Holiday Festival of Lights
One of the Lowcountry’s most beloved holiday traditions, the 24th annual Holiday Festival of Lights offers viewers the chance to see more than 2 million lights along a 3-mile loop. The festival features hundreds of light-up displays, ranging from a prehistoric cluster of dinosaurs (complete with an erupting volcano) to traditional holiday fare, such as cartwheel-turning gingerbread men and Santa practicing his golf swing. There’s also plenty of Charleston imagery, including St. Michael’s Church, the Morris Island Lighthouse and the 30-foot-tall juxtaposition of the new and old Cooper River bridges. But the fun doesn’t end there. Also available to folks who want to get out of their car and stretch their legs is the Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Village. While there, roast marshmallows, stroll through the Enchanted Forest Walking Trail, enjoy the card display and more.
When: Friday-Dec. 31; 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Where: James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive
Price: $15 per vehicle (up to 15 people), $10 per vehicle Monday-Thursday with the donation of a nonperishable food item or dog/cat food
For more info: 795-4386, www.holidayfestivaloflights.com
Blessing of the Vines Festival
If you’re a fan of wine, then this is an event to consider. Attendees of the 11th annual Blessing of the Vines Festival will get to look on as Father Greg Snyder blesses the muscadine grapevines at Irvin-House Vineyards, then get to imbibe. Tastings from the winery will be offered (five for $5) as will samples from the Firefly Vodka distillery (six for $6 with 24 flavors to choose from). Food will be available for purchase from Stono Cafe, Tomato Shed Cafe, Home Team BBQ, the Dulce Truck and King of Pops, and a shrimp and grits cook-off will take place between the Fat Hen, Rosebank Cafe, Stono Cafe, Seanachi’s and Tomato Shed Cafe, with samples available for $5. The family-friendly event will also have live music by The Jefferson Coker Band, pony rides, hula-hoops and face painting for the kids. Coolers are not allowed but dogs on leashes are. A portion of the proceeds benefits Frierson Elementary School and The Center for Women.
When: Noon-5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Irvin-House Vineyards, 6775 Bears Bluff Road, Wadmalaw Island
Price: $10 per car
For more info: 559-6867, www.CharlestonWine.com
“If it’s from South of the Mason-Dixon Line and East of the Mississippi, it’s fit for this Hoedown.” The second annual all-inclusive event will feature bourbon, moonshine and whiskey cocktails from more than a dozen distilleries as well as craft brews from three Southern states. In addition to the various libations, barbecue, brisket and other tasty Southern treats will be served up by Lowcountry restaurants and artisan food vendors. And no hoedown is complete without dancing, and attendees will be able to get their jig on to two bluegrass bands: Seven Handle Circus from Atlanta and The Barefoot Movement from Johnson City, Tenn. So break out your best boots and press your plaid as a portion of the proceeds benefit Pet Helpers.
When: 7-11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Charleston Visitor Center Bus Shed, 375 Meeting St.
Price: $50 in advance, $65 at the door
For more info: www.lowcountryhoedown.com
The Battle of Fort Wagner
Step back in time to the antebellum era during Living History Weekend at Boone Hall. The plantation will play host to living history exhibits, sutlers, vendors, food and more as it marks the 150th anniversary of the assault on Battery Wagner. Various events, attractions and demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend, but the centerpiece will be the re-enactment of the historic battle portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie “Glory.” Proceeds from the battle re-enactment go to historic flag preservation efforts and other projects initiated by the Confederate Heritage Trust. Events will be held rain or shine.
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Where: Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant
Price: Advance tickets are $17.50 for adults, $8 for kids ages 6-12, kids 5 and under get in free with an adult
For more info: boonehallplantation.com
Despite a few hiccups along the way, it’s an indisputable fact that the Charleston Cup Steeplechase races are an established part of the Lowcountry social scene. With the inaugural race run in 1986, the tradition continues this weekend with the 20th running. The rain or shine event will feature lots of tailgating fun, or for those who don’t feel like trucking in their own goodies, there will be food and beverage vendors set up in the vendor’s village. Paddock call is at noon and well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.
When: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Plantation at Stono Ferry, U.S. Highway 162, Hollywood
Price: $25 in advance, $30 at the gate; parking is $10
For more info: 766-6202, www.charlestoncup.net
Coastal Carolina Fair
With the aroma of sugary and fried foods wafting in the air, the flash of blinking lights and neon signs, and the clang of games and carnival barkers, it can only mean one thing: It’s time again for the Coastal Carolina Fair. In its 57th year, music has always played a major part of the fair, with shows each night including acts such as Brett Eldredge and Colt Ford. Other events and shows include “The Art of Flowers” flower show, the American Bull Riders Tour, an elephant show, 4-H, vendors and more.
When: Through Sunday; gate hours are 3-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday
Where: Exchange Park, 9850 U.S. Highway 78, Ladson
Price: Gate tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 at the gate; kids 5 and under get in free. All entertainment is free with gate tickets. Ride coupon books or Sunday-Thursday hand stamp tickets are $20, Friday and Saturday hand stamp tickets are $25.
For more info: coastalcarolinafair.org
An award-winning musical, “Jersey Boys” follows the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons as these “blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time.” Writing all their own songs, they invented a sound of their own and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they reached 30. Scoring the best musical award at the Tonys, Grammys and Olivier Awards, the show continues to break box office records on Broadway and across North America.
When: 7: 30 p.m. through Sunday with 2 p.m. matinee shows Saturday-Sunday
Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive
The second annual Lowcountry Hoedown will be held on Saturday.×
The Battle of Fort Wagner will be marked during Living History Weekend at Boone Hall Plantation.×
“Jersey Boys” follows the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and is running at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center through Sunday.×