Historic Aiken-Rhett House | Provided

To welcome in the holiday season and celebrate what makes Charleston a destination, Southern Living magazine has teamed up with Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) and Explore Charleston to host the first-ever Illumination Charleston weekend Dec. 2-5.

Events — several of which are already sold out — will be held throughout the three days to explore Southern culture, art, design and of course, holiday decorations.

Ballroom mantle in the Aiken-Rhett House | Provided

Cooking demonstrations, historic home tours, a designer speaker series, holiday market and a Ranky Tanky concert — not sold out! — are just a few of the many activities taking place over the weekend.

“HCF is excited to showcase the power of preservation using Charleston’s historic downtown as a backdrop to the weekend’s events featuring a unique combination of historic venues, top designers, makers, entertainers and a holiday celebration that is not to be missed!” said president and CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation Winslow Hastie in a press release.

The festivities begin Thursday with an opening night party at the Aiken-Rhett House. A variety of events are scheduled during the day and evening on Friday and Saturday with a tour of the historic Nathaniel Russell House wrapping up the weekend of events on Sunday.

The Charleston Visitor Center will host a Saturday Holiday Market featuring a range of pop-up shops handpicked by some of Southern Living’s Tastemakers from 2019, 2020 and 2021.

“Illumination Charleston will be a special gathering of some of the most inspiring tastemakers, designers, and chefs in the South (and beyond!),” said Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, in a press release. “We’re excited to create a new experience that celebrates the joys of the season in a city that pulls out all the stops for the holidays.”

Saturday night, head to the Charleston Visitor Center Bus Shed from 7:30-10 p.m. to catch a performance by local Grammy Award-winning band Ranky Tanky. Tickets for this event also include local barbecue items and beverages from area breweries, wineries and distilleries.

For a full schedule of events or to purchase tickets, check out illuminationcharleston.com.

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