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The 10th Annual A Night in the Valley’s opulent winter wonderland theme was perfectly accented by Friday’s freezing temperatures. Partygoers in black tie attire hurried down the red carpet (covered in rose petals, of course) and through the doors of Trident Technical College, where they checked their coats and furs before being greeted with a bright blue cocktail. 

A large ice sculpture bearing Maverick Ice Martinis sat caddy corner from the end of a display of votives and tall white vases with decorative twigs, and partygoers snagged a cocktail before entering the hallway decked floor to ceiling with blue fabric. 

A detour to the right led guests through the kitchens, where Culinary Institute students were hard at work preparing and serving a vast array of gourmet bites. The maze of savory treats extended for two rooms, and partygoers noshed on escargot, Bitiki Smitane, mini cod fritters and chips, Russian borscht, orecchiette with winter truffles and braised lamb shoulder, and duck sausage balls. 

Then everyone made their way down a corridor lined with silent auction items to the main cocktail hour. The elegant and glitzy attire made for excellent people-watching, and Charleston’s who’s who milled about enjoying each other’s company and the enormous ice sculpture laden with raw oysters, smoked fish, and several types of caviar. 

The main dining room was decadently decorated with turquoise uplighting and projected tree shapes and photographs of snowy branches. Elegant white lighting fixtures hung above tables showcasing white table clothes, white centerpieces, and a plethora of wine glasses. Partygoers settled down to a welcome from event chair and owner of Tiger Lily Florist Clara Varga-Gonzales, and then the live auction began. 

Though several guests noted this year’s lack of live entertainment, emcee Bobby Collins and auctioneer Tom Crawford kept everyone engaged and laughing throughout the four course meal with their fast-paced auction antics. Those who attended bid fast and furiously, and the first auction item of the evening, the Best of Charleston Dine Around, went for an impressive $8,000.  Crawford egged on the bidding, urging one partygoer, “It’s ok! Don’t look at the person next to you! Look at me, I say it’s ok to bid!” 

The magical meal drew to a close with a standing ovation for the Culinary Institute of Charleston students, and then guests retired for coffee and chocolate in the lobby. 

A Night in the Valley is the annual fundraising gala for the Trident Technical College Foundation. The Trident Technical College Foundation was established in 1975 to help raise funds to bridge the gap between needs and resources for TTC students and employees. The Foundation operates independently of the College as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.