Top Events and Festivals in South Carolina
Explore this selection of the top annual events and festivals, fairs and celebrations (listed in calendar priority) in South Carolina.
Please note: Top Events USA does not include every single event on offer in South Carolina – only those recognized as the best by residents of South Carolina, visitors to the "Green Mountain State", the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA and officials of South Carolina too.
South Carolina is often referred to as the “Palmetto State” after all the little palms found in the north and south of the state.
Hilton Head International Piano Competition
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
One of the leading and most respected international piano competitions in the USA attracting an audience from all over the world, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition showcases the young artist competition for pianists 13-17 years of age in odd-numbered years, and the adult competition for pianists 18-30 years of age in even numbered years.
For more information about the Hilton Head International Piano Competition visit:
Camden, South Carolina
The Carolina Cup race-meeting is a time honored South Carolina tradition that has achieved premier social event status. The annual 'rites of spring' draws over 65,000 fans from throughout the southeast to enjoy the thrilling sport of steeplechase horse racing amid a flurry of spring fashions and elaborate tailgate parties. From the Corporate Terrace to College Park, old friends meet and new friends are made during the afternoon of seven races.
For more information about the Carolina Cup in Camden visit:
or see: http://carolina-cup.org
Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee
Pendleton, South Carolina
Considered one of South Carolina’s premier events, the award-winning Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee takes place in the heart of this small South Carolina community. Featuring local and regional entertainers offering live entertainment, unique arts and crafts from all over the USA, local food venues, and more, the Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee has twice been named the Best Festival in South Carolina in a community of less that 3,000, as well as being noted as a Top 100 Event by the American Bus Association, and a multi-winner of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast.
For more information about the Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee visit:
Darlington, South Carolina
Reviving the name, the Southern 500®, known by many as NASCAR’s greatest annual challenge, takes place at the Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's original superspeedway.
An already impressive list of Darlington winners includes Earnhardt, Petty, Pearson, Yarborough, and Allison.
For more information about Southern 500 in Darlington visit: http://www.darlingtonraceway.com
early - mid May
Greenville, South Carolina
Ranked #7 Fine Art Festival in the Country by Art Fair Sourcebook, Artisphere presents 120 of the highest caliber visual artists from across the country representing 17 different mediums, a new feature called Artist Demonstration Row that showcases metalworking, printmaking, glassblowing and pottery making as it happens, a fun, creative venue called Kidsphere for children, a new silent auction art gallery, wine tasting of wines from all over the world, and four stages of entertainment featuring everything from jazz to light opera works, ballet to American folk music.
For more information about Artisphere in Greenville visit:
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach Bike Week, a motorcycle event and rally held annually in Myrtle Beach, attracts approximately 300,000 people who make their way from all over the USA to the rally area for the 10-day event. The festivities include motorcycle racing, concerts, parties, and street festivals. The event contends with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as one of the most popular motorcycle rallies in the United States.
For more information about the Myrtle Beach Bike Week event visit :
Beaufort, South Carolina
A winner of many awards on a state and national level, including the South Carolina Top Ten Angels award as well as the Bundy Award given to a small event or festival, the Gullah Festival, a success for 20 years, attracts over 70,000 visitors each year with its celebration of the heritage of the Gullah people of the USA southeastern coast in a variety of events including storytelling, African dance, drumming and music and more.
For more information about the Gullah Festival in Beaufort visit:
Freedom Weekend Aloft
late May Memorial Day weekend
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Throughout the weekend this hot air balloon festival offers one hundred beautiful hot-air balloons competing daily. Other activities include exciting concerts by the nation’s top entertainers, amusement rides, games, sponsor displays, children’s activities, skydivers, regional music stages, the US Disc Dog Freedom Weekend Nationals (Frisbee Dog Contest), and fireworks. A beach blast features a Kidzone, rides, vintage car show and live music.
For more information about Freedom Weekend Aloft visit:
late May - early June
Charleston, South Carolina
Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 as the American counterpart to the Festival of Two Worlds held annually in Spoleto, Italy. The festival quickly became a haven for a broad range of artistic styles and forms, including classical ballet, modern and post-modern dance, opera, chamber, symphonic, and choral music, jazz, theater, and visual arts. Spoleto has earned a reputation for offering programs of the highest artistic caliber, supporting new and innovative works, nurturing outstanding young artists, and expanding public appreciation of the arts. If your visit to this fantastic event has you considering relocating to this beautiful city, allow Keadle Real Estate to help you find the perfect area.
For more information about Spoleto USA in Charleston, South Carolina visit:
Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Highlighting the skills and popularity of Sweetgrass basket-making in South Carolina, the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival at Waterfront Memorial Park showcases a large assortment of unique baskets, handmade arts and crafts, and basket-making demonstrations as well as a wide assortment of entertainment including gospel songs and praise dancing, Gullah Geechee skits, storytellers, documentary films, African drummers and dancers, and of course, the increasingly popular local, "low country" cuisine, Gullah cuisine and classic barbecues.
For more information about the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival in Mount Pleasant visit:
South Carolina Festival of Flowers
early to late June
Greenwood, South Carolina
Attracting gardening enthusiasts from all over the USA for more than 44 years, the Festival of Flowers is an increasingly popular flower festival with live flowers and vegetation and the works of many talented South Carolina artists at the well known Juried Art Show, and a photography exhibit. The South Carolina Festival of Flowers also includes many different amusements including jazz concerts, Cessna flights for children, world food, a showcase for classic cars, and even a dog show.
For more information about the South Carolina Festival of Flowers in Greenwood visit:
Beaufort Water Festival
Beaufort, South Carolina
First held in 1956, the Beaufort County Water Festival has been a Beaufort tradition for over 57 years. The first weekend featured two days of sailboat races and the Regatta Ball. In years following organizers added the Beauty Pageant on Friday to select the Queen of the Carolina Sea islands who was chosen from the visiting queens from cities and towns throughout the state. After that came the addition of the parade, a water ski show and competition, air show, swimming races and the Water Festival Ball and motor boat race. As the years went by and the festival drew more and more people to the area, tennis and golf tournaments, an antique show, bingo, fishing contests, and even croquet were added.
For more information about the Beaufort Water Festival take a look at:
or visit: http://www.bftwaterfestival.com
Columbia, South Carolina
This 4-day festival, and a popular event for more than 26 years, celebrates Greek culture in Columbia with authentic Greek food and music, regional Greek dances, art show and entertainment for people of all ages.
For more information about the Greek Festival in Columbia visit:
South Carolina State Fair
Columbia, South Carolina
Each October, people of all ages come to Columbia to participate in the South Carolina State Fair, one of the top 50 fairs in the United States. Celebrating more than 139 years in existence, the South Carolina State Fair features exhibits including flowers, baked goods, canned goods, needlework, quilting, fine art, student art, livestock and agriculture. Commercial, historical and educational exhibits are also showcased. The 12-day run of the fair features grandstand entertainment, stages with variety of acts such as comedy, bands, dancers, local entertainment and entertainment from South Carolina schools across the state. Rides are provided by North American Midway Entertainment.
For more information about the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia visit:
Fall for Greenville
Downtown Greenville, South Carolina
Fall for Greenville is one of the largest free admission food street festivals in the Southeast attracting between 150,000-200,000 people from across the Upstate and beyond. With over 40 restaurants showcasing almost 200 menu items, Fall for Greenville provides a dynamic weekend full of amazing food, culinary demonstrations, wine tasting, a beer garden featuring 14 craft breweries and restaurant competitions as well as free musical entertainment performed by local and regional musical talent on six different stages, and a variety of children’s activities.
For more information about Fall for Greenville visit:
Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
One of the USA’s signature automotive events, the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival features world-class vintage and antique autos, sports cars and muscle cars from all over the country. The Concours d'Elegance is the centerpiece of the festival. Over 150 vintage vehicles, many of the finest in the world, will compete for the coveted title of Best of Show.
For more information about the Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival visit: http://www.hhiconcours.com
Dickens Christmas Show and Festivals
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Recognized as a 2013 Top 100 Event by the American Bus Association, and listed as a Top 20 Southeast Tourism Society Events, the Dickens Christmas Show and Festivals in Myrtle Beach showcases a 19th century market place complete with everything from fine arts and gourmet foods and clothing to food tastings from all over the world and even Santa himself in his own castle.
For more information about the Dickens Christmas Show and Festivals in Myrtle Beach visit:
Salley, South Carolina
Located in the quiet, southern town of Salley (population 410), the Chitlin Strut is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Over 30,000 visitors converge on Salley to celebrate an unusual food item: chitterlings (or chitlin's) – fried pig intestines. Traditional activities at the Chitlin' Strut include a parade, hawg-calling and strut contests, food and craft vendors, beauty pageant and carnival rides, an antique tractor show and a Chitlin Strut Idol Contest.
For more information about Chitlin Strut in Salley visit: