It’s that time of year again, and a luxury house on Isle of Palms makes a perfect home base for a Spoleto stay.

This weekend is big.  First of all, it’s Memorial Day weekend, which officially marks the beginning of peak season for our SC vacation rentals, both Isle of Palms vacation rentals and Folly Beach rentals Charleston.  It also marks the kickoff of one of the preeminent arts festivals in the country (and arguably the globe), Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto.

The festivals bring 17 days of music, opera, theater and dance to the Holy City.  The Spoleto opening ceremonies are taking place at noon this coming Friday for this, its 41st incarnation.

Spoleto 2014 header

Friday, May 26, noon  

Spoleto USA Opening Ceremonies at Charleston City Hall

At the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets downtown.  Musical prelude begins at 11:30 before the ceremony itself starts at 12:00 p.m.  Join the mayor and festival folk as they officially declare the festival open.  Included is a performance excerpt from a surprise guest.

FYI if you’re here in a Charleston beach house and are driving downtown on Friday, take note of the following street closures in and around the opening ceremonies:

  • Road closures at Meeting Street & Broad Street and Broad Street & Church Street begin at 9:00 a.m.
  • Road closures at Broad & King, Meeting & Queen, Meeting & Tradd, and Meeting & Chalmers streets begin at 11:45 a.m.
  • Ceremony begins at 12:00 p.m. and runs through 1:15 p.m.; the 11:45 a.m. closure points will reopen when ceremony terminates; 9:00 a.m. closures remain until staging and equipment are cleared from roadway.
  • Limited vehicular traffic will be allowed east of the ceremony on Broad Street for business purposes only.
  • The Parking Enforcement Unit will bag meters on Broad in the affected area of the ceremony.
  • Handicapped parking will be allowed at the meter spaces on Broad Street near Church Street or in such designated spaces or public parking garages.

Spoleto fun near your luxury house on Isle of Palms

Although tickets go fast for the festival, there are still some available.  You can purchase them online at, over the phone at (843) 579-3100, and in person at the Charleston Gaillard Center.   Click HERE for more on that.

Most of the events are on the downtown peninsula, which is convenient to all our rental homes South Carolina, whether you’re staying in a luxury house on Isle of Palms or a Folly Beach house Charleston.

Here’s the full schedule:


There are also many events that are free and require no tickets.  They include:

Friday, May 26, 5:00pm-7:00pm  

Mayor’s Opening Reception at the Charleston Museum

Celebrate the opening of Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto with Mayor Tecklenburg and Charleston City Council with a reception at the Charleston Museum Courtyard, across from the Visitor’s Center. Enjoy refreshments and live music from Porto Seguro.

This is free, but you need to RSVP.  View the invitation and RSVP here.

Friday, May 26, 8:00pm

Sunset Serenade

Head to the US Custom House for Piccolo Spoleto’s annual festive curtain raiser. This free outdoor concert features the Charleston Symphony Orchestra directed by Principal Pops Conductor Yuriy Becker.  The music is a blend of classical favorites and popular selections from The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Jurassic Park and Carmen. Arrive early to get the best seat and enjoy the festivities and libations available for sale.

Saturday, May 27, 10:00am-3:00pm

Family Day at Marion Square

March to the beat of your own drum at this year’s Family Day celebration in Marion Square with performances and workshops. The youngest Piccolo fans will enjoy arts and craft activities, hands on workshops, and live performances as they await the cacophonous arrival of The Seed & Feed Marching Abominable.

Marion Square is also the location of the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition, with over 80 artists displaying their creations.  Here’s a list of the exhibitors:

Saturday, May 27, 11:00pm-Midnight—-Midnight Pajama March

Sunday, May 28, Noon-1:00pm—-Patriotic Concert

The Seed & Feed Marching Abominable is Atlanta’s wildest community band. Join them on Saturday for the annual Midnight Pajama March and on Sunday for the annual Patriotic Concert. Both events take place at the US Custom House located at Concord & East Bay Streets.

One more cool thing, from Spoleto…

Slow Dancing in Marion Square

Slow Dancing is a series of 43 larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dancers and choreographers from around the world. This large-scale video exhibition by artist David Michalek will be set up in Marion Square and run continuously from 9:00pm to 11:00pm each evening from May 25 to June 9. This event is free and open to all. Click here for more information.

You’re invited to the official opening in Marion Square on Thursday, May 25, at 8:45pm.

cocktail Spoleto

OK, one more Spoleto-inspired cool thing near your luxury house on Isle of Palms  –  it’s #SpoletoSips

To get in the Spoleto spirit, so to speak, 14 area restaurants have created cool and unique Spoleto-inspired cocktails which are available now through the duration of the festival.  Ticket holders will receive a special discount.  Read more about #SpoletoSips here.

So enjoy all the marvels Spoleto has to offer, and remember to call EP when you are looking for beach house rentals Charleston SC, especially Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  Our luxury beach house rentals SC are the best in the Charleston area and downright festival-worthy.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger