Festivals and Events
- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
The South Carolina Book Festival (www.scbookfestival.org, free) happens each February, bringing dozens of nationally-acclaimed authors to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (1101 Lincoln St.).
The main public event on the calendar for downtown Columbia is March’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival (www.stpatsinfivepoints.com, $15) in Five Points. It doesn’t hold a handle to Savannah’s St. Patrick’s celebration, but the conglomeration of bars and the cozy streets make for a vivacious Celtic celebration. There are five stages of live music, various kids’ activities, and of course, a big parade.
In April comes the Columbia International Festival (803/799-3452, www.cifonline.org, $5 adult, $1 children), an eclectic celebration of the various cultures, both homegrown and from abroad, residing in South Carolina. Held at the state fairgrounds near Williams-Brice Stadium, this event offers entertainment, exhibits, and of course lots and lots of international food.
Also in April is the unique Indie Grits Film Festival (803/254-8234, www.indiegrits.com), a fun and quirky little film fest hosted by The Nickelodeon (937 Main St., 803/254-3433 www.nickelodeon.org), the city’s art house.
In September the congregation of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church hosts the Columbia Greek Festival (803/461-0248, www.columbiasgreekfestival.com) at the corner of Calhoun and Sumter Streets downtown. There’s food, dance, music, and Greek goodies for sale.
Each October Five Points hosts the Columbia Blues Festival (803/733-8452, www.wordofmouthproductions.org), a celebration of that indigenous American art form, mostly relying on regional talent.
Also in October comes the biggest single local event, the South Carolina State Fair (1200 Rosewood Dr., 803/799-3387, www.scstatefair.org, $8 adults, $2 children) at the sprawling state fairgrounds near Williams-Brice Stadium. With roots going back to the 1830s, this is one of the largest such events in the Southeast, with over half a million attendees each year. Rides, food, livestock, and agriculture shows keep the huge crowd entertained, with the highlight being the colorful competitive exhibits. A series of concerts, about $15 per person, livens up the evenings.
Perhaps the quirkiest event in Columbia is the Five Points Festivus (www.fivepointscolumbia.com) in December. Taking its name from that famous “Seinfeld” episode, this merchant-driven affair features a strange parade, music, a tree lighting, and an “Airing of Grievances” pub crawl.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition