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More than 700 people (according to reported ticket sales) packed the French Quarter on Friday night for Palette Palate Stroll, the food and art fusion event hosted every summer by the Charleston Fine Arts Dealers' Association. This year, 13 galleries were paired with restaurants to offer guests a sample of the city's best canvases and cuisine.
The beet cured salmon served at the Ella Walton Richardson Gallery courtesy of Social ranked as my favorite among the savory fare (a close second was the lush summer bisque with stone crab prepared by Chef Sean Brock, who worked quickly to satisfy the crush of eager noshers that stretched all the way out the door). Meanwhile, the panna cotta crafted by Chef Kelly Wilson (Cypress) caused people at the Corrigan Gallery to moan with pleasure. I love it when folks sidle up to a chef with a quasi-earnest recipe inquiry although the real intention is to provide a chatty distraction while nabbing a second serving. You in the blue polka dots: busted!
These sort of events are prime time for the see-and-be-seen crowd, so many of the PYTs were dressed to the nines despite the wilting heat both on the street and inside most of the galleries. There was a delicious breeze blowing down Queen Street from the harbor, so I camped out on the corner of Queen and State for awhile and watched the cyclorama of party people file past. It didn't take long for Charleston's resident fashion maven, Ayoka Lucas, to appear amid the crowd (with trusty sidekick Brunson Stafford in tow). They were busy filming Street Style, so if fancy duds are your bag, check out their Friday night vlog (http://www.charlestonmag.com/blogs/style).
Although flip flops were the obvious pick for the eponymous Flip Flop Ball on Saturday night, galoshes were more appropriate thanks to the thunderhead that unleashed sheets of rain at the start of the party. Fortunately, the short-lived storm did little to deter guests from making their way to this annual fundraiser benefitting Wings for Kids, an innovative after school program that bolsters social and emotional intelligence. Founded in 1996 by Ginny Deerin (a wholly inspiring woman, whom I wish I saw more often), every Wings session begins with staff and students reciting this creed:
I soar with WINGS. Let me tell you why.
I learn lots of skills that help me reach the sky.
I love and accept who I am on the inside
and know my emotions are nothing to hide
Life’s full of surprises that make me feel different ways.
If I can control myself, I will have much better days.
I understand the choices I make should be what’s best for me to do,
and what happens is on me and not any of you.
I understand others are unique. I want to learn more about everyone I meet.
I want to step into their shoes and see what they are going through.
I am a friend. I support and trust. Working together is a must.
Kind and caring I will be. I listen to you. You listen to me.
I soar with WINGS. I just told you why.
All of these things are why I fly high.
To learn more about this phenomenal program, visit wingsforkids.org.
Meanwhile, GoldBug Island, the picturesque outcrop nestled between Sullivan's Island and Mt. Pleasant, was the perfect setting for this down home affair that entertained guests with barbecue and bluegrass, because the fact is if you're not indoors, sitting on an igloo, you want to be somewhere casual and comfortable for these summertime fetes. Good show, Wings!