Final curtain falls on 36th Spoleto Festival

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV){}-- The curtain has fallen on the 36th year of Spoleto Festival USA. It was a sea of umbrellas and tents at the grand finale celebration held at Middleton Place on Sunday. Hundreds of people braved the rain to see the last act of this year's festival, Cedric Watson and the Bijou Creole Band.

"It's always such a great time, a little rain never hurt anybody," said Garrett Bean.

"We were so excited to come out, we hated to miss it so we figured we'd come out and try and brought our beach gear and here we are," said Jenny Smith.

Spoleto is a festival rich in history for the Lowcountry. Starting in 1977 with a festival partnership with Spoleto, Italy. It has since{}put Charleston on the international performing arts map.

"It's such a big part of who Charleston is," said Spoleto Festival Marketing Director, Paula Edwards. "Charleston rallies around it. It's amazing to hear people on the street talk about what they saw that night or the night before."

"Oh I think it's wonderful, I just think all of it is and they just encompass so much I mean we looked at the brochure and there is so many things you couldn't do because you can't afford to go to everything," said Doris Goodman, attending the festival from Bermuda.

Pumping $55 million into the local economy, organizers say they can't stress enough the importance of the festival to the Holy City.

"To see the restaurants and the hotels filled to the brim with people and to go in and ask has business been good during the festival and they're all saying it has," Paula Edwards said. "That's what we want; we want it to be a community effort and a festival for everyone."