 Series 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.
March 27-29: 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 thorugh 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.
March 28: 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.