Forget festivals, head to the FestivALL: Charleston packs 100 events into 10 days

The 10th annual FestivALL in Charleston, West Virginia packs more than 100 events in 10 days.

2013 FestivALL Charleston Princess in Parade
2013 FestivALL Charleston Parade (Photo courtesy of Greg Sava)

By Emily Rust

What city packs 100 events in 10 days? No, it’s not New York, or even D.C., but Charleston, West Virginia.

The capitol of our western neighbor kicks off its 10th annual FestivALL, a 10-day festival, which as its names suggests, has events for everyone.

From music festivals, to art shows, to wiener dog races, the city manages to squeeze events into every city block. Drawing from local, national and international talent, FestivALL begins on June 20 with its opening ceremonies along Haddad Riverfront Park at 5:30 p.m.

FestivALL began in 2004 as a way to celebrate what Charleston had to offer. Mayor Danny Jones built on the success of the already established Wine & All That Jazz Festival (now included in the FestivALL) to create a three-day celebration of the capitol city. It’s now grown exponentially, but still relies on the help of local volunteers to make this event possible.

With more than 100 events to choose from, we’ve broken down the best of the FestivALL.  


Aaron Neville
Aaron Neville (Photo courtesy of Sarah A. Friedman)

For the Music Lover

  • FestiALT, June 21, 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Listen to a variety of alt-country, roots rock and folk at this new festival including the Drive-By-Truckers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hoots & Hellmouth and Mandolin Orange. / Appalachian Power Park, 601 Morris St.; $8-35
  • Aaron Neville, June 26, 8-10 p.m. The Mayor’s concert features Grammy winning R&B, Pop and Country artist, Aaron Neville. /  Maier Performance Hall, 1 Clay Square;  $39-45
  • The Riggs Corporation Stage, June 28-29, Times vary, Watch belly dancers, comedians and singers in all day entertainment event. / 226 Capitol St.; free


For the Creative

  • Icon Festival, June 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  Learn about early Christian iconography in this lecture and music series. / St. George Orthodox Cathedral, 501 Lee St.; free
  • East End Main Street StreetWorks Art Auction and Celebration, June 25, 5:30-8 p.m.  Permanent public art installations will be revealed by 30 local artists. / Kyle Furniture Showroom, 1352 Hansford St.
  • Capitol Street Art Fair, June 28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Furniture-making, arts and crafts are on display at this festival with more than 90 artisans. / Capitol Street
  • West Virginia Writers Roundtable, June 22, 3-6 p.m. West Virginia authors Scott McClanahan, Glenn Taylor, Marie Manilla and Daniel Boyd discuss writing with the “wild and wonderful” state in mind. / The Bluegrass Kitchen, 1600 Washington St E; free


Charleston Art Fair
Charleston Art Fair (Photo courtesy of Greg Sava)

For the Foodie

  • Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-off, June 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Cooks nationwide compete for a chance to move on to the World Chili Championship. / Haddad Riverfront Park, 600 Kanawha Blvd W
  • Taste-of-ALL Charleston, June 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. A variety of area chefs compete in a ChefOff while you can sample food from more than 20 different restaurants. / Charleston Civic Center, 200 Civic Center Drive
  • Wine & All That Jazz, June 28, 2-10 p.m. Listen and sip to Red Baraat, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and other jazz artists. / University of Charleston, 2300 Maccorkle Ave SE; $18-20
  • Blues, Brews & BBQ, June 27, 5:30-11:30 p.m. Enjoy a beer and four blues performers. /  University of Charleston, 2300 Maccorkle Ave SE, $18-20


For the Couple

  • “Catch Me If You Can”, June 20-22, June 27-29, 7:30-9:30 p.m. The story of a con artist and the FBI agent persistent on finding him, based on the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. / Civic Center Little Theatre, 200 Civic Center Drive; $20
  • River QueenCruises, June 25-29, Times vary. See the FestivALL on a riverboat from the Kanawha River. / Haddad Riverfront Park, 600 Kanawha Blvd E $11-19
  • Art & Architecture Tours, June 21, 28 and 29, Times vary. Explore Charleston’s public art and architecture on either foot or trolley. / Lee Street Triangle


BLEU! (Photo courtesy of Compagnia T.P.O.)

For the Family

  • Compagnia T.P.O. “BLEU!” June 26-28, 10-11 a.m., 1-2 p.m., Stories of the Greek Islands are accompanied by multimedia imagery, dance and music. /  Walker Theater Clay Center, 1 Clay Square; $10-15
  • Children’s Stage, June 28-29, Times vary, A variety of music and entertainment including a dog show, Native American music and a mime. / 123 Capitol St.; free
  • Children’s Art Fair/Library Street Fair, June 28-29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Make crafts and purchase work by local youth while enjoying performances and games for children. / Kanawha County Public Library, 123 Capitol St.
  • West Side Wiener Dog Race, June 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Watch dachshunds in fetch competitions, a costume contest and a dog race. / Stonewall Jackson Middle School, 700 Washington St. W; free


Insider Tip: If you’re planning on going to many of the featured performances, purchase the Best-of ALL Ticket Package for $100. It includes tickets to FestivALT, Aaron Neville, Blues, Brews & BBQ and Wine & All That Jazz.


While In Town:

  • The West Virginia State Museum takes visitors through the state’s history and includes artifacts from pre-historic times to the modern day. / Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E; free
  • Take a tour of the West Virginia State Capitol and see state senate and house chambers as well as the governor’s reception room. Nearby, arrange a tour of the Governor’s Mansion and learn about the history of West Virginia’s first family. / Capitol Tours: Monday-Friday, every half hour from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Saturday, every hour from 1-4 p.m. 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E; Mansion tours: Thursdays and Fridays, every half hour from 9:30-11 a.m., reservations required. 1716 Kanawha Blvd E