By Bailey Laskowski
The holidays are right around the corner, which means tons of amazing events here in the Charleston area. Make the most of the fall season with our tips for what to eat, drink, do and see this month. Join us in our holiday countdown and prepare for the many exciting adventures to come this month.
Good times, good food, good cause! With live music and all-you-can-eat barbecue and oysters, the Friends of the Hunley fundraiser has become one of the best annual events in Charleston. The event also features a popular silent auction, filled with weekend getaways, Lowcountry arts, gift certificates and more.
The Harvest Festival at Johns Island County Park is perhaps known best for its foot-stompin’ showcase of Charleston’s own bluegrass talent. Five bluegrass bands will perform throughout the day: Blue Plantation, YeeHaw Junction, Southern Flavor Bluegrass, Marshgrass Mamas and Boss Hawg. No Harvest Festival is complete without a feast! Dine on Southern barbecue, roasted and boiled peanuts, kettle korn, and traditional favorite festival fare, plus cold beverages. After feasting and dancing, festival-goers are invited to stop by the crafters’ market to get a jump on holiday shopping.
The 8th annual Party for the Parks is a celebration of Charleston’s parks and the don’t miss party of the year! Come party in the streets with the Charleston Parks Conservancy and enjoy 70’s beats by DJ Moo Moo, foxy entertainment, open bars, cocktail stations, street-fair food provided by local restaurants, dancing, and park-lovers having a great time for a great cause! All proceeds from Party for the Parks benefit the work of the Charleston Parks Conservancy in more than 25 Charleston City parks.
The harvest is over at Deep Water Vineyard on Wadmalaw Island, so it’s time to celebrate. A huge part of that process is asking a priest to come and bless the property, vines and business – and everyone is invited. Enjoy cornhole, football on the big screen, face painting, slushies for the kiddos, wine-a-ritas for the big kiddos, and, if the weather cooperates, hot mulled wine and hot cocoa.
No other food combines love, comfort and Southern roots like mac and cheese. Enjoy a favorite cheesy event: Charleston Mac Off on Nov. 4 at The Grove at Patriots Point. This year’s festival will feature 20 mac and cheese restaurants, a free Kids Zone, live music, beer, wine, cocktails and a kitchen demo space, The Mac Kitchen, with free programs and food demonstrations.
Find some pants with an elastic waistband for the launch of Charleston Burger Week 2017. From Nov. 8-14, sample some of the best burgers the Holy City has to offer as part of a citywide celebration. We’ll give big love to burgers in every part of town from Sullivan’s to Summerville. Grass-fed, bison, black bean, and everything in between, this is a meaty celebration you won’t want to miss.
Each year, thousands of families create lasting memories at the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. Journey through 3 miles of over 700 magical light displays of all shapes and sizes. Park your car and enjoy family activities, shopping, food, entertainment and more.
Looking for even more holiday fun? Check out our list of the top 15 holiday events around the Charleston area.
This fall, join Garden & Gun magazine for the ninth annual farm-to-table field experience benefiting Lowcountry Local First. Guests and families are invited to spend an afternoon enjoying Charleston food, drink, and live music on the beautiful Kiawah River, all for a good cause. This year, the James Beard Award-winning team of FIG and the Ordinary come together with Limehouse Produce and Edmund’s Oast to create an exceptional food and drink experience, enhanced by the musical talent of Gaslight Street.
Head to the Plantation at the Stono Ferry Racetrack on Nov. 12 for five horse races and big hats. Be sure to check out the Vendor Village for shopping and food trucks. Gates open at 9 a.m.
Holy City Hospitality, one of Charleston’s largest locally-owned hospitality groups, is hosting Taste of Hutson Alley on Nov. 9. The celebration will take place under the lights of the historic alleyway with chef-attended stations from six restaurants, a bourbon bar, Freehouse Brewery and live music provided by The Midnight City Trio.
The sixth annual Smoke on the Harbor BBQ Throwdown returns for two days of top-notch wing and barbeque competition, a large vendor village and plenty of entertainment. This culinary event – sanctioned by The Kansas City Barbeque Society – is set for Nov. 10-11 at the Lookout Pavilion at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina. The Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina will also host a food drive benefiting East Cooper Meals on Wheels. Patrons are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to receive $5 off the $10 admission.
Served among the ancient Live Oaks of Middleton Place in the Pavilion and under a graceful sailcloth tent, Thanksgiving at Middleton Place promises to be a wonderful gathering for families who are invited to stroll “America’s oldest landscaped gardens” before and after dinner. Make plans to spend Thanksgiving Day at Middleton Place with a traditional buffet meal by the Middleton Place Restaurant.
Restaurants You Have to Try
Check out this brand new Italian restaurant on Upper King that everyone is raving about. Melfi’s has brought an authentic pizza and pasta menu to Downtown Charleston with a relaxed yet modern atmosphere. The intimate dining room is cozy and welcoming for tourists and locals wanting to try something new. The fresh and savory tastes will have you singing ‘That’s Amore’ the whole way home.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar is nestled in a 19th-century cigar factory along Charleston’s Cooper River on East Bay Street. The ambiance is spectacular, but the food is what keeps bringing people back. Try the shrimp & grits or stuff yourself on selections from the oyster bar. Selections change daily, so you just have to visit again and again.
Places to Grab a Drink
Pour Taproom, 560 King St.
Imagine a beer and wine festival shrunk down into one room – that’s Pour Taproom. One of the most unique drinking spots in Charleston, you only pay by the ounce. Just open a tab and you’re free to taste 70 of the most unique craft beers, wines and cocktails in Charleston. Located on the ninth floor of Historic District Hyatt, it is the tallest rooftop bar in Charleston.
The Gin Joint, 182 East Bay St.
The Gin Joint is a local favorite. Tucked off East Bay Street, there’s no shortage of booze here. Pick from their seasonal drink menu or if you’re feeling lucky, order the “bartender’s choice.” Not only are the cocktails aesthetically pleasing, but they are absolutely delicious.
Plan Ahead for the Holidays
A visit to Charleston is the perfect time to do some holiday shopping for friends and family. Choose from specialty food items, arts and crafts, jewelry and other items completely unique to Charleston. We’ve selected a few favorites for our Holiday Gift Guide we think would make great presents. And be sure to pick up a little something for yourself!