Charleston, S.C., seems to have become the home for the Southern sporting lifestyle. It’s the city from which the buzz-worthy Southern-lifestyle magazine Garden & Gun magazine is published (you’ll commonly find bird dogs gracing the covers of this fine glossy). But long before Garden & Gun inked its first copy, the city had become the home to the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), a three-day showcase of everything there is to love about wildlife and nature, scheduled for Feb. 14-16, 2014.
In a city seemingly devoted to the adoration of Southern culture, sporting and good eating, SEWE packs in a varied line-up of events with those same themes. Art auctions are held concurrently with fly-fishing demos, live music, cooking demos and animal shows. Booths and exhibits feature artists where the works tend to reflect nature motifs, and while the arts focus is central to the SEWE experience, there’s a lot more to do. Here's what to expect:
Leaps of the Faithful
At Brittlebank Park, SEWE brings the “DockDogs” competition to the exposition. The premise is simple: Dogs of all breeds and skill levels race down a dock and leap into the air, competing for the longest jump into a massive water tank. The competition is held on all three days with finals on Sunday afternoon. (If you think your dog has what it takes, enter your canine buddy at dockdogs.com.) As a bonus for dog lovers, demonstrations of trained retrieving dogs will be held twice a day at the same park.
Over at Charleston’s Marion Square, attendees will find cooking demonstrations with chefs from some of Charleston’s most renowned restaurants (including Swamp Fox’s Chef Simon Andrews and Stars’ Chef Nathan Thurston) and from cookbook authors Nathalie Dupree and Holly Herrick.
Marion Square is also the site of the entertaining and educational flight demonstrations by the Center for Birds of Prey, where you can get up close and personal with a variety of raptors including falcons, eagles, owls and hawks.
Jack Hanna and Wildlife Preservation
Charleston Music Hall will play host to shows by animal ambassador and conservationist Jungle Jack Hanna. Jack’s enthusiasm and hands-on approach have won him quite a following; that same popularity means that you will want to reserve seats as space is limited. The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary will stage twice-a-day shows from this same venue, with an introduction to the wonders of the Lowcountry ecosystem, and special appearances by some of its inhabitants like bobcats, snakes, foxes, alligators and much more. Seating is first-come, first-served.
General admission to SEWE is $17 per day for Friday and Saturday and $8.50 for Sunday; three-day tickets go for $34. Tickets to the Jack Hanna performances are $10; other special events from SEWE require separate tickets, including the SCWA Sportsman’s Ball, the Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast and VIP events like the popular SEWE Soiree on Saturday night. For more information: sewe.com.
Tip: Bring your friend. Leashed dogs are allowed at all outdoor events, but are not permitted on the SEWE shuttles that run between the different venues.