Five tips for surviving Spoleto Festival | Spoleto Buzz | Charleston City Paper

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Five tips for surviving Spoleto Festival

Your mileage may vary

Posted by Jon Santiago on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Part of enjoying the festival is being ready for the demands it makes — not just on your spiritual being, but also on your physical self. There's still time to prepare. And I'm here for you.

Also, beyond the sheer public service of it all, I have a secondary agenda: if you're having a great time, you will be much more pleasant company for the rest of us.

Each Spoleto festival is unique, but they all share one characteristic: it's a marathon, not a sprint. As someone who once walked 500 miles across Spain, I can offer a few performance-enhancing tips.

Footwear is key. For men and women, if there ever was a time to be "gellin'," this is it. Comfy shoes may sacrifice some of your fashion-forward reputation, but you'll be a much happier camper which will add immensely to your rep as a bon vivant and all round swell companion. Choose wisely.

Note: I'm told that for those whom nature has outfitted with a lovely pair of X chromosomes choosing footwear to complement them may prove daunting. The sum total of my knowledge on this topic comes from a wise, very fashionable woman who once explained to me: "There are walking shoes and there are sitting shoes." Then she sat down.

Stay hydrated. Carrying water with you is a great idea. But stopping along the way for a refreshing beverage creates an opportunity for people-watching, which is as much a part of the Spoleto experience as the official performances. Think of it as street theater that improves with the number of beverages you imbibe.

Pace yourself. It's all about endurance. And noshing. A quick bite from a food truck may be all you need to stay in the game. Wash it all down with a bracing libation and you're back in business.

Take a pedi-cab. The Pavement Gondoliers of Charleston. When all else fails to revive a sagging day, climb aboard. These guys are everywhere and they typically offer both transport and chatty, light entertainment. Sit back, shoot the breeze, marvel at (or studiously ignore) the view. You know what I mean.

Give in to temptation. Variety will keep you going. Explore. Plain old sidewalks not doing it for you? We've got cobblestones in the French Quarter. Overheated? Take a break at Waterfront Park. Need an edge when deconstructing that last show with all your clever friends? Pick up some pirate paraphernalia in one of those shops along the Market and proceed to impress them with your "aaargh"-uments. (Sorry. Sorry. I will never give in to that particular temptation again.)

Spoleto vets! Have any tips to share? Weigh in with your comments. We're in this together.

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