Charleston Wine + Food Festival Moving Its Culinary Village to North Charleston

Heading up the Neck for 2022

The Culinary Village will be returning for the 2022 Charleston Wine + Food Festival but not to its former home in Marion Square
The Culinary Village will be returning for the 2022 Charleston Wine + Food Festival but not to its former home in Marion Square (Leigh-Ann Beverley/Charleston Wine+Food Festival)

By Dispatch Staff

The Charleston Wine + Food Festival just announced a major new change to its programming for the upcoming event in March 2022. The festival’s anchor feature, the Culinary Village, is coming back, but for the first time in 17 years it will not be staged in Marion Square.

This morning the Festival announced the Culinary Village is moving up the peninsula for 2022 and will be held at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. We reached out to the Festival to ask about the motivating factors for the move, and a spokesperson confirmed that Covid-19 played an important role in the decision.

“The safety of our guests and talent is the main focus,” Cristy J. Armstrong wrote in an email. “especially coming off a year of a canceled festival due to COVID-19. The bigger venue will allow us to take more COVID-19 precautions.”

The Riverfront Park site will also allow for free parking and more space to highlight presenter stages, and it will also let the festival do more at the central site.

“We’ve known for some time that our festival was bursting at the seams of Marion Square,” executive director, Gillian Zettler, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to retain a foothold in the city we love even as we expand to a spot that allows more room to roam and opportunities for expanded programming.”

That additional programming will include options that don’t require a ticket, like a food truck “neighborhood” where guests can gather and buy individual food and beverage items. The main Village, though, will follow a format similar to past events. On each of three days (Friday through Sunday), an all-inclusive daily ticket allows five hours of sampling small plates and other treats, sipping wine, beer, and spirits, and watching chef demonstrations, live music, and product demos.

As we see it, this change of venue means much more than simply moving to a larger space. In the past, the Culinary Village has anchored the Festival squarely in the heart of downtown Charleston. Over the years, more and more events pushed out beyond the peninsula, and recent “excursions” have taken guests way out to the islands and up the Neck into North Charleston. Shifting the anchoring event, though, seems likely to dramatically alter the geographic focus of the Festival as a whole and disperse it more broadly around the greater Charleston area.

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Dispatch Staff

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