Latin American Festival

This year’s Latin American Festival will be at Wannamaker County Park on Sunday. File/Wade Spees

In the immortal words of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, “Come on, shake your body baby, do the conga; I know you can’t control yourself any longer.” But where are you going to “let the music move your feet,” you ask? At the 27th annual Latin American Festival at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston on Sunday, of course. It’s time to “get your salsa on” with a day full of the electrifying culture of our neighbors to the south.

As far as entertainment goes, prepare to “baila, baila, baila” (dance, dance, dance) to four-time Grammy nominee Plena Libre, considered “the soul of Puerto Rico in three-part harmony,” regional mexicano music from Kimberly La Guerrera and “tropical pop” from UltimaNota. The local Buen Ache Dance Group will perform traditional Afro-Latino dances and always a thrill, members of Capoeira Charleston will show off their Brazilian martial arts and acrobatics skills. If you’ve got the moves, be sure to enter yourself into the salsa dance contest scheduled for later in the afternoon.

Sunday’s Latin American Festival will feature a full day of live entertainment. Provided/Charleston County Parks and Recreation

As for the food: amarillos, empenadas, pinchos, arroz con pollo, ceviche, tacos, fajitas and mucho mas. There will be kids’ activities, art and additional vendors on site as well. Outside coolers and dogs are prohibited.

WHEN: Noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14

WHERE: Wannamaker County Park, 8888 University Blvd., North Charleston

PRICE: $10 general; free for ages 12 years and younger

MORE INFO: 843-795-4386,

Lowcountry Paws Pet Expo

The Lowcountry Paws Pet Expo on Saturday will feature vendors for all kinds of pets. File photo

Lions and tigers and bears, oh, nope! The annual Lowcountry Paws Pet Expo at the Charleston Area Convention Center on Saturday will focus more on the Garfield variety of cats, as opposed to the likes of Mufasa and Shere Khan. Dogs, birds, guinea pigs, lizards and fish will also be in the mix, but alas, no Baloos. The expo will feature more than 40 vendors in the areas of pet health and wellness, training, food, supplies and more. Adoptable pets will be on site and attendees will have opportunities to win gifts and prizes. There will be demonstrations from the Charleston Dog Wizard and the MUSC Pet Therapy Team, and, of course, a Halloween Pet Costume Contest. You are welcome to bring your pets, but they must be on a non-retractable leash — even cats (I’ve seen it).

WHEN: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

WHERE: Charleston Area Convention Center, 5000 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston

PRICE: $3 adults; free for kids and pets; free parking

MORE INFO: 843-937-4831,

Hot Air Balloon Festival

When I think of hot air balloons, the films “Wizard of Oz” and “Up” immediately come to mind, but I’ve never considered that seeing one in real life would be an option here. But now it IS an option at Saturday’s Charleston Hot Air Balloon Festival at Hyde Park Polo Club in Ravenel. Attendees will have opportunities to go up for a tethered ride, and in the evening there will be balloon night glows, a “spectacular display of color and sound” as the “shapes and colors come to life” and float above the crowd with music, lights and special effects, all weather-permitting, of course. A dozen balloons are scheduled to be on site for launches.

But the festival is more than just balloons: Food, beverage and additional vendors will be set up, as well as bounce houses and other kids’ activities, and The Spazmatics will take the stage on Friday night. Saturday afternoon will feature Victory Cup polo matches and the balloons and vendors will be back Saturday night with live music from The First Class Band.

VIP and alternative polo viewing and activity options are also available. This is a pet-friendly event, but they must be leashed at all times. No outside coolers permitted.

WHEN: 4-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13; polo matches: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

WHERE: Hyde Park Polo Club, 6763 Davis Road, Ravenel

PRICE: Kids pass ages 3-18 years: $5; free for ages 2 years and younger; Friday night and Saturday morning balloon festival pass: $10; Saturday all-day balloon festival and polo access pass: $22-$25; tethered ride pass: $30 per person; Saturday polo: $45-$50 individual, $80-$90 couple; Saturday polo VIP: $125-$150 individual, $225-$270 couple; additional Saturday activity and VIP options: $190-$1,500; $15-$20 parking

MORE INFO: 512-953-9428,

Fall Festivals and Fairs

It’s stayed relatively warm this month, but hopefully autumn will be in the air as local townships and venues host their annual fall festivals and fairs this weekend.

The Fall Fun Festival at Knightsville General Store in Summerville on Saturday and Sunday will feature hayrides, horse rides, a petting zoo and games, including Cow Patty Bingo (as opposed to Cock-a-Doodle-Poo). There also will be food and beverages, arts and crafts and a Knightsville Porch Jam.

WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14

WHERE: Knightsville General Store & Coffee House, 1700 Central Ave., Summerville

PRICE: Free admission; $1 per activity ticket; $5 per bingo square

MORE INFO: 843-285-8116,

The Goose Creek Fall Festival at the municipal center on Saturday will feature local entertainment, crafters, exhibitors, food vendors and children’s activities. Proceeds will benefit Helping Hands of Goose Creek and attendees are encouraged to donate canned goods to the organization.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

WHERE: Marguerite H. Brown Municipal Center, 519 N. Goose Creek Blvd.

PRICE: Free admission and parking

MORE INFO: 843-569-4242,

October doesn’t automatically imply pirates, but since Blackbeard’s last battle was in October (allegedly) and Anne Bonny was captured in October (allegedly), it seems fittin’ that I include this weekend’s Palmetto Pirate Festival at Old Santee Canal Park. Presented by the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center with an emphasis on the Golden Age of Piracy, this event will focus on South Carolina’s colonial and maritime history: The Charles Towne Few (pirate crew) will set up an all-day encampment, re-enactors include Blackbeard, Anne Bonny and Mary Read (and a mermaid), and there will be artillery cannon firing demonstrations, blacksmithing, colonial dancing, performances, kids’ activities, tours and more.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14

WHERE: Old Santee Canal Park, 950 Stony Landing Road, Moncks Corner

PRICE: $5 per person; free for ages 6 years and younger

MORE INFO: 843-899-5101,

The annual Oktoberfest at St. Matthew’s Lutheran is an extensive celebration and all “saints and sinners willkommen (welcome)” for beer from Holy City Brewery, authentic German food (spelled with lots of consonants in a row) and wine, music from the Hans Schmidt German Band and Ed Morris on accordion and kids’ activities. Don’t forget your dirndl and lederhosen for a photo opportunity with Martin Luther (German theologian and reformer) on the church steps.

WHEN: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

WHERE: St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 405 King St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: $20 adult; $10 child; beer and wine tickets sold separately

MORE INFO: 843-723-1611,

In celebration of the season, the Nexton Fall Street Fair & Food Truck Rodeo in Summerville will feature family-friendly games and activities, live music from the 8 Mile Bend Band, a biergarten and food trucks from Mac Daddy, The Waffle Connection, Greekin’ Out, Semilla and Gelati Motto.

The Mac Daddy food truck will be one of many at Saturday’s Nexton Fall Street Fair & Food Truck Rodeo. Michael Wiser/ Special to the Post and Courier

WHEN: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

WHERE: Brighton Park Village at Nexton, 106 Greeting House Road, Summerville

PRICE: Free admission; pay-as-you-go for food trucks

MORE INFO: 843-687-0706,

This weekend’s annual Autumn on the Ashley Arts & Crafts Fair at Magnolia Plantation will feature dozens of Lowcountry artisans and crafters with a broad scope of items available for purchase and there also will be a fall plant and flower sale, from bulbs to blooms. These events are separate from general garden admission and tours.

WHEN: 9 a.m-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14

WHERE: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston

PRICE: Free admission to crafts fair and plant sale

MORE INFO: 843-571-1266,