Impatient for Spoleto? Spend some time at the North Charleston Arts Festival while you wait, opening Friday. For nine days, there will be a cornucopia of performances, exhibitions, and activities all over the city.

The Main Event of the festival happens May 1, with 40 performances on four stages, each showcasing an eclectic array of dance, music, theater, and more. There are also juried art shows, photography, youth art, and fine crafts exhibitions. For the rest of the week, you can find individual shows all over the area ranging from free to moderately priced admissions. Some of the highlights of the week are the Comedy Circus Show with Steve Lombardo, an Irish music concert from the Buddy O’Reilly Band, an Australian music and story-telling presentation, an art walk in the Olde North Charleston Business District, and even some murder mystery dinner theater. On May 8, a grand finale at Riverfront Park will close out the festival with live music by the Yonrico Scott Band, various interactive activities, and a fireworks display over the Cooper River.