Next Friday there will be quite a bit to celebrate. (Hopefully, it won't be because you just got out of the pokey.) Not only is the weekend starting, but it will also be the Fourth of July, a celebration of America's original lawbreakers. (Treason, I mean, revolution, ain't legal, you know.) If such a concurrence doesn't call for a party, we're not sure what does. Fortunately, the City of Mt. Pleasant and Patriots Point are way ahead of us. Together they have planned and are prepared to host a huge bash — the 12th Annual Patriots Point Fourth of July Blast.
There is nothing more American than free stuff, food, and fireworks. The Patriots Point Fourth of July Blast provides all three in supersized quantities, just the way we like it.
"I always try to plan something I would want to attend, and if I do, I figure others will, too," says Laura Langston, executive assistant at Patriots Point.
Undoubtedly, Langston has succeeded.
The Blast, which The New York Times considers one of the best Independence Day events in the nation, kicks off at 4 p.m. and will keep kickin' until midnight. Parking and admission are totally free (no fine print here). All food and drink — barbecue, pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, soda pop, and beer — will be under five bucks. Five dollars will also get you an all-access pass to the Patriots Point ships, the Medal of Honor Museum, and the Vietnam Support Base.
And for the knee-high kiddies, the Blast features a 10-ride Kidzone which includes that old state fair favorite, the potato sack slide. Almost all rides are free.
Music will be another bright spot in Friday night's Blast. Sideswiped, the Carolina Entertainment Complex's house band, will start jamming at 5 p.m., and they should be pretty all right — they recently opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The East Coast Party Band will hit the stage after them, delivering old soul, R&B, and beach music favorites before and immediately after the fireworks display. Fireworks will be launched from the deck of the USS Yorktown starting at 10 p.m. —Meaghan Strickland
Patriots Point 4th of July Blast
Fri. July 4
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
40 Patriots Point Road
Fourth of July at Kiawah
Ben Franklin himself is your host at this all-day affair that kicks off with a parade and ends with, you guessed it, a blowout fireworks finale. The only thing more spectacular than that would be a thunderstorm kite demonstration by Poor Richard himself. That would be downright electric.
Fri. July 4
Kiawah Resort, Kiawah Island
The American Revolution Comes to Middleton Place
When it comes to the reenactment biz, you have to feel a little bit sorry for Revolutionary War reenactors. Their Civil War counterparts are always getting the press. On second thought, that may be a good thing, you know considering that the War for American Independence was about, you know, freedom, and the Civil War was about, well, not. Speaking of Revolutionary War re-enactors, on the July 4th weekend they'll be all over Middleton Place. There will be cooking and camp life demonstrations, and military tactical demonstrations thanks to the guys in the Second S.C. Regiment, plus a host of other activities.
Fri. July 4-Sun. July 6
Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
$25/adults, $5/children 7-15
4300 Ashley River Road
OK, so all that patriotic stuff ain't your cup of American Classic Tea. You want to rock. And by rock, you mean, kind of flail your arms about and twirl like you're an epileptic belly dancer. If that's the case, then there's a good chance you're headed to the Dave Matthews Band concert Fri. July 4 at The Joe. The Brick on East Bay is throwing a bash in honor of the DMB and for all his fans, with music all day and night from the likes of Nathan & Jared, Dangermuffin, and Almost Steve. The Brick will offer complimentary shuttle service to and from The Joe before and after the show.
Fri. July 4
12 p.m.-2 a.m.
213-B E. Bay St.
North Charleston's July 4th Celebration
Sometimes it seems like North Chuck can't get any love. And that's a crying shame. Park Circle is one of the coolest spots in the Lowcountry — a multi-cultural home to hipsters, bohemians, greenies, seniors, young families, and, well, anybody that likes a little bit of small town life. And on July 4, North Charleston will show the folks downtown that they too know how to throw a bash. The Fourth of July celebration will feature performances by The Drifters and the Marshall Tucker Band, as well as fun activities for the kiddies. And the whole thing ends with a grand fireworks display over the Cooper River.
Fri. July 4
Fourth of July at Harbor Grille
The folks at Harbor Grille know that not everybody wants to listen to John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" when they watch the fireworks go da-da-da-boom. Some folks would rather listen to Marley and Tosh and Toots. Which is why they're throwing a bash on Friday night with live reggae music, first come-first served on the patio, with grilled tapas and cold beverages inside. Reservations required for dinner.
Fri. July 4
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Harbor Grille
360 Concord St.
Fourth of July CelebratI'On
Everybody loves a parade. Of course, that depends on what kind of parade it is. A Christmas parade? Sure. A Klan march? Yeah, not so much. Speaking of parades, I'On kicks off its Fourth of July festivities with one at 9:30 a.m. starting near the Fountain at Perseverance Park . The parade will be followed at 10 a.m. with patriotic activities and simple refreshments. Later that day, from 6-9 p.m., there will be a free concert by Heart and Soul (classic rock, Motown, beach music, etc.) at the Westlake Amphitheater.
Fri. July 4
Mathis Ferry Road
Fourth of July Celebration at the S.C. Aquarium
The folks at the S.C. Aquarium are courteous people. See, when they throw a Fourth of July bash, they know it would be downright rude to serve fish in front of the fishes. Instead they're serving up tasty vittles from Jim 'N Nicks — pulled pork, baked chicken, potato salad, and more — and dessert by Cupcake. They will have live music throughout the shindig, and attendees will be in a grand ole spot to watch the fireworks display at Patriots Point. Limited seating is available and guests are encouraged to reserve a space early. Tickets include beer, refreshments, and food.
Fri. July 4
100 Aquarium Wharf
Red, White, and Blue on the Green
For the fine folks who commute into town from Summerville, you're in luck — there's a nice 4th of July celebration in your neck of the woods, one that's decidedly family friendly. The parade features kids on bikes, in wagons, on rollerblades, in strollers — all decked out for America. It's like May Day festivities in Red Square but with jump castles, live music, and food vendors, and not all that Communist Party mumbo jumbo. All proceeds benefit Historic Downtown Summerville. Oh, and there's fireworks at 9 p.m. at Gahagan Sports Complex. Take that, Pootie Poot.
Fri. July 4
Sizzling Southern Celebration
The folks at Circa 1886 are throwing a 4th of July bash with a distinctively southern flair by setting up a dinner on the lawn of Wentworth Mansion. There will be plenty of yummies right off the grill, a jazz soloist, and a view of the fireworks display over the harbor.
Fri. July 4, 7:30 p.m.
149 Wentworth St.
USA Today calls Gullah culture "one of the five remarkable cultural wonders of the world you should visit before it vanishes." This summer's Third Annual Island Heritage Festival, held in celebration of James Island's Gullah past and present, provides locals and tourists with an opportunity to do just that. And considering that the fest lasts three days, that's three days where you won't be so bored you'll have to resort to mischief to entertain you. Ring and run, anyone?
According to Island Heritage Foundation Executive Director Eleanor Kinlaw-Ross, "The sole purpose of the Island Heritage Festival is to preserve Gullah culture." Kinlaw-Ross sees the festival not just as an opportunity for all to see Gullah culture, but to keep the culture from disappearing. (And quite honestly, it would be a crime if the Gullah culture did go the way of the Tazmanian tiger.)
Ten unique celebrations have been squeezed into the festival's three-day run and all can be described as highlights. This year's festival, for example, includes the world premiere of Cross the Color Line, a play by Kinlaw-Ross that explores the issue of color and its effect within the African American community.
Grits and Gullah, a breakfast celebration held on Folly Beach, is another much anticipated festival event. Seeking to "create a cross-cultural bridge between communities," Kinlaw-Ross finds Folly, a traditionally white area, a particularly exciting place to hold an event. "Now that the boundaries of Folly Beach have extended across the bridge and literally into the backyard of some James Islanders, it is more important now than ever that we develop a cultural connection," she says.
The fest also includes the inauguration of the James Island History Trail, a trail which seeks to commemorate the storied and often untold history of James Island. "The most exciting part of the inauguration," says Kinlaw-Ross, "is that we are bringing back descendants of Native American James Island residents, members of the Wassamasaw and Cusabos tribes." —Meaghan Strickland
Events are to be held at locations throughout Charleston. Some locations include:
• Charleston Progressive Academy 382 Meeting St.
• The Footlight Theatre 20 Queen St.
• Holiday Inn and Suites 1 Center St. Folly Beach
Rice Planters Golf Tournament
HMY-Viking-Megadock Billfishing Tournament
S.C. Festival of Discovery
53rd Annual Beaufort Water Festival
Jammin in July
Pageland Watermelon Festival
Fried Green Tomatoes Festival
S.C. Peanut Party
Original Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival
Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music and Movement Festival
Jubilee Festival of Heritage
The Beach Boogie and BBQ Festival
Darlington's Historic Race Festival
The Southern National Barbecue Championship and Bluegrass Festival