Happy Spring!

The first weekend of spring in Columbia, SC is packed with plenty of things to do. Kick off the season at the Riverbanks Botanical Garden's festival, or by digging into something a little yummier like BBQ. Head to Colonial Life Arena for a T-Party with Taylor Swift, or tour 58 'famously hot' artists' studios for free. And, if those don't fill your weekend, see what else is lined up.

Here's what's hot March 22 - 24, 2013:

FRIDAY, March 22 
Reconstructing Religion: The Presbyterian Experience at the Robert Mills House  
Join the Historic Columbia Foundation as they explore religion in Columbia, SC during the Reconstruction era (1865-1876). The exhibit will highlight the post-emancipation emergence of separate African American churches such as Ladson Presbyterian. Runs through May 12. $3 - $6.
10:00 am - 3:00 pm 

Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds 
Discover the great outdoors by browsing the latest in hunting, fishing, boating, camping and outdoor sporting equipment. Over 300 exhibitors fill the fairgrounds with demonstrations, seminars and displays. $8.
Noon - 8:00 pm 

Smokin' at the Farmers Market: Commissioners Cup BBQ Cookoff at the South Carolina State Farmer's Market
South Carolina BBQ-ers...fire up your smokers! The two-day BBQ Cookoff kicks off tonight with an "Anything Butt" tasting. Try other southern treats that complement a plate of BBQ such as coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and more. Smells of slow-cooking BBQ fill the market so prepare your taste buds to come back on Saturday for the meat. $5.
5:00 - 9:00 pm 

Capital City Shag Extravaganza IV at the Embassy Suites Columbia -Greystone
Shag away your weekend with the Capital City Shag Club! The Capital City Shag Extravaganza is a premier shag party in Columbia, SC a full weekend lineup of beach music, shag lessons and southern food. $70.
6:00 pm 

USC Gamecocks vs. Arkansas Razorbacks at Carolina Stadium
First game of the Gamecock-Razorback series!
7:00 pm


 Broadway in Columbia presents "Les Miserables" at the Koger Center for the Arts 
Boublil and Schonberg's legendary "Les Mis" celebrates its 25th year on stage with a Cameron Mackintosh revamp. The production hits the stage in Columbia, SC this weekend and is breaking box office records wherever it travels. Purchase tickets online, $45 - $65.
7:30 pm

Chapin Community Theatre's "Simply Divided" at Harbison Theatre
A comical story of an almost-abandoned town in Simply, Alaska and the gossiping (and eccentric) group of ladies who stay to watch the town dwindle. $16.
8:00 pm 

SATURDAY, March 23

Farmers Markets
Even as the Capital City, we're still lucky enough to have access to some home-grown food from area Farmer's Markets, including downtown markets like  The Market at Whaley and Soda City Market.
Most even serve hot coffee and breakfast foods! Free.
Beginning at 8:00 amGreat Columbia Quest starting at the Robert Mills House
How well do you know this famously hot city? Find 35 downtown sites in three hours. Amazing Race >hcfgreatquest.eventbrite.com. $50 for team of two.
9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Springtime at the Garden Festival at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden  
An annual kickoff to spring at the Riverbanks Zoo's Botanical Gardens. Dig up inspiration and talk with experts about planning your garden for the season. Plus, enjoy live music and activities for the whole family. Free with Zoo admission. 
9:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Smokin' at the Farmers Market: Commissioners Cup BBQ Cookoff at the South Carolina State Farmer's Market
Head to the farmer's market for a genuine South Carolina delicacy - pulled pork BBQ! Admission gets you BBQ samples all day and money benefits Harvest Hope Food Bank. $10.
10:00 am - 3:00 pm 


701 CCA Columbia Open Studios 
Tour local artists' studios - for free! Galleries across Richland and Lexington counties open their doors for free exhibition for 58 local artists. View participating artists and pick up a guide book at 701 Center for Contemporary Art, look for it in the Free Times or view the guide online. Free. 
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
 
Capital City Shag Extravaganza IV at the Embassy Suites Columbia -Greystone
10:00 am  - 6:00 pm

Reconstructing Religion: The Presbyterian Experience at the Robert Mills House  
Runs through May 12. $3 - $6.
10:00 am - 3:00 pm 

Broadway in Columbia presents "Les Miserables" at the Koger Center for the Arts 
Purchase tickets online, $45 - $65
2:00 pm

USC Gamecocks vs. Arkansas Razorbacks at Carolina Stadium
Second game of the Gamecock-Razorback series! 4:00 pm 



Taylor Swift: RED Tour at Colonial Life Arena 
Singer-songwriter and award-winning performer Taylor Swift brings her latest album, RED, to life in the Colonial Life Arena. Opening for Swift will be up-and-coming singer Ed Sheeran.
7:00 pm  

Broadway in Columbia presents "Les Miserables" at the Koger Center for the Arts 
Purchase tickets online, $45 - $65
7:30 pm

Chapin Community Theatre's "Simply Divided" at Harbison Theatre
$16.  
8:00 pm

SUNDAY, March 24

701 CCA Columbia Open Studios 
View participating artists and pick up a guide book at 701 Center for Contemporary Art, look for it in the Free Times or download the guide online. Free. 
Noon - 6:00 pm 

Capital City Shag Extravaganza IV at the Embassy Suites Columbia -Greystone
Noon

Reconstructing Religion: The Presbyterian Experience at the Robert Mills House  
Runs through May 12. $3 - $6.
1:00 pm  


USC Gamecocks vs. Arkansas Razorbacks at Carolina Stadium
Last game of the Gamecock-Razorback series!
1:30 pm

Broadway in Columbia presents "Les Miserables" at the Koger Center for the Arts 
Purchase tickets online, $45 - $65
2:00 pm

Find a full list of events on our calendar.
Have questions while you're in town? Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter.