Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Charleston. Steamed buckets of oysters greet visitors at Boone Hall Plantation. Enjoy live music, oyster-shucking contests, kids' events, and other activities. Contact the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association (tel. 843/577-4030; www.charlestonrestaurantassociation.com) for more information. End of January.


Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Charleston. More than 150 of the finest artists and more than 500 exhibitors participate at 13 locations in the downtown area. Enjoy carvings, sculptures, paintings, live-animal exhibits, food, and much more. Call tel. 843/723-1748 or visit www.sewe.com for details. Mid-February.

Africa Alive, Rock Hill. Learn about African heritage by way of storytelling, craft activities, exhibits, music, and dance from the Museum of York County. Call tel. 803/329-2121 or visit www.chmuseums.org for more information. Late February.


Festival of Houses and Gardens, Charleston. For nearly 50 years, people have been enjoying some of Charleston's most historic neighborhoods and private gardens on this tour. Contact the Historic Charleston Foundation, 40 E. Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401 (tel. 843/723-1623; www.historiccharleston.org) for details. Mid-March to mid-April.

Charleston Food + Wine Festival, Charleston. Four days of parties, events, and seminars mark this world-class culinary festival that draws the likes of Bobby Flay. Call tel. 843/727-9998 or visit www.charlestonfoodandwine.com for details. Late February to early March.


Cooper River Bridge Run, Charleston. Sponsored by the Medical University of South Carolina, this run and walk starts in Mount Pleasant, goes over the Cooper River Bridge, and ends in the center of Charleston. The run is the best-organized and best-conducted 10K race in the world. For information, call tel. 843/856-1949 or visit www.bridgerun.com. Early April.

Carolina Cup, Camden. The elaborate picnics with silver candelabras and crystal champagne flutes make this annual steeplechase race an event to remember. Contact the Springdale Race Course (tel. 803/432-6513; www.carolina-cup.org) for more information. Early April.

World Grits Festival, St. George. This unique festival is a celebration of that famous Southern staple, grits! For years, contestants have competed in grits grinding, corn shelling, grits eating, and best recipes, as well as traditional festivities. Call tel. 843/563-7943 or visit www.worldgritsfestival.com to find out more. Early April.

Flowertown Festival, Summerville. More than 180 booths of arts and crafts, a road race, a "Youth Fest," and lots of entertainment are set in this historic city surrounded by brilliant azalea and dogwood blossoms. Contact the YMCA (tel. 843/871-9622) to learn more. First weekend in April.

Family Circle Cup, Charleston. Moved from Hilton Head to a tennis center in Charleston, the Family Circle Cup WTA tournament is one of the oldest on the women's pro tour. For information, call tel. 843/856-7900 or go to www.familycirclecup.com. Mid-April.

Verizon Heritage, Hilton Head. This $5.3-million tournament brings an outstanding field of PGA tour professionals to this event each year. The weeklong tournament is held at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Plantation. Contact Classic Sports, Inc., 71 Lighthouse Rd., Ste. 414, Hilton Head, SC 29928 (tel. 800/234-1107 or 843/671-2448; www.verizonheritage.com) for more information. Mid-April.


Spring Fling, Spartanburg. Live entertainment mixed with arts, crafts, and games make this a popular annual event. Contact Spartanburg Community Events (tel. 864/594-3105) for details. Early May.

Iris Festival, Sumter. The world-famous Swan Lake Iris Gardens is the setting for this elaborate festival of arts and crafts, food, concerts, garden tours, and a parade. Call tel. 800/688-4748 or visit www.irisfestival.org for more information. Late May.

Carolina Dodge Challenger 500 and Diamond Hill Plywood 200, Darlington. This is stock car racing's original superspeedway. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series now features a full weekend of night racing, called "under the lights." For tickets, contact tel. 843/459-7223 or 395-8877 or visit www.darlingtonraceway.com. Mother's Day weekend.

Pontiac GMC Freedom Weekend Aloft, Anderson. This 4-day extravaganza features big-name entertainment, amusement rides, 100 hot-air balloons, fireworks, and more at the city's Sports & Entertainment Center. Contact Freedom Weekend Aloft (tel. 864/399-9481; www.freedomweekend.org) for more information. Memorial Day weekend.

Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston. This is the premier cultural event in the tri-state area. This famous international festival -- the American counterpart of the equally celebrated one in Spoleto, Italy -- showcases world-renowned performers in drama, dance, music, and art in various venues throughout the city. For details and this year's schedule, contact Spoleto Festival USA (tel. 843/722-2764; www.spoletousa.org). Late May through early June.


Edisto Riverfest, Walterboro. The main attractions at this festival are guided trips down the "blackwater" (water darkened from tree tannins) Edisto River. Call tel. 803/734-0156 or visit www.edistoriver.org for details. Mid-June.


Lake Murray's July 4th Celebration, Columbia. Lake Murray plays host to some 100 boats decorated in red, white, and blue. A fireworks display is held at night. Contact the Lake Murray Tourism and Recreation Association (tel. 866/SC-JEWEL; www.lakemurraycountry.com) for more information. First Saturday in July.

Two Days, Round the Fourth, Conway. Gather along the Waccamaw River for 2 days of arts and crafts, live entertainment, food, Jell-O jumps, raft races, boat rides, and fireworks. Contact the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce (tel. 843/248-2273; www.roundthefourth.com) for more information. Early July.


Shawfest, Shaw Air Force Base, near Sumter and Cherryvale. Onlookers are treated to an air show featuring some of the air force's top pilots and jets. Call tel. 800/511-SHAW (7429) or visit www.shaw.af.mil for additional information. Early August in odd years.

Summerfest, York. Loads of live entertainment is presented here with four stages, crafts, country food, and a classic car show. Contact the York County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau (tel. 803/684-2590; www.greateryorkchamber.com) for more information. Fourth Saturday in August.


South Carolina's Largest Garage Sale, Myrtle Beach. One person's trash is another person's treasure. Vendors set up shop in a large parking garage to sell clothing, furniture, household goods, and hundreds of other bargains. Contact the Myrtle Beach Area Visitor Information (tel. 800/36-3016 or 843/626-7444; www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com) for more information. Mid-September.

Scottish Games and Highland Gathering, Charleston. This gathering of Scottish clans features medieval games, bagpipe performances, Scottish dancing, and other traditional activities. Call the Scottish Society of Charleston (tel. 843/224-7867; www.charlestonscots.org) for more information. Third Saturday in September.

Candlelight Tour of Homes & Gardens, Charleston. Sponsored by the Preservation Society of Charleston, this annual event provides an intimate look at many of the area's historic homes, gardens, and churches. For more information, call tel. 843/722-4630 or visit www.preservationsociety.org. Mid-September to late October.

MOJA Festival, Charleston. Celebrating the rich African-American heritage in the Charleston area, this festival features lectures, art exhibits, stage performances, historical tours, concerts, and much more. Contact the Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs (tel. 843/724-7305; www.mojafestival.com) for more information. Late September to early October.


A Taste of Charleston, Charleston. Traditionally held at Boone Hall Plantation, this annual event offers an afternoon of food, fun, entertainment, and more. A selection of Charleston-area restaurants offers their specialties in bite-size portions so you can sample them all. For more information, call tel. 843/577-4030 or visit www.charlestonrestaurantassociation.com. Early October.

Fall for Greenville, Greenville. This annual 3-day event features more than 40 restaurants and food vendors from around the city presenting a wide variety of their tasty wares. Events include a chili cook-off, cooking classes, ice carving demonstrations, a bartender's mix-off, a waiter's race, and a bike race, along with free entertainment. For more information, call 864/235-5525 or visit www.mainstevents.com. Mid-October.

Governor's Cup, Columbia. This event, more than half a century old, is comprised of a half-marathon, an 8km run, a 4-mile EdVenture Walk, and a Kids Fun Run beginning at 8:30am on the State Capitol grounds. Conducted by the Carolina Marathon Association. Call tel. 803/731-2100 or visit www.carolinamarathon.org for more information. Mid-October.

Fall Festival of Houses, Beaufort. Frank Lloyd Wright's Aldbrass Plantation is only one of the beautiful homes on this tour. The public is invited to get a rare look at this coastal city's most stately residences during a 3-day tour. Call tel. 843/379-3331 or go to www.historic-beaufort.org for more information. Late October.


Merrily Myrtle: A Holiday Celebration, Myrtle Beach. The Grand Strand is decorated in a profusion of lights. This months-long celebration has a lineup that includes concerts, parades, and festivals. Contact the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (tel. 800/356-3016; www.mbchamber.com) for more information. November to January 15.

Christmas in Charleston, Charleston. This month-long celebration features home and church tours, Christmas-tree lightings, craft shows, artistry, and a peek at how Old Charleston celebrated the holiday season. For more information on how to participate or to visit, call tel. 800/774-0006 or visit www.christmasincharleston.com. Early November to late December.

Colonial Cup, Camden. Every year, this prestigious steeplechase race determines the champion and winner of the NSA's Eclipse award. Tailgating in style is a trademark of this event, with tables covered in linen and patrons dressed in hats and sport coats. Contact the Springdale Race Course (tel. 803/432-6513; www.carolina-cup.org) for more information. Mid-November.

Lights Before Christmas, Columbia. The Riverbanks Zoo becomes a holiday wonderland when thousands of lights are strung around the park. Contact the Riverbanks Zoo (tel. 803/779-8717; www.riverbanks.org) for more information. Late November to late December.

St. Francis Festival of Trees, Greenville. Professionally decorated trees are displayed in the Hyatt Regency, Westin Poinsett, and Hampton Inn & Suites-Riverplace. A teddy bear tea, Gingerbread Land, and family brunch are special attractions. Call tel. 864/255-1199 or visit www.stfrancistrees.com for more information. Late November to late December.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.