CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – What started as an idea to bulk the City of Charleston’s social calendar in 1983 has turned into a premier event thousands of locals and visitors look forward to each year. The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) is celebrating its 40th event this year.

Kicking off on February 17th, SEWE hosts around 500 artisan exhibitors and entertainers all celebrating the great outdoors.

Some events patrons can look forward to include Birds of Prey demonstrations, DockDog competitions, sheep and duck herding demos, art exhibits, and more.

“What can’t people look forward to? We have over 100 artists that are gonna be present with their work, incredible dog demonstrations, DockDog competitions,” said SEWE CEO, John Powell. “We have a coast guard search and rescue demonstration on Saturday at 1 o’clock over off the banks of Brittlebank Park. We’re excited.”

The event was created in 1983 as a way to bring life to the city during the lull in tourism season.

“Now we’ve bloomed into 40,000 people and 500 artisan exhibitors.”

For the last year, SEWE organizers have been working behind the scenes to bring the event to life.

“You have to start signing up artisan exhibitors so they can plan and our entertainment many months in advance. We apply for funding, both public and private. It takes a staff. There’s a lot of hurry up and wait, then we accelerate when we get into the winter months,” said Powell.

After last year’s event was virtual, organizers say this year is even more exciting.

“This being our 40th year, it has a very celebratory atmosphere,” said Powell. “It’s an incredible reunion and it’s the first big event in Charleston in a very long time.”

Tickets are on sale now. Click here for more information.