This weekend is Valentine’s weekend, which around these parts generally means it’s SEWE time once again.
The beloved wildlife festival kicks off this Friday – Valentine’s Day itself – and lasts through Sunday, February 16th.
The Lowcountry is host to a slew of festivals, like the esteemed Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto festivals which happen in late spring. But SEWE is the biggest of all in terms of number of people it draws and economic impact. We’re talking, around 45,000 people or so.
It’s also arguably the very best wildlife art (and more) festival anywhere.
SEWE, which stands for Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, has been going for some time now. This is the 38th annual one, and honestly it just seems to get better with each incarnation.
The main venues are Charleston Place, Marion Square, the Gaillard Center, The Marriott on Lockwood, and Brittlebank Park. Charleston Place is the hub for a lot of the fine wildlife painters, sculptors and the like, and it’s definitely worth strolling through to see them at work. Marion Square also has an abundance of additional artists along with tents and demos both indoors and out.
Gaillard is the site of show vendors and exhibitors, plus the main performance/presentation stage for animal shows. The Marriott is all about duck decoys. And Brittlebank has gone to the dogs.
What to look for at SEWE 2020
There are so many different SEWE happenings all over the peninsula. The schedule is detailed and filled with a delightful array of wildlife-related events.
Be sure to check out some of these live demos, all included with general admission…
- Live Animal Shows with the famous Jack Hanna, Friday and Saturday at the Gaillard;
- New this year: Fly Fishing with Orvis, all three days on the Gaillard Center Lawn;
- Also new for 2020: How to Train Retrievers, with Mossy Pond Retrievers and Orvis, all three days at Brittlebank Park;
- Live Animal Shows with Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Friday and Sunday at the Gaillard;
- Live Art at the Quick Draw/Speed Sculpt Friday at Charleston Place;
- Two-Tank DockDogs! All three days, with the final on Sunday all at Brittlebank Park;
- Retriever Demonstrations (“Pathway to a Finished Gundog”) all three days at Brittlebank;
- Flight Demonstrations with The Center for Birds of Prey, all three days at Marion Square;
- Reptile Show with The Orianne Society, all three days at Marion Square;
- Chef Demonstrations all three days at Marion Square;
- The ever-popular and adorable Sheep and Duck Herding demos. all three days at Brittlebank.
All live demos are included with general admission. Tickets are $50 for a three-day pass, or $25 per single day admission. They are no longer for sale online, but you can buy them in person downtown, in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and Kiawah. Read about where to snag those tickets here.
SEWE really is a fantastic, family-friendly event. If you don’t visit this year, consider it for 2021. Just give us a call at EP, and we’ll find you the perfect Charleston beach house as a SEWE home base.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger