To anyone who thinks things start to slow down in Columbia as soon as the spring and summer temps come to play, let me introduce you to the May social calendar:

Springtime Specialties

Spend some time outdoors this month in lovely gardens around town or stocking up on what you need to cultivate your own. Tumble down the rabbit hole for an Alice in Wonderland-style celebration at the Mad Hatter’s Art Party at the Robert Mills House & Gardens. Have the grown-up picnic of your pastel dreams at Picnic Pop Up with femme x Columbia. Gather the kiddos in the Hampton-Preston Gardens for an afternoon outing of stories, songs and activities with Richland Library and Historic Columbia’s Storytime in the Garden. Now how about a plot twist – we’ll bet you’ve never been to an indoor garden party before. Enter the Steel Garden Garden Party at NoMa Warehouse, where a spring-themed bubbly bar, live music, local vendors, photo ops and florals galore all await you. 

Get ready for some good eats. Flock to the farm for a family-style meal with the Cinco de Mayo Harvest Dinner at City Roots. Have your napkins handy – the Rosewood Crawfish Festival is back with over 10,000 lbs of Louisiana crawfish for the taking. Enjoy botanically-inspired cocktails and a brunch buffet on Boyd Plaza during Art Blossoms Brunch. 

The sippin’ ain’t bad this month, either. Sample more than 100 different rosé wines at the 2022 Drink Pink Rosé Festival, now in its seventh year, at Hampton-Preston Mansion. Then, armed with a trusty souvenir glass, enjoy unlimited wine samples at the 11th Annual Lexington Wine Walk at Icehouse Amphitheater. Dress up and lounge luxuriously on the patio for all-you-can-drink champagne, an omelet bar and an oyster roast at the Smoked Chandon Garden Party. If beer’s more your speed, you won’t want to miss the 5th Annual Hop to Trot Festival at Columbia Craft or Cinco @ Savage Craft Ale Works. You may be accustomed to pairing beer with pizza, wings or a burger, but how about with some vegan dishes? See how well the two work together at Good Life Café’s Beer Dinner. Anyone else craving a mint julep? Don your best derby hat and head to Tin Roof for their Pony Up – Derby Day Party.

Not that anyone ever needs an excuse to spend some time on Main Street, but First Thursday on Main always delivers one anyway with live music, specials and more up and down the whole stretch. 

We love a good street closure, open container situation and Art on State serves all those block party vibes plus food trucks, live music and artists at work livening up the street with colorful chalk creations. 

Everyone’s favorite exotic animal expo is back! Head to Jamil Temple for two days of all things reptilian at Repticon Columbia. 

Join Historic Columbia for an insider look at the history behind the building that houses Drake’s Duck-In during Behind-the-Scenes Tour | 1544 Main Street. 

Fans of The VeryVera Show will be excited to know that host Vera Stewart will be in town doing a Cookbook Signing at The Gourmet Shop

Indulge in local shopping at its finest with The NoMa Flea, Soda City Market and Meeting Street Artisan Market recurring weekly.

May Music

The concert lineup this month runs the genre gamut. Find the shows that suit you and snag some tickets. Head across the river to West Columbia’s jazz hotspot Chayz Lounge for Rod Harris Jr. Presents A Night of Jazzy Grooves, Jazz After 5 and Groove Masters & Friends Presents the Sounds of Motown.

In conjunction with the Violins of Hope exhibit at Richland Library, you won’t want to miss Violins of Hope SC and Songs of Life at Koger Center. Local musicians will play violins that have been restored from the Holocaust and Varna International will present the story of Bulgarians who rescued their 49,000 Jewish citizens from Nazis in 1943 featuring 250 local performers. 

Several big national acts are on the docket this month, too. Rescheduled from February, The Temptations & The Four Tops will play their hits at Township Auditorium. Welcome hometown musician Toro y Moi back to Columbia for a show that’s sure to sell out at The Senate. And Erykah Badu’s voice will ring out in Colonial Life Arena

The Carolina Shout Festival at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College takes things outside and features an all-star lineup of local talent like Reggie Sullivan Band, Fat Rat Da Czar, Prettier Than Matt and Partly Cloudy. Bring some lawn chairs and blankets and stay a while. 

Playbill Performances

From song and dance to comedy and… whatever exactly it is the Blue Man Group does, you can find it all in performances taking the stage this month. Catch Broadway in Columbia’s production of South Pacific and the Blue Man Group at Koger Center for the Arts, Tom Segura’s standup at Township Auditorium and Columbia Conservatory of Dance at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. 

Athletic Activities

Spring sports and wellness opportunities are in full swing this month. Enjoy sunny days and mild evenings at Segra Park as the Columbia Fireflies take the bat against the Delmarva Shorebirds and Myrtle Beach Pelicans at home. Then find your Zen at Columbia Museum of Art for Meditation Mondays and Yoga in the Galleries. 

Museum Moments

You’ll find exhibits and programming aplenty at Columbia Museum of Art. Be sure to catch the last few weeks of Anila Quayyum Agha: Let A Million Flowers Bloom and Rodin: Contemplation and Dreams. Plus, join in on Public Tour: Sculpture and Transformation in Rodin and Agha. Art Blossoms is back in all its floral glory this year. Attend the Art Blossoms Opening Celebration for an exclusive preview of the stunning floral arrangements that interpret works of art throughout the museum and a chance to chat with the creators. Then come back for corresponding programs like Botany ArtBreak with Dr. John Nelson, Public Tour: CMA Collection in Bloom and Flower Pedals: A Botanical Bike Parade. Become the artist yourself with T’Wine & Design, Art Class: Botanical Illustration, Art Class: Botanical Printmaking, Creative Yard and Garden Design with Jenks Farmer, Art Class: Oil Painting and Art Class: Illuminated Light Covers. Additional CMA events this month include a Public Touch Tour, Baker & Baker presents Ghazal in the Galleries, the Columbia Design League presents Dinner by Design and Public Tour: Cornerstones of the Collection.

Head to the UofSC Horseshoe and pop into McKissick Museum to peruse the Wild Bees exhibit and attend As Busy as a Bee with Rudy Mancke.

Finally, jump over to the South Carolina State Museum, where you can find Apollo 16 & Beyond: South Carolina in Space, Face to Face: Portraits from the South Carolina State Museum Collection, Show and Tell: Recent Acquisitions at the State Museum and Make Some Noise: The Science of Sound on display.