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1 Jun 2018
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There's a trio of fun things going on today and tomorrow, including a celebration of sweetgrass, reggae music, and free doughnuts. Today is in fact a holiday.  Although it may seem a bit more frivolous than, say, Memorial Day, it actually also has roots with soldiers during wartime.

Happy National Doughnut Day!  

  Believe it or not, it was established by the Salvation Army to honor their volunteers, affectionately called “Doughnut Lassies,” who fed them to soldiers in France during World War I. And in celebration of this very important American holiday, several establishments are offering free treats or excellent discounts. Here are some of the good deals going on Friday:

  • Krispy Kreme -  Offering one free doughnut per person, in every state except Connecticut.  No strings attached  -  and you may pick any doughnut you like.
  • Dunkin Donuts -  A free classic donut with the purchase of any drink.  Absolutely free with your morning or afternoon joe!
  • Walmart -  You can get a free full-sized glazed doughnut, all day long, as long as supplies last
  • Papa John’s -  They will be launching donut holes tomorrow.  In anticipation of the rollout, they’re offering a free order of donut holes today with any online pizza order.
  • Bi-Lo -  Half off all donuts in the bakery.
  • This is pretty cool. The first 10,000 Lyft users who enter the promo code DUNKINDONUTS18 will get a free ride (up to $10).

Here’s more on the story, including other places across the land where you can score a doughnut deal on Doughnut Day.  Several of the named chains look unfamiliar.  Have a hunch many of them are in New England.  The northeast loves its doughnuts! And here’s another comprehensive list from USA Today.  

Reggae all summer long 

  Many folks come to Charleston to hear great music at Spoleto.  Staying on the Isle of Palms is a great way to experience both the festival and the beach at the same time. But the 17 days of the festival are by no means the only time when cool music serenades the Lowcountry.  Charleston is a city of culture, and music of many genres contributes to that culture.  No matter what time of year you are here, you're bound to hear good live music. Summer is no exception.  And one type of music that goes especially well with a beach house during the balmy months is reggae. Knowing this, the good folks at the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission began a summer series of Reggae Nights concerts several years ago, and it has grown in size and quality each year since.  Concerts take place on four different Saturday nights during the summer, starting tonight. The venue is the expansive James Island County Park, located at 871 Riverland Drive, west of the Ashley River. It’s a great chance to experience roots music of the fun kind, where people of all ages can chill and dance, grab a cool beverage and a bite to eat under the stars.  Food vendors include Braised in the South, ChuckTown Mobile Seafood, and Alicia’s Northside.  There will also be crafts and other booths. The popularity of the concert series has precipitated its move to the big meadow in the park, and you’re encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to enjoy the show.   Please leave coolers at home, though. The dates and performers for this summer are:

June 1st  -  Ras Bonghi Reggae All Stars (who’ve been playing together since 1987)

June 22nd  -  NDKA

July 20th  -  Amani Smith & The Give Thanks Band

August 3rd  -  Mystic Vibrations

Each concert lasts from 8:30 p.m. till 11 p.m.  Admission is $10, or free for Gold Pass members and kids 12 and under.  

Tomorrow is all about celebrating sweetgrass

  One of the most iconic symbols of the Lowcountry is the sweetgrass basket  -  a centuries-long artisan tradition that endures to this day. The artistry involved in their creation has captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike. If you’re visiting Charleston, a sweetgrass basket is perhaps the ultimate souvenir to bring back from your stay.  Folks who came here decades ago still cherish these baskets and pass them down as heirlooms. It’s classic Lowcountry with roots deep in the history of the area and the Gullah-Geechee heritage of the Sea Islands.  Gullah-Geechee is the rich culture of the descendants of enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry, especially the Sea Islands of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.  It’s characterized by a distinctive language (an English-based creole with much African influence), rice-based cuisine, music and traditions such as the weaving of baskets from native sweetgrass. Generally speaking, Gullah refers to the culture in the Carolinas, while Geechee is in Georgia and Florida. Certain places are best to find a basket.  If you’re on the Isle of Palms, just head over the IOP Connector to Highway 17, then turn right and head north toward Awendaw.  You’ll pass several roadside stands all along Highway 17. You can also head downtown to the Historic Charleston City Market.   There you’ll find some of the very best basket makers and their wares. Also, at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park, there’s a sweetgrass pavilion where you can learn more about the baskets and purchase one.

Sweetgrass Festival Time

  And coming up this weekend is a very special sweetgrass event.  It’s the 13th annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival, taking place this Saturday, June 2nd (9:00 am till 4:00 p.m.).  The venue is Memorial  Waterfront Park, under the Mount Pleasant side of the Ravenel Bridge. The Southeastern Tourism Society has named it a top-20 event.  There you will find “the most extensive showcase of sweetgrass baskets in the Lowcountry area” by over 20 different basket weavers.  There will be lots of music, gospel songs and praise dance, skits, storytelling, performances by the Adande African Drummers and Dancers, arts and crafts, documentary films, Gullah food available for purchase… all things Gullah. The festival itself and parking are free, and it’s family-friendly. Here’s the festival website with all the details. As always, when you are looking for a beach house Charleston, remember to call EP.  We have the very best. All best, Lowcountry Lisa your Isle of Palms vacation blogger