Charleston Will Celebrate History & Gardens in Spring Festival

History buffs—and garden buffs, and architecture and design buffs—who would rather stay in the Continental 48 will want to head to Charleston this spring: The Historic Charleston Foundation, which works to "preserve and protect the integrity of Charleston's architectural, historical, and cultural heritage," has announced the dates for the 66th annual spring Festival of Houses and Gardens, which will take place from March 21 through April 20, 2013. The Festival lets visitors tour some of Charleston’s finest private houses and gardens in the city's historic district during peak blooming season. 

Other special events include a concert series, wine and spirit tastings, lectures and more. Kicking off the Festival’s first weekend of festivities is the 10th annual Charleston Antiques Show, March 22-24, 2013. The Festival of Houses and Gardens and the Charleston Antiques Show celebrate the decorative arts, history and culture found only in Charleston. Tickets for both events will go on sale November 1, 2012.

The 66th annual spring Festival of Houses and Gardens includes a series of tours and events:

• House and Garden Tours: Each self-guided tour will provide exclusive access into the private residences and historic properties otherwise only viewed from the sidewalks of Charleston’s earliest neighborhoods. 

• Daily Morning History Walks: Expert guides lead two-hour walking tours of the Old and Historic District, providing the background for the Festival’s house and garden tours. 

• Musical Concerts: From bluegrass to instrumental classical music, each concert is a special opportunity for guests to experience period music in an intimate historic setting with informative interpretations.

• Luncheon Lectures: This series of presentations features different speakers daily along with a light lunch. Participants can also take part in a brief tour or hands-on experience that relates to the day’s topic.

• Wine and Spirits Tastings: Guests can sample local wines with paired hors d’oeuvres to get an idea of Charleston's culinary scene.

Learn more about the house and garden tours and special events of the spring Festival of Houses and Gardens at www.historiccharleston.org/Festival.

In its 10th year, the Charleston Antiques Show, managed by The Antiques Council, will kick off the Festival with several special opportunities to learn more about rare antiques and decorative arts:

• Preview Party: An elaborate social event with entertainment and elegant décor in a setting that showcases the decorative arts—the historic Memminger Auditorium. The Preview Party provides an exclusive, first glimpse of the show before it opens to the public.

• Special Event Package: Members of the Charleston Antiques Show’s “Collectors Circle” will be invited to the Preview Party as well a private cocktail hour preceding the event. The Collectors Circle package also includes exclusive invitations to parties in historic, private residences; access to the private Collectors Circle Room, an elegantly designed space adjacent to the show floor; unlimited daily admission to the show through private entrance and more.

• Behind-the-Scenes Tours: Guests will learn more about the art of collecting antiques and how to incorporate historic objects with contemporary design during educational and entertaining tours of the show led by industry experts.

Learn more about the Charleston Antiques Show at, www.historiccharleston.org/AntiquesShow.

Best of all, private, customized connoisseur tours are also available for small groups—visit www.historiccharleston.org/SpecialTours for more information. Tickets for all events will go on sale November 1—visit www.historiccharleston.org.

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