A sunset serenade provides the perfect setting for the opening of the Spoleto/ Piccolo Festivals


      By Victoria Hansen

      Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- The rain held off as a cool breeze whipped across the back of the Custom house in downtown Charleston Friday night.{} People peeled open lawn chairs, sat cross legged on the lawn, even perched upon the steps of the towering, brightly lit {}building.

      It was a perfect night for the opening{}of the {}35th annual Spoleto and Piccolo {}Spoleto Festivals.

      The conductor took the stage, raised his arms, and the {}sweet sounds of{} the Star Spangled banner filled the air.{} People rose to their feet.{}

      "Excitement, fun, theater, music and dancing," is how{}one {}visitor from Maine described the scene.{} This is what brings people to Charleston by the thousands every year for an event that gets national and international attention.

      More than 800 performances are scheduled between the two festivals over the next 17 days.{}{} It's no suprise the kick off coincides with Memorial Day weekend.{} More people means more money, for an event that brings in at least 70 million dollars a year.