ArtFest butterfly lady

All types of performers and creative arts activities are expected at Saturday's ArtFest at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre.

From flowery gardens to the stage and big screen, here are the events happening in Charleston this weekend. 

Festival of Houses & Gardens

Presented by the Historic Charleston Foundation, the 72nd annual Festival of Houses & Gardens kicked off on Wednesday and features more than a month of opportunities for guests to go behind the old downtown walls and discover the beauty of the historic district’s hidden gardens and most distinguished homes.

Brick wall with gate Festival of Houses and Gardens

The Festival of Houses and Gardens has daily events through April 18.

Festival highlights include the daily self-guided home and garden walking tours and the morning history walks with an expert guide, as well as Rosé and Roses in the Garden at the Nathaniel Russell House and Gullah spirituals at Circular Congregational Church featuring the Plantation Singers and the Spiritually Yours gospel choir.

Tickets are going fast for the Food for Thought Luncheon Lectures, which include an exploration of downtown churches, synagogues and graveyards, discussions on “The Indigo Girl” Eliza Lucas Pinckney, “The Camellia Man” Tom Johnson, Gullah cuisine, inspirations for gardening in small places and more.

Another special part of the festival this year is the Charleston Antiques Show at the Gaillard Center Friday-Sunday, featuring “best-in-class treasures,” the Design Pavilion with artisans and vendors from coast-to-coast, the Collectors Circle exclusive-access package and guest speakers as part of the Intimate Talks with Design in Mind.

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper Earl of Shaftesbury

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, in the Handel Room at St. Giles House in 2010, before his restoration work began. Ashley-Cooper will be a guest speaker at the Charleston Antiques Show.  

One notable speaker will be Nicholas A.E. Ashley-Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, honorary show chairman and descendant of Lord Proprietor of Carolina Anthony Ashley-Cooper (1621-1683). Nicholas Ashley-Cooper is author of “The Rebirth of an English Country House,” which details the restoration of his 400-year-old ancestral home in St. Giles House in Wimborne, St. Giles Dorset, United Kingdom.

WHEN: Festival: daily through April 18; Antiques Show: March 14-17

WHERE: Festival: various locations in downtown historic Charleston; Antiques Show: Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: Festival: $25-$150; Antiques Show: $20-$200; combination packages available

MORE INFO: 843-722-3405,


ArtFest kids with paint

The annual ArtFest returns to Mount Pleasant Towne Centre on Saturday, featuring professional and up-and-coming local and regional talent for a diverse showcase, featuring music, dance and visual arts studios. Performers include The Dance Arts Studio Competitive Company, Bach to Rock Mount Pleasant, Jennie Moore Elementary Chorus, 13M Inspirational Male Mime Ministry, “a variety of artistic crafts” and more. The event also features exhibits, vendors and a juried art show from the Mount Pleasant Artists Guild. All performances and activities are free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 16

WHERE: The Oaks (near Barnes & Noble) at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, 1218 Belk Drive


MORE INFO: 843-216-9900,

Camellia Walks: Middleton & Magnolia

The camellia season soon will come to an end, but a few opportunities remain to see the beautiful blooms at Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Middleton Place statue with camellias

Middleton Place still has a couple of guided camellia walks on its calendar before the season ends.

Middleton Place has centuries-old camellias in its gardens, which were designed in 1741 with a specific symmetrical plan, following the principles of Andre Le Notre, the master landscape designer of the Palace of Versailles in France. Visiting the historic estate is a beautiful experience: ancient oaks drape moss over the dirt roadways, sheep graze on the grass on the front lawn of the house, and the reeds of the Ashley River blow in the wind on the back of the property.

In addition to the guided camellia walks, admission options include the main house, stableyards and other plantation structures. The Spring Garden Strolls & Wine Tasting events also have begun.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, also set along the Ashley River, boasts extensive camellia blooms, a specialty being its “ancient camellias” (pre-1900), which are threatened in other parts of the world. The gardens were opened to the public in the early 1870s, but some sections are more than 325 years old. Magnolia advertises itself as the last large-scale Romantic garden left in the United States. The Romantic style means that the gardens are not constantly cropped and tightly trimmed. No form, no balance, no symmetry — rather, “an attempt at re-creating Eden,” Magnolia’s gardens director Tom Johnson told The Post and Courier in 2009.

Magnolia is designated as a Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society. Guided camellia walks are available for groups with a reservation. General admission to the plantation also includes the petting zoo, conservatory, Orientation Theater, peacock café and Gilliard Garden Center. Additional guided tours include the plantation house, nature tram and boat, Audubon Swamp Garden and the Slavery to Freedom Tour.

WHEN: Middleton Camellia Walks: 11 a.m. March 14 and 16; Magnolia hours: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily

WHERE: Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston; Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston

PRICE: Middleton Camellia Walks: free with general admission ($10-$29); Magnolia: general admission $10-$20; $8 each additional guided tour

MORE INFO: Middleton: 843-556-6020,; Magnolia: 843-571-1266,

Charleston Film Festival

"Sharkwater Extinction" film grab

Rob Stewart filming an oceanic white tip shark in "Sharkwater Extinction," which will be screened at the Charleston Film Festival at The Terrace. 

The Terrace Theater on James Island will host its 10th annual Charleston Film Festival March 14-17, featuring three short films, and 18 full-length feature films, including five Jewish-themed movies co-curated by the Charleston JCC Filmfest.

Highlights include conservationist Rob Stewart’s “Sharkwater Extinction,” completed after his death in January 2017; the local shorts “Edge of the Woods” and “Shovels and Rope: The Movie”; “To Dust,” starring Matthew Broderick; and a collection of Oscar-nominated live-action shorts.

An opening reception on Thursday will honor filmmakers and sponsors. Some filmmakers will be in attendance for screenings, public presentations and discussions throughout the weekend.

WHEN: March 14-17

WHERE: Terrace Theater, 1956-D Maybank Highway, James Island

PRICE: $11 per film; $77 festival pass

MORE INFO: 843-762-4247,

Beatles tribute: Abbey Road

Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles

Beatles tribute band RAIN will perform at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Thursday.

Little darlings, it’s been 50 years since The Beatles released “Abbey Road,” the final studio-recorded album from the Fab Four (though not the last one to be released). Beatles tribute band RAIN takes to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center stage on Thursday, with “The Best of Abbey Road Live!,” in celebration of the album’s anniversary. The group’s tribute shows have been called “a note-for-note theatrical event,” with LED, high-definition screens and multi-media content. The members of RAIN are said to have “mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome.” Interestingly, the tribute band has been together performing songs by The Beatles longer than The Beatles were together performing songs by The Beatles.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 14

WHERE: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

PRICE: $27-$87

MORE INFO: 843-529-5000,

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Reach Liz Foster at 843-937-5581. Follow her on Twitter @TheDizzyLizzieB