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Marion Square was awash with vibrant colors on Thursday night, as Darkness to Light hosted its annual Circle of Light Gala. Known to be one of the fall’s chicest benefits, this year’s soirée inspired Charlestonians to break out their finest, most fashionable looks. Guests made their way towards the tents along a Hollywood-style red carpet, pausing to mug for several enthusiastic paparazzi before stepping into the party tent for a cocktail reception.

Giant silver chandeliers loomed over plush sofas in the pink and white lounge areas, and partygoers mingled while listening to live music. Performers teetered about on stilts, enhancing the surreal, festive atmosphere, and soon everyone began filtering into the main tent to enjoy the invigorating sounds of the Burke High School Marching Band.

One couldn’t help but be awed by the magnificent explosion of color in the dining area. Designer Tara Guerard of Soirée’s lavish use of bright, saturated pigments and hued spotlights created quite the party atmosphere, and the excitement was palpable as everyone gathered at their assigned tables. Swaths of fabric from every part of the color wheel hung overhead, while flashy centerpieces and votives decked the tabletops.

The evening’s signature dinner was provided by some of the area’s finest restaurants, and the savory experience was enhanced with live entertainment, including commentary by master of ceremonies John Fugelsang, a poem from Gretl Claggett, music from gospel singer Darwin Hobbs, and a live auction. Darkness to Light president and CEO Anne Lee also took the stage with a moving reminder of the importance of Darkness to Light’s mission, and a champagne toast to the night’s chefs wrapped up the dinner.

Guests quickly retired back to the party tent, where the dance floor was soon packed. Chefs, volunteers, and guests alike busted a move or attempted the Electric Slide until far into the night, and fabulous cover band The Maxx kept the party going right up until the very end.

Darkness to Light (D2L) works to end childhood sexual abuse through prevention, awareness, and education. The organization asserts that if sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped, and the non-profit works to help adults recognize the signs of abuse and react responsibly. Today D2L has more than 2,500 trained Facilitators teaching their educational program in 48 states and 10 additional countries.

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