CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The opening ceremony for the 41st edition of the Spoleto Festival began at noon in downtown Charleston.
The event outside Charleston City Hall served as the official kickoff of the 17-day festival that features opera, theater, dance and music at historic venues around the city.
More than 160 ticketed events are on the schedule between now and June 11.
Meanwhile - Charleston's companion to Spoleto, Piccolo Spoleto, also kicks off Friday. Piccolo Spoleto features than 500 performing, literary and visual arts events over the next two weeks. Piccolo Spoleto is a showcase for local and regional artists and nearly half of the events offer free admission.
Opening weekend includes the Sunset Serenade at the U.S. Customs House at 8 p.m. and Family Day at Marion Square from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday.
Several downtown streets closed Friday morning ahead of the opening ceremony for Spoleto Festival USA.
Broad Street closed between Meeting and Church streets at 9 a.m.; and Broad closed to King and Meeting Street closed between Queen and Tradd closed at 11:45 a.m., Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said.
All streets would reopen as soon as possible, Francis said.