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The American College of the Building Arts’ annual Red Party is always extravagant, and this year’s event was no exception. The Old City Jail was transformed into a scene from the Roaring '20s that would rival any of Jay Gatsby’s lawn parties. The evening was filled with beautiful women in flashy cocktail dresses, dapper-looking gentlemen, Prohibition-era drinks, and grand décor.

Vintage cars adorned the street in the front of the building, which was lit up red and could be seen from blocks away. Chandeliers hung from nearly every tree, a dazzling image of Manhattan was projected onto the side of the jail, and live swing and jazz music filled the air. There was glitter, feathers, and fur everywhere.

Charleston mixologists created specialty cocktails made from Pama Liqueur, Larceny Bourbon, and Epic Vodka. Guests indulged in miniature tapas-style plates provided by Básico, Butcher & Bee, Fuel, Healthy Home Foods, L.I.M.E, Salthouse Catering, and HōM Burger Boutique. VIP tickets included gift bags, games of croquet, a garden party, access to a private speakeasy, and a sneak preview of silent auction items.

Slightly out-of-decade but incredibly convenient was the modern advantage of text-bidding in the silent auction. Text alerts allowed guests to bid on their favorite items while mingling. Nonetheless, partygoers had to be careful not to drink too much complimentary champagne provided by Wine Awesomeness, lest they miss a must-have auction item announced by the swift-tongued auctioneer (and local meteorologist), Tom Crawford.

Our favorite auction items were a 50th anniversary Rolling Stones electric guitar signed by every member of the group, a one-week stay at a home in the French hamlet of Poumeroux, the adoption of a furry friend from Pet Helpers, and a limited edition Le Creuset Mariner Star oven designed by students of ACBA.

The party-loving and charitable citizens of Charleston did it again—the sold-out event raised more than $185,000 for the American College of the Building Arts. The money will support the educated artisans and programs of the college, which is committed to preserving traditional building and artisan craft in today’s society. Well done, old sports. 

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