My Charleston Weekend: April 26-May 2

Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival

The highlight of Fleet Week will be Sunday at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park, off Hallman Boulevard, with the boat parade passing right off the pier. Celebrating 25 years, Charleston’s shrimpers and fishermen will be honored 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. with live music, children’s activities, a shrimp-eating contest, a shag contest and, of course, plenty of seafood. For more information on this free event, call 884-8517.

Santee Birding and Nature Festival

Running Friday- Sunday, this event offers an array of wildlife-oriented field trips and workshops with something for everyone. Offering wildlife watching and natural history opportunities, the festival this year has expanded to include trips to the ACE Basin and Cape Romain. Brush up on your bird watching and butterfly identification skills, learn about reptiles and amphibians, participate in wildlife photography workshops and backyard habitat workshops, and so much more. For information on events and pricing, check out

Carolina Dirt Fair A celebration of local agriculture, gardening and the food of the South will be held Friday-Sunday at various locations throughout Charleston. A Kick-Off Cook-Off will be 4-8 p.m. Friday at Grow Food Carolina. At 7 p.m. Saturday, James Island County Park will host the Wild and Scenic Film Festival featuring films covering a variety of topics concerned with the future of sustainability. The main event, the Dirt Fair, will be noon-5 p.m. Sunday at Mullet Hall on Johns Island. Celebrating local foods, workshops on gardening, backyard chickens, composting, canning and more will be held. For information on all events and pricing, go to carolinagreen

Rice Festival Colleton County celebrates its rich heritage and the contributions made by the rice cash crop with this arts and cultural festival. Friday-Sunday, enjoy family-friendly activities, including an arts-and-crafts area, rides, food court, a pageant and parade, magic shows, music shows, a car show and more. Held at the Welcome Center just off Interstate 95, prices for this event vary. Go to for details.

Beach Music on the Boardwalk

The Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., will hold its annual fundraiser 6:30-9:30 tonight. Dance the night away to live beach music by the Ocean Drive Party Band, indulge in boardwalk-style eats, bid in a live auction and watch roller derby demos by the Lowcountry Highrollers. Tickets are $75 for member, $80 for nonmember. Check out or call 722-2996, ext. 235, for more information.

Preservation Party This annual event put on by the Preservation Society of Charleston will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St. Nosh on hors d’oeuvres and sip on cocktails while enjoying live music. Also bid on items in the silent auction; funds raised support Seven to Save, an annual outreach program to raise awareness and support for seven preservation projects, representative of seven broader issues in Charleston and the region. Tickets are $65 for members, $75 for nonmembers. Go to www.preservation society.orgfor details.

Moulin Rouge Charity Auction The Charleston Concert Association will hold its first fundraiser auction at 6:30 tonight at the Mills House Hotel Main Ballroom, 115 Meeting St. Break out your best Moulin Rouge attire and enjoy food, drinks and live entertainment, all while participating in live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75. Get more information at

Show of Strength Art Show + Fundraiser

This second annual event benefiting Integrative Cancer Care will take place in the Pearlstine Healing Gardens at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, 86 Jonathan Lucas St. From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, check out artwork by local artists, enjoy live music by The Jerry Cooper Band and pianist Nancy Wallin, and dig into the sushi bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 792-2000 or go to for more info.

Bunnies and Bluegrass Children’s Festival

This second annual event at Irvin-House Vineyards, 6775 Bears Bluff Road, Wadmalaw Island, promises a hoppin’ good time. From 1-5 p.m. Saturday, kiddos can meet a miniature cow and other adopted animals, they also can enjoy an egg hunt, fun with hula hoops, games, face painting, balloon artist, jump castle and more. Adults can check out the craft vendors and enjoy music by the Hungry Monks. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket to picnic; food will be available for purchase. Admission is $10 per car. Call 559-6867 for details.

Dog Days Park Circle community Mixson (off Mixson Avenue) will host this event in partnership with the Charleston Animal Society 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Bring your four-legged furball (on a leash, of course) and enjoy a canine costume contest, obedience events, live music and more. Vendors will be set up, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. Also on site will be animals available for adoption. For information, email or call 259-8705.

Lions Car, Bike Show James Island Charter High School, 1000 Fort Johnson Road, will host this car and bike show. With more than 60 registering last year, they’re hoping for a larger turn out this year. Advanced registration costs $10, day-of is $15. Held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, the event also will feature adoptable pups from Pet Helpers. Go to for more.

Champagne Party to Benefit CF

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, gather in the courtyard at 3 Chisolm St. for this semi-formal champagne party featuring La Bubbly. The event is all about raising awareness and funds for cystic fibrosis. An after-party will be at Pane E Vino, 17 Warren St. Go to details.