AVA GARDNER FESTIVAL
Smithfield's 2011 Ava Gardner Festival - honoring the local girl who became a major Hollywood siren in the 1940s and '50s - will be Friday through Sunday at the Ava Gardner Museum, 325 E. Market St. Over the weekend, the facility will unveil its new exhibit, "Frank & Ava: Their Lives, Love and Friendship," which concerns the torrid romance and enduring friendship between Gardner and Frank Sinatra, one of her husbands. Other events include heritage tours Saturday to sites associated with young Gardner, and a Friday-Saturday film festival with some of Gardner's and Sinatra's classic films screened at Smithfield Cinema 10. Per-event admission varies. Details: 919-934-5830; www.avagardner.org.
Downtown Wilmington will be a happening place Friday through Sunday with the return of Riverfest. Friday offers the arrival of a "pirate ship," and a beer garden street dance with live music by The Sound Down Shore and headliner SRVT (a Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute band). Saturday and next Sunday, a street fair winds through downtown with more than 200 arts/crafts vendors sand more than 30 food vendors. Continuous live music all three days is featured at Riverfront Park. Other events range from an activity area for children to a classic car show and Saturday night fireworks.
Details: 910-452-6862; schedule: www.wilmingtonriverfest.com.
TASTE OF CHARLESTON
Historic Boone Hall Plantation in suburban Mount Pleasant will be the site for Southern Living Taste of Charleston, Saturday and Sunday. The festival, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, has Southern Living editors and experts demonstrating the season's best recipes, holiday entertaining ideas, and fall decorating tips. Forty of Charleston's top restaurants will sell food; there will also be live music, dance lessons and more. Admission: $15/advance, $20/gate. Food and beverage tickets can be purchased inside the event (items will be $2-$6). Details: www.charlestonrestaurantassociation.com/taste-of-charleston.