If you peel back the many layers of Charleston’s cultural history, you’ll find more than a few influences brought over from the Caribbean islands. The architecture on South of Broad, the soul food, the rhythmic music, the religious celebrations. These Lowcountry signatures are all tied to our Afro-Caribbean roots. So it goes without saying, the Holy City has plenty of reasons to honor Caribbean American Heritage Month. One of the biggest festivals of the year to mark the occasion is Charleston Carifest, a four-day celebration with parades, parties, costumes and religious ceremonies. Here are some highlights of the festival this year.
The Mardis Gras Party starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the International Longshoremen’s Hall at 1142 Morrison Drive in downtown Charleston, where there will be food trucks and a beer and wine bar. Tickets are $10 and costumes are encouraged.
The street parade is one of the most festive events of the weekend with costumes, dancing and authentic music. It starts at 3 p.m. Saturday on John Street, and will make its way north up King Street toward Sumter Street, then Hagood Street, with a finale at Brittlebank Park. Grand marshals this year are the Trinidad ambassador to the United States and the consulate general from Miami.
The weekend wraps up with a Caribbean Church Service at 11 a.m. Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church, 1601 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.
For more info: 800-774-0006, charlestoncarifest2015.eventbrite.com
When the Shrimp Records label was born around 2009, it was more of a group of friends who just wanted to share equipment, players and skills to make the best music possible with their limited funds and resources. In the six years since, it has spawned break-out stars such as Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, who comprise the folk duo Shovels & Rope, as well as guitarist Sadler Vaden, who’s been playing alongside singer-songwriter Jason Isbell. Its roster also includes Bill Carson, Jack Burg and Joel Hamilton, skilled musicians who have influenced Charleston’s music scene over the years in countless ways. The whole group has played a few shows together as a one big family band, but not for some time since some of them have been so busy on the road. But now that one of their own, Vaden, is getting hitched, Hearst said it was the perfect opportunity to get together and share the stage again. “We are basically throwing him what amounts to a musical bachelor party where we made up a band called the Six to Midnights,” she said recently about the show this week at the Pour House. “We’re getting together to play a bunch of Sadler’s music and covers and it’s just going to be a fun way to celebrate him and his upcoming marriage.” At the show, there will be a booth set up to learn more about Ohm Radio, a new all-local, low-power FM radio station launching in August. The project has been supported by Hearst, Trent and others in the Shrimp Records collective since it was announced about a year ago.
When: 8:30 p.m. doors, 9:30 p.m. show Thursday
Where: 1977 Maybank Highway, Charleston
Price: $10 in advance, $12 at the door
More info: www.charlestonpourhouse.com/schedule/
Earlier in the evening, the Pickled Palate in Mount Pleasant will host a wine tasting to benefit Ohm Radio, where there will be live acoustic music by Matt Williams.
When: 5-7 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Pickled Palate at Earthly Artifacts, 411 Hibben St., Mount Pleasant
Price: $10 donation
More info: www.facebook.com/events/1581812385419577/
There are two ways to drink moonshine: straight from the jar with your eyes closed and fists clenched, or masked behind a creative concoction of strong flavors. The second option is certainly classier, but it’s not easy to take the sting out of a liquor known for its throat-searing potential. Still, bartenders from around the Lowcountry will accept the challenge at the second annual Moonshine Throwdown this weekend, where they’ll aim to create the most sippable cocktail with Firefly Distillery’s White Lightning Moonshine. Attendees will be able to sample the beverages with a special tasting glass, indulge in heavy hors d’oeuvres, and listen to live bluegrass by The Bluestone Ramblers.
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lowcountry Bistro, 49 S. Market St.
More info: www.LowcountryBistro.com
Get your beer here
Holy City Brewing will host a festival this weekend celebrating two things we can all appreciate in the summertime: cold beer and hamburgers. The Flag Day Burger and Beer fest will feature craft beers from breweries all over the state, including Palmetto Brewing Co., Thomas Creek Brewery, River Rat Brewery, and many others. All the burgers and beer are priced per vendor, and the donations taken at the door benefit the Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers.
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Holy City Brewing, 4155 Dorchester Road
Price: $10 donation
Bringing back the boogie
When it’s summertime in the Lowcountry, you don’t have to wait until the weekend to kick up your heels. The Thursday Night Boogie series is back for the summer at the Mount Pleasant Pier. The dance party organized by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission is like a pre-party for the Shaggin’ on the Cooper series that happens at the same venue on most Saturday nights. With beach music and oldies spinning by DJ Jim Bowers right under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, who wouldn’t want to start the weekend a day early? Attendees must be at least 21 years old.
When: 6-10 p.m. Thursday; July 16; Aug. 13
Where: 71 Harry M. Hallman Jr. Blvd., Mount Pleasant
Price: $10 or $8 in advance for Charleston County residents
More info: 795-4386, Charlestoncountyparks.com