Looking for a sneaky way to avoid the traffic jam and parking deadlock facing anyone who wants to see the Blue Angels air show? Good luck.
It's not just the Navy flight team over Charleston Harbor. The Family Circle Cup is serving up semi-finals and a star-studded exhibition match on Daniel Island. A swarm of outdoors enthusiasts from across the country will make their way to the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival. The succulent Lowcountry Strawberry Festival opens at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. The Battle of Charleston re-enactment opens fire at Legare Farms on Johns Island.
And oh, it gets better. The biggest loggerhead turtle ever rehabilitated at the South Carolina Aquarium will be freed to the ocean at Isle of Palms. The Charleston County Earth Day Festival takes over Park Circle in North Charleston. The Coastal Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts has set the stakes for a centennial celebration at McLeod Plantation. The World Grits Festival chomps away in St. George. The Annual Sea and Sand Festival will take place on Folly Beach. Heck, even Hilton Head is hosting the Verizon Heritage pro golf tournament at Sea Pines.
Stephanie Bates and Brandon Jackson wandered through the Market on Friday, looking for a birthday gift. They strolled down to Waterfront Park, took the bench at the tip of the pier out on the harbor and found they had prime seats for the Blue Angels practice.
Asked if they expected to get that bench for the air show today, the Summerville couple laughed. "Probably not," Bates said. But the horde of people and cars expected to muddle through Charleston today wouldn't keep them from coming. "Downtown is always like that," she said.
Secret spots will be hard to come by. Police began blocking off the road to Demetre Park on James Island during the Blue Angels practice runs this week, letting only residents and yacht club members through once the small parking area had filled. They will have their eye on pull-off points all around the harbor to keep cars from blocking access for emergency vehicles and the like. The gate will be closed at Fort Johnson.
Boating might not be much easier. The popular Wappoo Creek landing usually fills up by noon on a sunny Saturday. Today, S.C. Natural Resources Department officers expect it to fill up pretty early in the morning. Same for Remley's Point and other landings near Charleston Harbor.
Police urge patience and flexibility. The Peninsula alone will be packed. Asked how many people could converge for the platter of events, officials and onlookers just whistled.
"I imagine it'll be about standing room only," said Rodney Wade, of Summerville, as he lounged on a picnic blanket in Waterfront Park with his wife, Michele.
All we can tell you is, that's no excuse for flicking on the Netflix.