WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION: Janet Bates is building the foundation for more women to enter the field

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Story and Photos by Tonya McGue

Three-year-old Olivia thinks her mom builds castles for a living. She also thinks it’s cool because she gets to wear a hard hat and boots when she goes to mommy’s castles.

Janet Bates’ daughter is not that far off. Janet is a key member of the leadership team at CF Evans Construction, a nationally recognized front runner in the multi-family housing construction industry. In other words, they build apartment homes, senior living facilities and student housing – huge, sprawling complexes with wrought-iron gates, swimming pools, park-like surroundings and multi-story buildings.

As Director of Marketing and Business Development, Janet is part of an elite group of women. Only 1.3 percent of the entire female workforce in the U.S. works in the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the over 10 million workers in construction, only 9 percent of them are women, including onsite, administrative and management positions.

Janet is on a quest to change those statistics. She’s the president of the newly formed Palmetto Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

“We have to build a strong foundation to move forward,” Janet said. “One of NAWIC’s goals is to educate women about the opportunities in the construction industry. In addition to working on job sites, women can excel in sales, marketing, human resources and project management positions.”

Women in the U.S. earn on average 81.1 percent of what men make, but the pay gap is much less in the construction industry where women earn 95.7 percent of their male counterparts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Charleston area NAWIC chapter is off to a great start, already one of the largest chapters in the South Atlantic Region. Fifty women attended the first meeting on Sept. 25. LB Adams was the keynote speaker and talked about “Flipping the Script”, changing how women speak about themselves and about other women.

“The first meeting was so good!” Janet said. “Everyone was fired up. I was incredibly impressed with the members. Women in this industry are very powerful. They are all bad asses in the construction industry.”

Janet, a strong, independent woman, is perfect to lead the charge. She’s smart, enthusiastic and ambitious. “I don’t believe in doing anything halfway,” she said. Her purpose in life is to advocate and educate for women in construction and in general. “Women are half the population and we can do so much more than we’re doing now.”

Interestingly, Janet has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dramatic Literature. She’s been involved in theatre for 26 years as an actor, singer, producer and director in New York City and local productions. “While working in theatre, I did the whole part-time job thing, and found that I liked the jobs more. I like business, so I decided to go back to business school.”

After earning her MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill and doing a marketing internship at CF Evans, Janet was offered a full-time position at the firm and moved to Charleston in 2011.

She met her husband, Josh, an Air Force veteran and Emergency Manager at Roper St. Francis, through the local theatre community. They were married in 2014. Both are still very involved in the local performance scene. Josh is a stand-up comedian, actor and director. Janet helps as an assistant director from home. Their 12-year-old son, Elijah, is also an actor.

Janet said the transition from theatre to construction was an easy one. She often uses her public speaking skills for presentations and speaking engagements.

In addition to being president of the NAWIC chapter, she is a Board member for the Center for Women in Charleston. At the November 2018 fall conference, Janet will talk about age, race and gender diversity, an appropriate topic for her line of work.

Janet said she loves what she does. One of her favorite parts of the job is visiting construction sites. She wears her hard-toed boots and hardhat while talking to contractors, construction workers and the project management team. “I always feel very welcomed and respected,” she said.

Keep an eye on the number of women working in construction in the Lowcountry. By the time Olivia enters the workforce to make castles of her own, the stats may be a lot closer to equal, especially with Janet leading the charge.


Photo Credit:? Tonya McGue

West Farm Corn Maze and Attraction Center Open in Moncks Corner

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West Farm Corn Maze and more – 2641 Cooper Store Rd., Moncks Corner, SC ?U.S.A. 29461

Complete Ticket Purchase Options

Friday, September 28, 2018 – Sunday, October 28, 2018

Open Close
01:00 PM 8:00 PM
05:00 PM 10:00 PM
11:00 AM 10:00 PM


Corn Maze – BEE TRUE

Join us for a walk through our very own Bee True themed (2.8 miles) corn maze. We have a smaller (.3 mile) corn maze for our smallest visitors. This is a part of our field trip rotation! Our 6-acre corn maze has been designed, mapped, and cut by MazePlay of Firth, Idaho, using the latest GPS technology. You’ll have to use your best map-reading skills to reach all checkpoints in the corn field!

Pumpkin Barn

Our good friends and fellow young farmers, The Wilson’s, from Cotton Hills Farm in Lowrys, SC grow all our pumpkins. We are proud to support this family farm and know you agree that they grow the best pumpkins in the state! Please visit their website at www.cottonhillsfarm.com.

Children’s Hay Bale Maze, Play Area, Covered Corn Kernel Box and The Tire Climb!

Our youngest visitors will love getting lost in the hay bale maze and playing in the hop ball park. We’re especially happy about adding new swings and climbing toys exclusively for our toddler visitors, in addition to their very own corn kernel box. The original one will still be available for our visitors of all ages. The Tire Climb keeps growing for kids of all ages from 1-99! We have added some corn hole games for you to play, too!

Farm Zoo

Have you seen any farm animals up close lately? Enjoy a visit with our cows, goats, pigs, and chickens. “The Quad’s”, our Jersey steers from last year will be coming back and they will love to great you with their licks and kisses! We have two new Holstein bull calves that were born on September 18th for you to meet and enjoy, as well. We can promise you the sights, sounds, and smells of a real farm!

Hay Ride

Enjoy a relaxing hay ride around the perimeter of the corn maze and into the woods. You’ll enjoy a slow ride on a real wagon, pulled by a real John Deere tractors. It may be your legs’ favorite part of the day!

Apple Slingshot

Over the last few years, you’ve gotten good at the slingshot. So we had to make it harder. You get 3 tries for $2, with some pretty fabulous prizes on the line.

Snack Bar and Picnic Area

After tackling the maze, stop by our snack bar for some refreshing treats in our picnic area! We have everything to drink from soft drinks to juice boxes to bottled water and everything to eat from chips to trail mix to candy bars to candy, all at reasonable prices.

Smart Residents are Joining the Charleston Home Renovation Boom

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By Jackie Thomas

Experts are hailing a ‘renaissance’ in the Charleston property sector – plans to?build over 100,000 new homes have recently been approved in the three county Charleston metro area.?And, spurred on by increased optimism about the economy, home improvement specialists are also reporting a ‘boom’ in renovation work across the county – noting Mount Pleasant and The Battery in Kiawah and as restoration hot spots.??Local tradesmen are benefiting as older properties left run down and dilapidated as a result of the recession are being overhauled, proving that the upturn in the market is great news for Charleston homeowners and businesses alike.? In fact, there are even some emerging trends in the regional home improvement market that could translate as business opportunities for local traders offering the next big thing in home improvements.

Building in Smart Technology

Once thought of as an idea gleaned from science fiction, smart technology in the home is becoming mainstream.??Residents of Charleston are embracing so-called smart hubs, technology epicenters?that control anything from heating and lighting?to security – via smartphone or tablets.??As smart speakers that link up to these home hubs and offer voice control also soar in popularity, experts predict more and more appliances within the home will become automated and intelligent.

One reason that smart technology in the home is being billed as the latest big thing is because, as it becomes more commonplace, it’s much more affordable. Popular products that could be offered by local businesses are smart sprinkler systems, doorbells that allow homeowners to interact with visitors via a smartphone and, of course, who wouldn’t want a vacuum cleaner that will clean the floors at the push of a button? And the good news for burglary hot spots, such as?James Island and West Ashley, which saw a spike in break ins, is?that 60% of intruders say they would be put off by a smart home security system.

High-End Finishes

Home to the luxurious beach-side districts of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms, Charleston is not short of homes where no expense is spared.? But, finding themselves with more disposable income, even homeowners who don’t live in the most sought-after of areas are investing in high-end items to add value to their properties.? According to local tradesmen, high spec ‘over-the-top’ kitchens and bathrooms are becoming increasingly popular in the local area.??Luxurious jacuzzi baths, rainforest shower heads, waterfall taps and oversized kitchen islands are just some of the products that are in hot demand. Another trend is recessed lighting, a stylish way to add refinement and polish to any room in the home.

Coastal Couture

Products like wallpaper, houseplants, grey walls and bright exotic accessories?are seeing renewed demand.? But there’s one key interior style that’s emerging as the winning look for the Charleston homeowner, according to renovation experts working in the local vicinity. Possibly no surprise given the?four area beaches boasting?miles of crystal clear waters and sandy beaches on offer in Charleston, Coastal chic is the ‘go to’ interior style for local homes. This look incorporates weathered shiplap, paneling and beachy chic styling for an on-trend look.? If designing a home around this look sounds a bit ‘out of the comfort zone’, there are plenty of local tradespeople on hand to help homeowners get the look.

Successfully renovating an older property is a sound investment and can add significant monetary value.??And luckily Charleston has an abundance of local businesses ready and able to take on projects big or small.???As for the future of Charleston’s real estate market, according to experts, even in the face of a rise in interest rates, the good news is that the market should stay active.

Tri-County Construction Quarterly Highlights Increase in Permit Values

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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (Sept. 24, 2018) – Total construction permit values in the tri-county area increased by $31.6 million, or about four percent, to $737 million during the second quarter of 2018, according to data recently released by the by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG).

Other key takeaways from the Council of Governments Q2 Construction Quarterly report include:

  • Commercial construction permit values increased by 46% ($73 million)

  • New construction permit values increased 3% ($21.9 million)

  • Single Family permit values increased 14% ($57.7 million)

Construction Quarterly provides a detailed analysis of the construction trends in the region. Sectors analyzed include commercial, single family, single-family attached, multi-family, and renovation construction.

“We continue to see positive growth in permit values across most types of construction in the region, which is a sign of ongoing economic momentum,” said BCDCOG planning director Kathryn Basha.

The full report can be viewed here.

The?BCDCOG?is a voluntary association of, by and for local governments, and was established to assist Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester county leaders in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development.?BCDCOG’s purpose is to strengthen the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and make joint decisions. For the latest on?BCDCOG, visit?www.bcdcog.com, like us on?Facebook?or follow on Twitter at?@BCDCOG.


Daniel Brock
Rawle Murdy Associates
(919) 820-2612


Happy Birthday John Tecklenburg: Message from his wife Sandy

Today we celebrate the 63rd birthday of my husband and our Mayor. I am incredibly proud to walk with him in this journey. Serving our hometown has been a truly rewarding and humbling experience. This birthday year John is kicking off his 2019 re-election effort, please join me in donating $63 to send John a great birthday present – just click the birthday card to add your name to the well wishers and consider donating $5, $25, $63, or any amount today.


Flying high on hope,

Sandy Tecklenburg

South Carolina’s unemployment rate drops to 3.4 percent

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s unemployment rate again dropped slightly last month.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that the jobless rate in South Carolina in August was 3.4 percent. That’s down from 3.6 percent in July.

The agency says South Carolina also set a record with more than 2.2 million people working.

Officials say professional and business services added 4,000 jobs, while manufacturing lost 1,500 jobs.

The agency said in a news release that Bamberg County had the highest August unemployment rate at 7.7 percent. Charleston and Lexington counties had the lowest jobless rates at 3.0 percent.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 3.9 percent.

CARTA’s Latest Tech Updates Include RideCARTA.com Live Chat and Upgraded Transit App

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (SEPT. 18, 2018) – The Charleston Regional Transportation

Authority (CARTA) has added a “live chat” feature to its website, providing an additional way for riders to connect with customer support online and in real-time. The new tool, which was recently soft-launched, has spurred a reduction in call volume and the use of static contact forms by riders.

“This feature is a key tool in improving the overall rider experience and providing an additional customer service outlet,” said CARTA board of directors chairman Mike Seekings. “Better technology is helping us lay the foundation for immediate and long-term transportation success in the Lowcountry.”


  • The live chat option automatically appears in the bottom right of specific web pages, where customers most likely have questions: Home, FAQs, Contact, Fares and Passes, etc.

  • Customers click on the “Live Chat” button and enter name, phone and email (optional).

  • Customers enter the queue and a customer service representative selects and begins the chat session.

  • The Live Chat function is available during regular customer support hours, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. During off hours, the system allows riders to submit emails that representatives will respond to promptly.

  • At end of every session, customers are offered a feedback survey.

CARTA mobile app partner, Transit, also released its highly anticipated 5.0 update with a refreshed home screen and new features.


  • Search Bar: Now located at the bottom of the screen for ease-of-use.

  • Instant ETAs: The Transit app now predicts where riders are most likely heading next and provides an instant arrival time to make planning a trip easy.

  • All-in-One Route Information: Tap any transit line on the home screen to see that route’s schedule, service alerts and map with vehicle locations and stop ETAs.

Transit is available for free download in the Google Play and the Apple App Store.

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is a public transportation system dedicated to providing affordable transit in the Charleston community through local fixed routes, on-demand paratransit service and express commuter routes. For the latest on CARTA, visit www.ridecarta.com, like us on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @RideCARTA. All customers are encouraged to plan rides and track buses with the CARTA-endorsed Transit app and the CARTA Bus Tracker.


Daniel Brock
Rawle Murdy Associates
(919) 820-2612

AtomaCon: Charleston’s first multi-genre, sci-fi, gaming, fantasy, science and technology convention – November 30 – December 2

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For Immediate Release:


Charleston Area’s first multi-genre sci-fi, gaming, fantasy, and science and technology convention.

North Charleston, SC – All Types of Media Arts Convention (ATOMACON) returns to North Charleston for its fifth annual 3 day convention on November 30 – December 2, 2018. The family friendly convention will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn near Tanger Mall. ?Attendees will to enjoy Sanctioned Pokémon Tournaments, and discussions such as, Costuming (Cosplay), Fringe Sciences, Science and Technology, Art and Music, Literature, and general Fandom such as Star Trek, Dr. Who, Star Wars, Marvel and DC Universes, and much more. New this year is our Independent Short Film Festival which will feature 20 or more short films in the Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror Genres.

At this year’s convention, ATOMACON will feature Guest of Honor, Star Wars Author Jason Fry; Artist Guest of Honor, John Hairston, Jr. and Special Author Guest: Bestselling author-Gail Z. Martin. ?In addition to these guests, we will feature over 35 other guest authors, paranormal experts, artists, and filmmaking professionals.

Other features include a charity auction to benefit the Sea Turtle Care Center; Costume Contest, Vendor Room, Concerts from the Dimensional Riffs, Antler Hill, Nefarious Filk Ferrets, Gray Reinhart, and over 130 hours of workshops, discussion panels, movie screenings, kid’s activities and many more interactive events.

Convention hours are Friday, 3pm- midnight; Saturday, 10am-Midnight; Sunday 10am -3pm. At the door three-day convention memberships are $45 adults, $25 teens 13-18, and children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. ?Pre-register rate of $40 and $20 are available until November 15th.? Single day memberships are also available.

ATOMACON is sponsored by DK Publishing, Final Draft Software, Baen Publishing, Southern Recipe Small Batch Pork Rinds, iPitch.? Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

ATOMACON, Inc. (http://atomacon.org) is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for science fiction, fantasy, and science through related literary and other popular art forms. This is accomplished primarily through a convention to celebrate the history of and on-going contribution of science fiction, fantasy, science and related genres to art and popular culture.

Registration Information


Janet Iannantuono – Chairperson

Palmetto Community Care Rolls Out PrEP Program to Further Combat Area’s Rising HIV Rates

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CHARLESTON, S.C. –? Palmetto Community Care is launching a PrEP program to help combat rising rates of HIV in the greater Charleston community. PrEP is a once daily pill (brand name Truvada) that is up to 99 percent effective in reducing HIV rates for those who take the medication as prescribed. Palmetto Community Care’s goal is to make this program and medication free or low cost for participants.

This PrEP program will focus upon those most at risk for contracting HIV within the community. Ideal candidates include individuals who are sexually active, have multiple sexual partners, have sexual partners of unknown HIV status and individuals who are 18 years of age or older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of people who could potentially benefit from PrEP are African American or Latino.
“We want everyone at risk for HIV to talk to us about PrEP and look into whether it is the right choice for them,” said Adam Weaver, prevention program manager at Palmetto Community Care. “We want everyone in our community to know that PrEP is available and often a great option for HIV prevention. We need to stop the rising HIV rates in our community, especially for our young men of color, and PrEP can be a part of the solution.”
Those interested in learning more about Palmetto Community Care’s PrEP program are advised to come into the North Charleston office for a free, confidential HIV test and to discuss PrEP with one of our prevention staff members. Or call 843-747-2273, ext. 218 to participate in a quick phone screening.?
Health insurance is a definite benefit and help for participation, but the program will include services and inclusion for uninsured who qualify. While Palmetto Community Care cannot guarantee that all uninsured PrEP program clients will be eligible, the goal is to find a way for as many people as possible to participate in this life-saving program.?
Participants will be required to complete quarterly lab blood work (free or reduced cost for participants), meet with a doctor quarterly and participate in continued adherence counseling with Palmetto Community Care prevention staff.
“While PrEP is up to 99 percent effective at reducing HIV when taken as prescribed, we know that adherence will be key,” Weaver said. “PrEP is most effective when paired with other prevention tools, like condoms. Additionally, PrEP will not protect you from other STIs like syphilis or gonorrhea.”
Palmetto Community Care has steadily been expanding its education and prevention programs to combat the rising HIV rates in the Charleston. This year, the organization rolled out its mobile HIV testing van for use at community events, businesses, health fairs and more.?
“We are excited to launch our PrEP program for the greater Charleston community and add this important tool to our ever-expanding options in our continued fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Bradley Childs, executive director. “This is another important new chapter for our organization, and we want the entire community to know this program will help further reduce HIV rates.”
Participants should be 18 or older, living in Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester counties and be at high risk for potentially contracting HIV. The program will launch with both an on-site medical provider and, through a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina, offer a new telemedicine meeting option that allows for medical appointments through a video chat app or computer video meeting.?This will greatly reduce time and effort for quarterly medical appointments.
Medications are mailed to individuals at their homes in nondescript packaging or, for increased privacy, medication can be shipped to the Palmetto Community Care office and picked up during normal business hours.
“We want our PrEP program participants to know that we are committed to providing this program for free or at very low cost and that we will be partners in success with navigation services that cover prescriptions, insurance and help individuals to participate with easy and affordable access. We are working toward a program that will be completely free and self-sustaining for all participants,” Childs said.
Palmetto Community Care offices are open for HIV testing and PrEP consultations Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with extended hours Wednesdays until 6 p.m.
About Palmetto Community Care | Complete compassionate HIV care + prevention education awareness
Palmetto Community Care has been helping those living with HIV for more than 25 years. It all started with a belief that no one living with HIV or AIDS should go without medical care, everyday resources or emotional support. We believe our continued commitment to our work here in the Lowcountry will help bring an end to the HIV epidemic through increased HIV testing, prevention and education. Free, confidential HIV/STI testing: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. No appointment needed. For more information, visit palmettocommunitycare.org.?
Palmetto Community Care on social media
Twitter / Instagram: @PalmettoCare

A Holiday Tradition, an All-New Charleston Christmas Special Takes the Stage for 13 Shows in December

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – More than 10,000 people make the Charleston Christmas Special part of their holiday tradition each December, and this year will be no exception. Producers Brad and Jennifer Moranz of Mount Pleasant have worked all year to create a brand-new holiday show that’s nothing short of spectacular.?
Some of the most talented singers, dancers and musicians from around the country will gather on stage at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St., for 13 shows from Dec. 8 to Dec. 23. Tickets are on sale now at www.bradandjennifermoranz.com or at the Charleston Music Hall Box Office. The show is family friendly, and the Thursday, Dec. 20 show is Kids’ Free Night. Purchase one full price adult ticket and get one kids’ ticket for free.
“We spend all year working on this Christmas show, creating just the right mix of music from the serious to the silly,” Brad Moranz said. “Ask me about the highlights and I have to say every single selection is a highlight. People who have been attending for years and first-time audience members will be moved by the musical moments we’ve compiled for this year’s all-new show.”??
Performing in the Charleston Christmas Special for the first time is New York City baritone Matthew Billman, who will sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Josh Groban’s version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
For the last two years, teenage performer Jenna Flaherty stunned audiences with her operatic performance of “Ave Maria.” Flaherty, who is now living in New York City, will return to the Charleston Christmas Special to showcase her powerful vocals with Christian music icon Sandi Patty’s rendition of “O Holy Night.”??
Another young performer will make her debut with the Charleston Christmas Special. Wando High School student Eliza Turner, 16, will bring her energy to performances of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Be a Santa.”
After bringing down the house at Moranz Entertainment’s summertime show, Manny Houston, one of Charleston’s most talented singers and musicians, is back for the Charleston Christmas Special. Houston will perform “What Christmas Means to Me” and Wham’s “Last Christmas.”
Audience favorite Michael Minor returns to sing and delight the crowd with a ventriloquist act to the tune of Ray Steven’s “Santa Claus is Watchin’ You.”
The sultry and soulful Tiffany Parker returns for her 16th year with the Charleston Christmas Special. She’ll perform “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Merry Christmas Baby” while also joining Matthew Billman for a stirring rendition of “The Christmas Song.”?
Also, part of this year’s cast is soprano Julie Bell, who has been headlining on international cruise ships, along with gospel singer Rodney Archie. They will join forces for a powerful duet of “How Great Thou Art.”?
Violinist James Anderson also joins the cast, accompanying Julie Bell on Celtic version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” This year’s musical director is local performer and pianist Demetrius Doctor.
And of course, no Moranz Entertainment show is complete without comedy sketches and dance numbers featuring Brad and Jennifer Moranz.?
The show will end with a powerful performance of “Amen” – a song Brad Moranz said they purposely use to close out the evening and remind the audience of the meaning of the season.?
“We spend the night entertaining and having a whole lot of fun, so it’s nice to end by bringing it back around to why we’re celebrating this time of year,” he said. “This song completely celebrates Jesus’ birth.”?
Performances are:?
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18?
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 (Kids’ Free Night)
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23
Tickets are $41 for adults; $38 for seniors (age 62 and up) and military; $22 for students 21 and under; $19 for children 12 and under. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $35 each. Tickets are on sale at www.CharlestonMusicHall.com or by calling 843-853-2252 (Box Office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday).?
Purchase a Dinner & Show Ticket for a night out on the town. This ticket is $70 per person and includes one adult ticket to the Charleston Christmas Special and a pre-fixe dinner menu at Vincent Chicco’s, located next door to the Charleston Music Hall. Dinner reservations required; call Vincent Chicco’s at 843-203-3002.
Moranz Entertainment on Social Media:
Instagram @MoranzEntertainment?
Photos of the Charleston Christmas Special – Photo credit Damon R. Smith