BUZZ-O-METER ‌ Family Fare 

Reggae Block Dance
Charleston Farmers Market
Spoleto Festival USA 2007 Opening Ceremonies
Seed & Feed Marching Abominables
Sister City Jazz Block Party: A Tale of Two Cities
Children’s Festival: Tell Me A Story
Sand Sculpting Competition
Piccolo Spoleto Finale: A Big Fat Middle Eastern Wedding Celebration
Spoleto Festival USA Finale

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Reggae Block Dance

WHAT IS IT? The perennial free-for-all behind the Custom House where you can get your groove on, mon. This year Pato Banton headlines the event with neo-reggae calypso band Dis n Dat from Boston opening the show. WHY SEE IT? This event represents the soul of Piccolo’s mission — accessible, diverse, and community-building, because what brings a town together better than a massive reggae-fueled dance-off. WHO SHOULD GO? Bring everyone from grandma to the kids, just don’t bring your cooler, ’cause there will be food from Wild Wing and beer from Pearlstine available for purchase. BUZZ: One of the best free events of the year. If you’ve never been, this is the time to go. (Stephanie Barna)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • May 26, 7-11 p.m. • US Custom House, Concord & Market streets • 724-7305

 

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Charleston Farmers Market

WHAT IS IT? Marion Square becomes a marketplace filled with produce, plants, pastries, food, and beverages, along with arts and crafts from local artisans, musical performances, and children’s events. WHY SEE IT? The market goods are terrific, but the tents full of arts and crafts will have you wandering the square for hours, and you might even take something home. WHO SHOULD GO? Locals and tourists alike will enjoy the opportunity to take a look at all the market has to offer. BUZZ: The weekly staple gets even bigger and better during the festival with an outdoor art exhibition, the Children’s Festival, and the Seed & Feed Marching Abominables adding to the festivities along the way. (Greg Hambrick)
Piccolo Spoleto • Free • May 25-27, June 1-3, and June 8-9 Fridays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Marion Square, King and Calhoun streets • 724-7305

 

 

 

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Spoleto Festival USA 2007 Opening Ceremonies

WHAT IS IT? The official public kickoff of the Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto festivals. WHY SEE IT? Every year, organizers like to bring a little spectacle to the official opening of the 17-day arts festivals with a big public ceremony on Broad Street, complete with prattling politicos, dishing dignitaries, bloviating board members, and a number of other speakers, not all of whom are so easy to alliterate. There’s also usually an international opera star to sing the national anthem, a short performance from one of Spoleto’s more colorful artists, balloons, giant puppets, and the chance to hear Mayor Riley speak Italian. WHO SHOULD GO? Historically, the opening ceremony — taking place at high noon — is something of a strategic street ballet, in which hundreds of people jockey for the few small patches of shade. Parking’s brutal, and the Mayor, bless him, says pretty much the same thing every year (Spoleto’s artists inspire Charleston to strive for excellence rather than mediocrity, etc.) But it’s a pleasantly ritualistic way to ring in our city’s biggest annual event, and there’s often a surprise in the program. BUZZ: Last year’s opening included the premiere of a strange short work from composer Philip Glass (also appearing in this year’s fest) called the Car-illon Fanfare in which a dozen tricked-out BMWs looped around each other in front of the crowd while harpsichord music played from them. At least it made people stop thinking about the heat. (Patrick Sharbaugh)
Spoleto Festival USA & Piccolo Spoleto • Free • 1 hour • May 25 at noon • City Hall, corner of Meeting and Broad streets

 

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Seed & Feed Marching Abominables

WHAT IS IT? Atlanta’s wacky marching band has made a tradition of coming to Piccolo every year, spending Memorial Day weekend playing music, marching in parades, and generally partying down. They start on Saturday morning with a children’s parade in Marion Square. Then, at midnight on Saturday, they take over the Market for a pajama party. On Sunday morning, they gather on the steps of the Custom House for one last sustained hurrah. WHY SEE IT? The Seed & Feed Marching Abominables are all about good vibes and big fun. You can’t help but have a big smile plastered across your face when these band geeks parade by. WHO SHOULD GO? Everybody can enjoy the Seed & Feed. BUZZ: We think one of the main reasons they come back every year is to shop at Granny’s Goodies, where they all stock up on colorful accessories and clothes for their wacky get-ups. (Stephanie Barna)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • Children’s Parade: May 26, 11:30 a.m.-noon • Marion Square, King and calhoun streets • Pajama Party: May 26, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. • The Market • Patriotic Concert: May 27, 12-1 p.m. • U.S. Custom House, concord and market streets • 724-7305

 

 

 

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Sister City Jazz Block Party: A Tale of Two Cities

WHAT IS IT? In a tribute to the rebirth of New Orleans Jazz since Hurricane Katrina, the Charleston Jazz Initiative and Fotos for Humanity host jazz standard-bearers from Charleston and New Orleans. WHY SEE IT? It’s a high-energy block party with the best musicians of both cities in individual performances, followed by an unforgettable combined performance. WHO SHOULD GO? Music lovers looking for the events that highlight unique Southern sounds. BUZZ: A one-of-a-kind experience jazz lovers won’t want to miss. (Greg Hambrick)
Piccolo Spoleto • FREE • June 2, 7-10 p.m. • U.S. Custom House, Concord and Market streets • 724-7305

 

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Children’s Festival: Tell Me A Story

WHAT IS IT? The Children’s Festival takes over Marion Square each year with a line-up of events catering to Charleston’s future arts patrons. It’s called cultivating an audience. This year, the kid fest coincides with the Stories for Life event, and some of the finest storytellers in the country will regale festival-goers with tantalizing tall tales. There’ll also be music, dance performances, and live theatre to keep the kids entertained when the Seed & Feed Marching Abominables aren’t stealing everyone’s attention. WHY SEE IT? You can be a part of Spoleto without spending any dough or sitting in a darkened theatre for hours on end. WHO SHOULD GO? Children, obviously, and their keepers. BUZZ: The storytelling festival adds a lot to this yearly event that tends to be a bunch of tents with lame arts and crafts projects inside each of them. (Stephanie Barna)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • May 26, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. • Marion Square, King and Calhoun Streets• Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St. • St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall , 405 King St. • 724-7305

 

 

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Sand Sculpting Competition

WHAT IS IT? Piccolo offers up an artistic competition that throws out the paint and brushes for buckets and shovels. WHY SEE IT? Never made a sand castle that looked like anything other than an upside-down bucket of sand? Here’s the chance to see folks work the magic you always dreamed of. WHO SHOULD GO? Anybody who likes the feel of sand in their feet (and their hands), and those who like to see other people do the dirty work. BUZZ: It’s a bit of fun that gets you off the peninsula. (Greg Hambrick)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • May 26 from 9 a.m. to noon. • Isle of Palms, Front Beach. • 724-7305

 

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Piccolo Spoleto Finale: A Big Fat Middle Eastern Wedding Celebration

WHAT IS IT? A no-holds barred celebration of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music, dance, food, and crafts — everything from Klezmer (a festive style of music, with instrumentation evocative of the human voice, from wedding and other celebratory traditions of Judaism) to traditional Greek and Lebanese dance. WHY SEE IT? This is the grand finale, a big party at the end that ties it all together, and there will be oodles of good food, music, dance, and fun. Plus, Hampton Park has a long tradition of playing host to fun in the late afternoon sun. WHO SHOULD GO? The whole family can attend this one, and why not? There is literally something for everyone in a no-holds barred jamboree like this. It’s not only fun for the kids, it’s educational — like watching the Travel Channel, only without that annoying screen in the way. BUZZ: Should be one very cool celebration. Look for hot air balloon rides alongside the song and dance, and fireworks over the lagoon as a grand finale. (Jason A. Zwiker)
PICCOLO SPOLETO • Free • June 9, 4-10 p.m. • Hampton Park, 30 Mary Murray Blvd.• 724-7305

 

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Spoleto Festival USA Finale

WHAT: A jovial celebration of the end of the 17-day festival, complete with picnic spread contests, a concert by the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and fireworks! WHY: It’s the end of Spoleto, meaning that the performers still in town are ready to cut loose, and their joie de vivre bleeds into everyone surrounding them. WHO: Everyone — families, friends, Spoleto patrons, even those who can’t afford to splurge on a ticket to a Spoleto play or concert should scrape together the money to party at the plantation. BUZZ: Even if it rains, the final night of Spoleto is always the hottest. Anyone who’s anyone will be there, sipping on sangria and munching on fried chicken or petit fours. (Sara Miller)
SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA • $32/advance, $35/day of event, $17/children 12 and under • June 10 at 8:30 p.m. • Middleton Place, 4290 Ashley River Road • 579-3100


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