It’s just about that time of year again! The Charleston Food and Wine Festival begins THIS WEDNESDAY (March 6)! The tents are currently being set up in Marion Square in preparation for the many fabulous events being held there, including the Opening Night celebration, as well as the Culinary Village. There are numerous events being held throughout the week, as well as into the weekend, but many of these events tend to be quite high in price. Through some thorough investigating, we found that there are ways to enjoy this festival without breaking your budget.
One of the best ways we have found to enjoy the Food and Wine festival affordably is by going to the events for FREE by signing up to volunteer! In past years, we have volunteered for the festival and have been able to spend gorgeous weekend afternoons at the Culinary Village in Marion Square. It’s a great way to get an inside look at everything that goes into the production of the events, as well as having the satisfaction of helping the event run smoothly. Oh, and don’t worry..there’s a good chance you’ll get to have a little fun yourself.
2. ATTEND THE CHEAPEST EVENTS
When looking through the list of events, you will find that there are a select number of events that are under $100. Since most events are $150+, finding an event that is less than $100 is actually a real bargain. This year, we will be attending an event called “Burned”, which only costs $65 and includes food and drinks. What a steal.
3. ENTER GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
If you keep a good eye out, you’ll find that there are many ways to score FREE tickets to the festival. Good places to look are websites of local magazines, local news sources, the Charleston Food and Wine Festival website, as well as food blogger social media accounts. In fact, Charleston Magazine is currently hosting a contest, in which all you have to do is sign up for their “On the Town” newsletter to be entered to win TWO tickets to the already sold out Opening Night party! You can click here to sign up for the newsletter (ends Monday!).
4. ATTEND THE CULINARY VILLAGE ON SUNDAY (Locals Day!)
We feel that the best way to get a full-scale Food and Wine Festival experience is by attending the culinary village. It’s one of the longest running events in terms of the length of time it is held. It starts at 12pm and lasts until 5pm and goes on for THREE days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). You really get the best bang for you buck at this event because you get a full afternoon of unlimited beer, wine, cocktails, and plentiful food samples. This year, it is being held March 8, 9, and 10. We recommend buying your Culinary Village ticket for Sunday because it is Locals Day, which means locals can get a ticket for just $95, as opposed to the normal price of $135!
5. ATTEND EVENTS THAT INCLUDE BOTH FOOD AND WINE
Although we would suggest shooting for events that cost less than $100, there are a few events that are just slightly over $100, but include a full-scale meal as well as wine, beer, or cocktail pairings. If you’re feeling hungry, this is certainly another great way to get your money’s worth.
*You can find a full list of all Charleston Food and Wine Festival events here. Please note that many of the events are now sold out (still tickets left for many events less than $100!), but the festival is offering an opportunity for you to obtain sold out tickets through an exchange service called Lyte. Just click on the event you want to go to, even if it’s sold out. You will find another link to click on where you can request a ticket. If an exchange opportunity arises, you will automatically be charged for the listed price of the event.