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Piccolo Spoleto has announced its festival lineup, and it’s a whopper.

Of course, Piccolo Spoleto is the “little sister” of Spoleto Festival USA, and the two run concurrently with each other.  This year it’s Friday, May 24th through Sunday, June 9th.

Spoleto tickets have been available for some time, as I’ve covered in this blog.  But Piccolo Spoleto announces their performers and schedules much later than big sis Spoleto does, and much closer to the festival itself… in other words, now.

No doubt that’s because they have so many more events to coordinate and finalize  –  literally in the hundreds.  Piccolo Spoleto 2019’s official guide is a whopping 76 pages long.  As usual, there’s a myriad of great things to choose from; it’s actually a bit of over-choice.


Get The Official Piccolo Spoleto Guide Now


You can pick up a printed copy of the guide around town, or at their main office.  The City of Charleston runs Piccolo Spoleto through its Office of Cultural Affairs, located at 75 Calhoun Street, Suite 3800.  It’s open Monday through Friday from 9:00 – 5:00.

They will also be glad to mail you a copy.  Just give them a call at 843-724-7305 or email CulturalAffairs@charleston-sc.gov.

The schedule is also available online.  Here’s a link to the 76-page Piccolo Festival schedule.

By the way, you never know what kind of up-and-coming talent you might discover at Piccolo.  About a dozen years ago, a young and relatively unknown comic named Amy Schumer was the warm-up act for Isaac Witty in a Piccolo Spoleto event!


What’s Piccolo Spoleto offering this year?


Here’s the official website with access to all the events.  You can search by date or by category –  festival traditions; music; theatre & dance; literary, heritage & ideas; or visual arts.

The festival traditions category is especially fun.  Most of those are free and fun large-scale events, like the Sunset Serenade, Family Day at Marion Square, the Memorial Day Concert, Sand Sculpting Competition here on the Isle of Palms, Piccolo Spoleto Finale, and the ever popular Seed & Feed Marching Abominable.

Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 866-811-4111, or in person at the Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun Street, 9:00am – 5:00pm daily from Tuesday, April 30. Payments accepted: All major credit cards, cash, or check.

A Charleston beach house is an easy drive from all Spoleto or Piccolo Spoleto events, most of which take place on the downtown peninsula.  It also provides you with a beach vacation at the same time.


Free Spoleto Artist Talks, or “Salons”


If you’ve been to Spoleto before, you know that tickets can be a bit pricey, especially for large productions like operas and theater performances.  That’s one thing that makes Piccolo Spoleto a nice option.  Many events are free or are much less expensive than Spoleto events.

Well, this year Spoleto itself is offering free artist talks, or Spoleto Salons, happening three Tuesdays in a row leading up to the festival.  The first one is tonight.  They are free, but you do need to reserve a spot.


Here’s more about the free salons from Spoleto Festival…


The Spoleto Salons—hosted at The Murray Center, 14 George Street—aim to illuminate elements of the 2019 Festival, offering fascinating behind-the-scenes perspectives from various creative personnel. Salons are free and open to the public; reservations required. Use the buttons below to reserve your seat or call (843) 579-3100.


Tuesday, April 30, at 5:30pm
Moderated by Edward Hart



How has Spoleto Festival USA changed the physical and cultural landscape of Charleston? The Festival has not only been instrumental in the preservation of some of Charleston’s most well-known theaters and buildings but has also been a catalyst for creating new performing arts spaces for artists throughout the city. Further, how has the Festival been a beacon for attracting people to the Charleston area?



Tuesday, May 7, at 5:30pm
Moderated by Edward Hart



Best known for the “Dance of the Seven Veils,” Strauss’s opera Salome is as riveting today as it was at its 1905 premiere. The libretto―dripping with opulent language from Oscar Wilde’s play by the same name―depicts the biblical story of Herod’s lovesick stepdaughter and John the Baptist’s ill fate. Please join us for a discussion with Salome Directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser as we discover how time has influenced their career in storytelling.



Tuesday, May 14, at 5:30pm
Moderated by Edward Hart



You may not know her name yet, but soprano Melanie Henley Heyn is a star in the making—and singing the title role in this season’s all-new production of Salome, Strauss’s notorious opera. Born in a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Melanie studied at Manhattan School of Music, University of Southern California, and the Konservatorium Wien (now the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna) in Austria. And though she has sung professionally in countless orchestral and vocal concerts around the globe, performing as Salome at Spoleto Festival USA will be her full-length opera debut. Please join us for a discussion with Melanie as we discover what it takes to become a leading soprano.



So plan your Piccolo Spoleto experience now, and call EP ASAP if you’d like a beach house for a festival home base.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

On the heels of last month’s Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, get set for another holiday-themed fun run happening this weekend, the ever-popular Reindeer Run.  More about that in a minute.

As I covered in that last blog, this past weekend was filled with tree lightings and parades.  They were set for various venues around the Lowcountry, all within easy driving (or even walking) distance of the Isle of Palms.


Weather and schedules


Alas, the weather was a bit uncooperative, as rains put a damper on certain events.

Saturday’s Isle of Palms Street Festival and Tree Lighting went on as scheduled.  The free carnival rides were spinning, including a big Ferris wheel on Ocean Boulevard near Front Beach.

Sunday’s events didn’t fare quite as well.  Out of an abundance of caution, the powers-that-be decided to postpone the downtown Charleston Christmas Parade It’s been rescheduled for Sunday, December 16th.

The parade specs will stay the same.  It will start at 3:00 p.m. near Colonial Lake, travel up Broad Street to King Street, then on up to Marion Square.  If you’re in one of our beach rentals Charleston that weekend, it’s worth a trip to the peninsula.  After all, Santa will be there.

The tree lighting ceremony was skipped due to the weather.  But fear not, they lighted the tree and Marion Square anyway, just without the official hoopla.


Free parking when heading downtown 


I’ve covered this before, and I’ll cover it again.  The City of Charleston is offering a nice holiday gift of two hours of free parking in one of several downtown parking garages.  Of course a visit to the Isle of Palms isn’t complete without a trip to the historic peninsula.  This helps out.

You can print out a voucher here.  Or if you’d rather just show your device, here’s a link to a mobile voucher.


Run, Run Rudolph!


This coming Saturday morning, December 8th, is the 28th annual Reindeer Run and Walk.

There will be cash prizes, creative costumes, kids and dogs.  Unlike the Turkey Day Run Gobble Wobble, strollers and dogs are not only allowed, but actually encouraged.  It tends to relax the scene a bit when you throw babies and canines into the mix.  It also ups the cuteness factor, bigtime.  There’s also free beer and a big afterparty for those 21 and over.

The Reindeer Run is a 5K (3.1 miles) through the streets of the lower peninsula of downtown Charleston.  It’s quite a scenic route.  It’s just the thing to get you in the mood for Christmas and is well suited for all fitness levels.

They give awards for kids 6 & under and adults up to 99 and beyond. You are encouraged to dress in your best holiday costumes to win fabulous prizes.  Categories include: Adult Individual, Child Individual, Group and Dog.


More specs on the Reindeer Run 


Runners start at 9:00 a.m., walkers at 9:05 a.m.  The race/walk begins and also ends at the corner of East Bay and Queen Streets.

The Reindeer Run also happens to be a terrific fundraiser for MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and is sponsored by Half-Moon Outfitters.  Over the years they’ve raised over $1,000,000 for the hospital.  Last year alone it was $50,000.  Here’s more about the event from Count on 2.

Here’s the official website, with registration info:  http://www.reindeerrun.org/

So check it out if you’re so inclined.   And when you are looking for beach houses near Charleston, just call EP.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger