11 Lowcountry Events You Don't Want to Miss this Year

From outdoor festivals, culinary celebrations, charity runs and artistic showcases, there’s no shortage of activities in Charleston. Those lucky enough to call Charleston home get to choose from some of the world’s best events all year long.
These are 11 festivals and special events you should put on your calendar – whether it’s your first time or your tenth, you’ll enjoy the fresh perspective and festive vibe of these activities:

1. Southeastern Wildlife Exposition: Feb. 16-18

This annual event showcases the best of wildlife, nature and art. Sportsmen and conservationists, artists and artisans, fans and families converge on the city for fine art exhibits, conservation education, sporting demonstrations and parties.

2. Charleston Wine + Food Festival: Feb. 28 to March 4

Now in its 13th year, the Charleston Wine + Food is a celebration of the city’s incredible culinary excellence. Fueled by a contagious passion for the people and places that make Charleston worth celebrating, the annual festival infuses homegrown flavor with top chefs, winemakers, authors, storytellers, artisans, and food enthusiasts from around the globe.

3. Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens: March 15 to April 21

This annual event provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to peek behind the garden gates and piazza doors of the peninsula’s most vaunted private residences, exceptional dwellings rarely viewed by the public.

4. Cooper River Bridge Run: April 7

The third-largest 10k in the United States, this race draws some 40,000 participants. With a goal of promoting physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, this annual race includes a Health & Wellness Expo on April 5-6, and proceeds support several health and wellness-related charities around the Charleston area.

5. North Charleston Arts Fest: May 2-6

Soak up the creativity and talents of more than 100 national, regional and local artists and performers in the areas of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, crafts, photography, media arts and literature. All events are free or modestly priced, making them accessible to everyone.

6. Spoleto Festival USA: May 25 to June 10

One of America's major performing arts festivals, visitors from around the globe come to Charleston for 17 days of events showcasing both established and emerging artists in more than 150 performances of opera, dance, theater, classical music and jazz.

7. Volvo Car Open: March 31 to April 8 

Each spring, some of the world’s best tennis players come to Charleston for the largest women's only tennis tournament in the world. The Volvo Car Open is a full festival with plenty of activities and family events along with some incredible world-class tennis.

8. Flowertown Festival: April 6-8

The Town of Summerville is awash in colorful azaleas, making it the perfect time to experience this annual festival. One of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast, the Flowertown Festival features more than 200 artists, food from local restaurants, children’s activities and much more – plus free admission and parking.

9. Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival: April 29

One of the most highly anticipated events of the year, this festival pays tribute to Mount Pleasant's local shrimping and fishing industry. Activities include a boat parade, live music, craft show and plenty of free activities – all with the majestic Ravenel Bridge as the backdrop.

10. Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch: October 

Usher in the fall season this annual festival perfect for families. Find your way through the corn maze, take a hayride and enjoy a playground, rock climbing wall and sand pit play area. Before you leave, pick your own pumpkin perfect for carving.

11. Holiday Festival of Lights: Nov. 9 to Jan. 1, 2019

Nov. 9 to Jan. 1, 2019 – This annual event at James Island County Park is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Drive through more than 700 displays and 2 million lights at this widely recognized holiday event. More than just lights, this celebration features a magnificent sand sculpture, train rides, a gift shop, visits with Santa and treats from Santa’s Sweet Shoppe.
Find even more must-do Charleston area events on the Explore Charleston online calendar.