Garden & Gun magazine to host inaugural Jubilee in Charleston Dec. 6-8

eshaw@islandpacket.comDecember 1, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    WHAT: Garden & Gun magazine's Jubilee

    WHEN: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
    WHERE: Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston. Garden & Gun has partnered with a few area hotels and has travel packages available for out-of-town guests.

    COST: A one-day pass is $85; a two-day pass is $150; a three-day pass is $225. A three-day pass includes a Made in the South Marketplace preview and breakfast with the editors on Friday.

    DETAILS: For more information and tickets to Jubilee, visit www.gardenandgunjubilee.com. For more information on "The Southerner's Handbook," visit gardenandgun.com/article/books.

If you're a Southerner or want to be a Southerner, Garden & Gun wants to show you the way.

The Southern lifestyle magazine based in Charleston has carved out a niche highlighting the best food, drink, sport, style, home and garden south of the Mason-Dixon.

The magazine's thick, glossy pages full of lengthy expository writing have attracted a loyal following of readers who appreciate things like teeth-melting sweet tea, good hunting dogs and proper homemade biscuits.

And its number of allegiants is growing. In 2011, Garden & Gun was one of the country's top consumer magazine gainers, increasing circulation by 10 percent, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, a non-profit that independently verifies circulation data. This year, its circulation hit more than 290,000. While that's behind magazines like Southern Living (with 2.8 million) or Better Homes and Gardens (with 7.6 million), those magazines' circulations haven't grown since 2010.

Since its first publication in 2007, the magazine has expanded its brand into products, events and a book, "The Southerner's Handbook: A Guide to Living The Good Life," released in October.

Garden & Gun hosts between 20 and 30 events events a year, said Jessica Derrick, the magazine's vice president and brand development director. The biggest event is the upcoming Jubiliee, an inaugural weekend celebrating all things Southern that runs Friday through Sunday in Charleston.

"It's really the biggest expression of the magazine we've done," said Derrick. "Everything that will be there has come out of a story or a newsletter or a blog post that the magazine has already put a spotlight on."

The event will feature a "Made in the South" marketplace, based on the magazine's Made in the South Awards, a yearly roundup of the region's best crafters.

There will also be a trunk show of men's and women's apparel from Southern designers, an antiques tent, a food tent and even an area where guests can play with Boykin Spaniel puppies.

G&G's Editor-in-Chief David DiBennedito, who compiled "The Southerner's Handbook," will be at the event Saturday and Sunday to sign copies of the book.

The book is a collection of essential Southern skills and smart advice that is meant to be as entertaining to read as it is useful to execute.

There's the best way to boil peanuts, as told by Charleston chefs Matt and Ted Lee; why sweet tea matters, explained by writer Allison Glock ("It's culture in a glass."); and how to pull off seersucker, straight from the lips of Alabama-based designer Billy Reid. Hint: Wear it in season.

Readers will also find out how to bet on a Derby horse, give a memorable toast and clean a blue crab.

"Hopefully what this little book will do is teach people how to take advantage of the great things in the South," DiBennedito said.

About 40 percent of the book came from past magazine issues, and the rest were from regional experts DiBennedito asked to contribute.

"It's a challenge because the South is a broad big place," DiBennedito said. "The skills that you need in the Lowcountry, like knowing how to shuck an oyster, are not the same skills you need in the Appalachian Mountains, where you might want to go find ramps (wild leeks) in the spring."

"The Southerner's Handbook" is part of a three-book deal with HarperCollins. The next will be a dog book, based on the magazine's popular "Good Dog" column, and the third will be a cookbook.

If the handbook is meant to be an embodiment of the magazine in book form, then the Jubilee is its embodiment in real life, allowing readers to touch, feel, taste, sample and purchase what they've read about.

Attendees can bite into barbecue made by pit master Rodney Scott, featured in a 2012 G&G blog. They can test out the knives of 2011 Made in the South winner Chris Williams. They can try on hats from Southern milliner Leigh Magar.

"I think there's a little bit of magic in what we've created, and I think the reader recognizes that," Derrick said. At Jubilee, "they know they're going to be with like-minded people, they know they're coming to an incredible city, and they know they're going to come away with an experience that was rich and meaningful and fun."

Derrick said G&G has already committed to making Jubilee an annual event.

"So many things that the country is fascinated with right now are things that we've been doing in the South for long time, like making artisanal products," DiBennedito said.

"People are into authenticity and passion, and that's a lot of what the South represents."

Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.

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