Charleston, South Carolina
Founded in 1670, then named Charles Town, in honour of the then king of England, this port city is well known for its cobblestone streets, and horse drawn carriages. The town has been the site of many historical events, including major battles in both the American revolution, and the civil war.
A vibrant, and beautiful city, Charleston is the host to the annual Spoleto Festival, a seventeen day long art festival, which features hundreds of performances from artists of almost every discipline. The festival is widely considered to be the most prominent for anyone involved in the performing arts. My friend over at movers Columbia Md loves this festival and goes every year. A city with a great deal of character, this is far from the only festival held there, with many more held each year to celebrate various aspects of Charleston’s history and culture, including
· The Historic Charleston Foundation’s Festival of Houses and Gardens and Charleston Antiques Show
· The Taste of Charleston
· The Lowcountry Oyster Festival
· The Cooper River Bridge Run
· The Charleston Marathon
· South-eastern Wildlife Exposition
· Charleston Food and Wine Festival
· Charleston Fashion Week
· The MOJA Arts Festival
· The Holiday Festival of Lights
· The Charleston International Film Festival
Charleston’s unique culture, heavily influenced by the number of African-Americans who came there from the Sea Islands and the Low Country, a large percentage of whom spoke, and still speak, Gullah, has had an amazing effect on the local music scene. Local Jazz, and more broadly later on, was shaped a great deal, in its early years, by the people of Charleston. In addition to the local dances inspiring several well known songs, it also grew into a globally popular style of dance, named after the city that gave birth to it.
In addition to the music and dance it inspired, Charleston is also responsible for the inspiration of a book, turned stage performance, turned opera, that is now considered to be one of the American greats. Originally named Porgy, later becoming Porgy and Bess the stage performance featured the Jenkins Orphanage Band, who had, at that point, already been touring the world. Charleston, which is, incidentally home to the first theatre built in the US, remains listed as one of the top ten cities for theatre, also ranking as one of the top two in the southern states.
If you ever visit the city, you will likely bear witness to a rather peculiar and quaint tradition; one involving pineapples. In the days when Charleston was a shipping port, ship captains would often return home to their families bearing gifts from the faraway places they had visited. On such exotic item was the pineapple. Upon returning to their homes, they would stick a pineapple on their fence, signalling to friends and neighbours that they are home, implicitly inviting them to dinner, to hear told tales of the adventures they had endured, while at sea.
Often used as the backdrop for films, Charleston is an immensely beautiful, and vibrant city, with more to be seen, than can be done in one trip. It’s not just a place where things once happened; things are still happening, and it’s worth seeing them for yourself.