Charleston Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball

The Krewe of Charleston is bringing the vibrancy of Mardi Gras to the Holy City with their fifth annual Masquerade Ball (also referred to as the Royal Bal Masque). Attendees are asked to BYOM - bring your own mask - and don black-tie formal attire for a night of fun in the spirit of Mardi Gras. The event will feature French and Cajun foods, premium drinks and a chance to dance the night away to the sounds of Rockin' Dopsie & The Zydeco Twisters. The King and Queen of Charleston, Joseph "Joe" Rice and Lisa Rice, will be presented in fantastic fanfare, complete with a court decked out in meticulously beaded and feathered costumes. Royal Court member Elise Testone could be coerced to perform, according to organizers, and rumor has it that Mick Jagger may make an appearance to mix and mingle. You won't want to miss this party.

When: Saturday, doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

Price: $150

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Charleston Mardi Gras Grand Finale

Organized by the Krewe of Charleston, billed as the only official krewe on the East Coast, the group dedicated to bringing the culture and excitement of Mardi Gras is at it again with the fifth annual Carnival celebration. The family-friendly finale boasts the first "Fais Do Do" on the Atlantic Coast. With a Cajun food festival offering up fried alligator, boiled crawfish, Shrimp Po' Boys, crawfish etouffee and a "true Louisiana pig roast," attendees are sure to get their fill. The event will include chef demonstrations, a gumbo cook-off, a children's parade, Mardi Gras costume contest and live music from Rockin' Dopsie & The Zydeco Twisters. A portion of the proceeds from this year's event will go to the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center.

When: 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

Price: $10, kids get in free

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Merle Haggard

When Merle Haggard's name comes up in conversation, the word "legend" is often thrown out at some point, though the artist himself once told a reporter "I'd be more comfortable with something like 'professor.' " Either way you cut it, both words apply. Referred to as "the poet of the common man," Haggard's songs frequently relay the details of life, of what he sees, hears and feels. With 38 No. 1 hits, three Grammys, 13 Academy of Country Music Awards, six Country Music Association Awards, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors Award and a member of both the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Haggard is sure to impress.

When: Thursday, doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m.

Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

Price: $39.50-$59.50

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George Benson

Ten-time Grammy winner George Benson is bringing the songs of his musical hero to the Lowcountry with his show "An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat King Cole." Accompanied by the North Charleston POPS! for this performance, the show has sold out Los Angeles' Disney Hall, the Kennedy Center, Sydney Opera House and numerous other venues across Europe, Asia, Africa and the U.S. The Unforgettable tribute show will feature a chorus and Benson's touring band backing his renditions of Cole's greatest songs, including "Mona Lisa" and "Unforgettable," to name but a few.

When: Saturday, doors open at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m.

Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

Price: $55-$125

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Cork Shuckin' Festival

Irvin-House Vineyards is celebrating the new year with its third annual Cork Shuckin' Festival. With oysters from Holy City Seafood available as well as other food vendors on site, including Coastal Crust, Stono Cafe and Dulce Truck, attendees will definitely get their fill. Both the Firefly Vodka distillery and Irvin-House Vineyards winery will be offering tastings, $6 for six Firefly spirits and $5 for five wines, and patrons will receive complimentary glasses. And don't forget your lawn chairs and blankets so that you can sprawl out under the oaks and enjoy live music from One Kool Blow.

When: 1-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Irvin-House Vineyards, 6775 Bears Bluff Road, Wadmalaw Island

Price: Admission is free

For more info: 559-6867 or

Tyler Perry's 'Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned'

The multitalented Tyler Perry wrote, directed and produced this play about a woman pushed into online dating by her friends who think she's still hurt from a failed relationship years earlier. Upon meeting "the man of her dreams," things seem beyond ideal ... then the tides turn and it is revealed that he's not what he seemed. But being a strong and independent woman, she won't stand for his charade and turns things back around on him.

When: Tuesday-Wednesday, doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

Price: $43.50

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A Chocolate Affair

Are you a chocolate lover? If you are, you'll have a chance this weekend to indulge your sweet tooth in an over-the-top event. Attendees of A Chocolate Affair will have an opportunity to sample a variety of chocolate desserts from Charleston's finest restaurants and specialty shops. There also will be gourmet catering and an open bar. The evening will feature an auction with more than 200 items, including jewelry, fantasy vacations, furniture, artwork, dinner packages and more. This event serves as a fundraiser for Communities in Schools, a nonprofit that offers students support to help them stay in school and achieve in life.

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Daniel Island Club, 600 Island Park Drive

Price: $125

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