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Charleston Special Events

Oyster season runs September through April in Charleston, but the city celebrates this seafood tradition in January with the Lowcountry Oyster Festival. Oysters by the bucket are the main attraction of this winter event, but activities also include an oyster shucking contest, live music and children's events.

Wildlife connoisseurs of another sort have a month of their own: February in Charleston is Wildlife Month. The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday preceding Presidents Day is one of the largest wildlife arts, crafts and collectibles shows in the South; phone (843) 723-1748.

Preeminent among Charleston's events is Spoleto Festival U.S.A., a celebration of the arts beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing for either 12 or 17 days. During the festival a full schedule of events encompassing music, dance, theater, opera, art, poetry and comedy takes place throughout the city; phone (843) 722-2764. The Piccolo Spoleto Festival serves as Charleston's companion festival and features local and regional performers and crafts; phone (843) 724-7305.

Every September a daylong international food festival, The Taste of Charleston, takes place. The cuisine of more than 50 of the city's finest restaurants can be sampled at one location.

Throughout December tours of traditionally decorated houses, churches and public buildings highlight the holiday season. Festivities also include the Parade of Boats in Charleston Harbor.

Many of Charleston's private houses are opened to the public two other times during the year. From mid-March to mid-April the Festival of Houses and Gardens offers afternoon and evening walking tours of houses, gardens and historic sites; phone (843) 722-3405 or (843) 723-1623. The Fall Candlelight Tours of Homes and Gardens, held late September through late October, also offer an intimate glimpse of Charleston's architectural heritage; phone (843) 722-4630.