March not only signifies the start of a new season, but it also provides lots of ways to spring into action in South Carolina with some of the state's best food and drink events to history and horse racing. With a variety of activities, this month is sure to provide plenty of excuses to get out and explore South Carolina.
Charleston Wine + Food - March 1-5
It has become an annual tradition for renowned chefs, both native and international, to showcase their talents at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. The five-day event will focus on Charleston's cultural cuisine and will benefit local culinary causes. Activities range from signature dinners to classes about wine and seminars and workshops with featured chefs. One of the most popular events is the Culinary Village, which includes an artisan market, live music, wine and beer tastings, cooking demonstrations and numerous food and beverage exhibits that are sure to satisfy your appetite. All this is just a taste of what this first weekend in Charleston holds. Information, schedules, tickets and more can be found here.
Battle for Broxton Bridge - March 3-5
Civil War history buffs can't miss the 152nd anniversary of the Battle for Broxton Bridge, which will be celebrated by its 16th annual re-enactment in Ehrhardt. The weekend will kick off with a Living History Day educational event on Friday, and battle re-enactments will take place on both Saturday and Sunday. Those who are traveling to take part have the option to camp at Braxton Bridge Plantation and can make RV reservations ahead of time. There will be vendors offering food and beverages, and there also will be merchandise available for purchase. More details can be found here.
Lucky Shamrock Festival - March 17
Downtown Florence is the site of the 4th annual Lucky Shamrock Festival. The streets will be filled on Friday night with festivalgoers looking for a way to take part in St. Patrick's Day cheer. The fun begins early in the evening with family-friendly entertainment and band performances, classic Irish and American cuisine, St. Patrick's themed foods and plenty of libations to go around. Attending the Lucky Shamrock Festival is a great way to kick off St. Patrick's Day weekend! For more information regarding the event, visit their Facebook page.
Smoke in the 'Boro - March 17-18
If you've never visited the town of Walterboro, Smoke in the 'Boro is a prime opportunity to take the trip. For the third year in a row, this weekend in Walterboro will attract a crowd for two days of various barbecue competitions and contests. Registered participants will provide plenty of pork to be judged as they compete for bragging rights, while those attending will enjoy the large quantities that are available for consumption. Smoke in the 'Boro also provides fun activities for kids and gives everyone the chance to leave with a belly-full of some of the best barbecue around.
St. Pat's in Five Points - March 18
As luck would have it, one of the best places to observe St. Patrick's Day this year is in Columbia. This annual St. Patrick's Day event is attended by more than 45,000 people and begins with the largest road race in Columbia, which adds a 15K race this year to its usual 5K and 10K events. If you get there by 10 a.m., you can catch a glimpse of the parade on Devine Street. The festival includes lots of food and music, with stages set up at several places throughout Five Points. The featured bands will represent different genres, and there will even be the opportunity to join in a silent disco. If you're bringing children, stop by Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park before or after checking out St. Pat's, as it will be the site of a number of kid-friendly activities. With incredible performances, local food vendors and an abundance of drink options, Columbia is the place to be to celebrate our favorite Irish holiday. Find a lineup for music here.
Pet Fest - March 18-19
Animal lovers will unite in Charleston this month to participate in Pet Fest. The weekend gives owners countless opportunities to pamper their pets, as well as enter them in various contests. There will be tents devoted to nutrition, education and training for those hoping to gain new knowledge about their furry friend. Plus, the festival includes Search, Tactics and Rescue/Recovery Team demonstrations, a dog show and different skills tests and certifications for dogs. And if you have been looking for a chance to find a four-legged family member, look no further. Rescue groups will be there with animals available for adoption. With all the pet-oriented activities, food, drink and musical performances, there's no better way to spend some quality time with your canine. Read more here.
Hilton Head Island Wingfest - March 24-25
Hilton Head's Wingfest is a wing-lover's dream come true. It begins at Friday night's tailgate with music, a laser light show and of course, more wings and tailgating treats than you can savor. The event continues Saturday morning with the 2016 Best Wings of Hilton Head contest. As many as 20 restaurants will compete for the title, meaning there will be at least that many sources of mouthwatering wings to sample before casting your vote. The festival will also feature a kid's zone, a bungee jump and a rock wall for those looking for a little more activity.
RenoFest Bluegrass Festival - March 24-26
Hartsville will be hosting its RenoFest Bluegrass Festival on East College Avenue, beginning Friday with the RenoFest SC State Championship Bluegrass Band Contest. Music continues through the night as local restaurants sell refreshments while the winners from the afternoon's competition, along with other bluegrass bands, perform a street concert. Those who are interested can check out participating venues after the action dies down on the streets, as many are open late. Saturday will consist of contests and concerts as well as an all-day outdoor festival. Make plans to head to Hartsville and enjoy a weekend of jam sessions featuring some of the best of South Carolina bluegrass. Learn more and purchase tickets here.
Aiken Spring Steeplechase - March 25
You don't have to travel all the way to Kentucky to witness some great horse racing this spring. March marks the 51st renewal of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase. This event has been bringing people together for years through its traditional carriage parades, various contests, shopping opportunities and thrilling horse races. This year's event will also play host to the Easter Bunny and an Easter egg hunt for the younger attendees. Information about tickets for the Spring Steeplechase Imperial Cup can be found here.
Guy Osborne Memorial Pawleys Island Turtle Strut 5K/8K - March 25
If you enjoy taking in a run with a view, sign up for the Turtle Strut on Pawleys Island. Runners can't miss the breathtaking views of the island first thing in the morning when the spring air is at its freshest. And those who prefer a flat course are in luck, as both the 5K and 8K paths are on a consistent level terrain. Although they are different lengths, both legs of the Turtle Strut will finish at the Nature Park, so finishers can celebrate all together. And once the race is over, set out and take your time exploring the island, experiencing all that the Hammock Coast has to offer.