For the 15th time, Charleston becomes a work of art. FestivALL returns this week, bringing with it over two weeks of music, art, dance and theater.
Events range from fun for the whole family, like the annual street fairs and the art parade, to evening concerts and gatherings that are probably meant for a more grown-up crowd.
Many FestivALL events are free and open to the public, but some are not. They require tickets and may have limited seating.
According to the city, FestivALL begins Sunday, but the Charleston Town Center Teen and College Student Art Search began Wednesday, the Downtown Open began today and Charleston Light Opera Guild’s annual early summer production, “Bright Star,” opens Friday.
There are also events scheduled for Saturday, including Global Water Dances, “an interactive celebration of West Virginia waters,” on the Schoenbaum Stage at Haddad Riverfront Park.
The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs will also present its annual Juneteenth Celebration on the Capitol grounds and Ensemble Radieuse performs for the Charleston Chamber Music Society at Christ Church United Methodist.
For the official beginning of FestivALL on Sunday, highlights include the Father’s Day Downtown Open with a special putt-putt tournament to celebrate fathers or the male figures in a child’s life, music, dance and art along the Sunrise Carriage Trail, and Jazz and Jambalaya, which includes a cooking demonstration with dinner followed by music from the Bob Thompson Unit.
FestivALL picks up steam as it goes along, building steadily toward the weekends, but there’s plenty to do during the work week.
Here are a few highlights for the first week:
Monday night, FestivALL and West Virginia Power Baseball celebrate their 15th seasons and welcome the South Atlantic League All-Star games with a free FestivALL-Star concert with the Davisson Brothers Band at Haddad Riverfront Park.
The music begins at 7 p.m., but there’s an autograph session at 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday at 6 p.m. Taylor Books hosts the “Feminine Rising” book reading featuring authors Ann Pancake, Pauletta Hansel and Llewellyn McKernan.
Wednesday at 7 p.m., Jeff Shirley’s speaker series, “Three Things — My First, My Favorite and My Future,” returns to the John L. Dickinson Family Homeowner Community Center (at Habitat for Humanity) on Court Street, with guests Tighe Bullock, Adam Harris and Leeshia Lee.
Admission is $10 for adults.
Then Thursday, FestivALL’s edition of ArtWalk begins downtown at 5 p.m. along with the pepperoni-lovers event, Rolls on the River, at Haddad Riverfront Park.
Admission is $35 for adults. Non-drinker tickets are $15, and children are admitted for $5. More information at rollsontheriver.com.
Thursday is also opening night for Charleston Youth Art Company’s production of “Jack the Ripper” at CYAC’s new theater in Elk City.
Admission for adults is $15. Students and seniors are $8 and are available at the door.
Next weekend brings “Live on the Levee” with Here Come the Mummies, the FestivALL Art Parade, Brent Green: A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness at the Clay Center, Dance FestivALL and “Mountain Stage” with Steve Earle and the Dukes and More.
FestivALL continues on into week two with The Mayor’s Concert, headlined by genre-bending Houston band The Suffers, “Live on the Levee” with The Verve Pipe, the Capitol Street Art Fair, Wine & Jazz Music Festival and much, much more.
Regardless of when FestivALL officially begins, it officially closes Sunday, June 30 with “Mountain Stage” at the Culture Center Theater with guests the John Pizzarelli Trio, Catherine Russell and Devotchka.
For more information about FestivALL visit festivallcharleston.com.