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Party Scene

By Hooper Schultz

The Party: An enthusiastic crowd gathered on a beautiful day to celebrate Lowcountry Local First's biggest fundraiser of the year, the 9th annual Chef's Potluck. More than 20 local chefs—including Craig Deihl of Cypress and Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh—served up small plates for hungry attendees, using ingredients graciously donated by Lowcountry farmers. Guests sipped drinks from purveyors such as Firefly Distillery, Palmetto Brewing, Grassroots Wine Wholesalers, COAST Brewing, and Cannonborough Beverage Co. After the feast, Lowcountry Local First staff led a charity auction that raised $10,000 for the organization's Growing New Farmers progam.  

Highlight: The Garage Cuban Band, led by bassist and frontman Jonathan Gray, entertained guests all afternoon. 

Overheard: “Wow, the best weather on the best day. And a strawberry-bourbon milkshake doesn't hurt!"—Renee Singletary 

Beneficiary: Lowcountry Local First

The Party: Memminger Auditorium was transformed into a South American oasis for the 19th annual Charleston Heart Ball. For the first two hours, guests enjoyed an alfresco cocktail reception around two “tiki” bars, brightly colored tall tables, and flamingo statues. Guests were then led inside for a seated three-course dinner, served by catering company Mosaic. WCBD News 2 anchors Carolyn Murray and Brendan Cark emceed the event and 2016 chairman Chris Randoph thanked guests for coming out to support the American Heart Association. Guests were given boas and hats to wear, and bidders participated in a spirited live auction for prizes including a Belize getaway, a cocktail party for 50 courtesy of Snynder Events, Mosaic Catering, and Sea Breeze Marina, a london blue topaz and diamond ring courtesy of Skatell's, and artwork from artists Karen Larson Turner, Laura Lloyd Fontaine, and Dee Beard Dean.

Highlight: The 2016 Open Your Heart honorees, Frank, Jamie, and Charles Anderson Kerr had the audience in tears as they told Charles' story. Born with a rare and complex congenital heart defect, the Kerr’s son had to undergo a six-hour surgery to save his life. Wearing a miniature tux and pink bowtie, the toddler delighted and inspired guests with his happy smile.

Overheard: “Get a picture of me with the parrot—wait, are those real?” (a surprised guest posed next to a life-like stuffed parrot inside the event). 

Beneficiary: American Heart Association

The Party: Despite less than perfect weather, hordes of plant-lovers came out for the Charleston Horticultural Society’s 15th annual Plantasia Eve Party. Guests were able to peruse (and purchase) plants of all kinds at the event’s new expansive and verdant location, West Ashley’s Old Towne Creek County Park. Salthouse Catering played to theme and served up a fresh and decadent “best of season” display with roasted asparagus, mustard braised cauliflower, seasonal sliced fruits and veggies, sweet potato ham biscuits, and more. Guests enjoyed special “Plantasia” cocktails by Firefly and tunes by Charleston-based bluegrass band YeeHaw Junction. An hour into the festivities, four gardening masters competed in an Iron Trowel competition. Winner Carol Poloski received an iron trowel from the Philip Simmons Blacksmith Guild for her beautiful windowbox design.

Highlight: George Hyams, owner of Hyams Garden Center, was celebrated as the Guest of Honor and presented with a plaque for his tireless efforts to preserve and better the Charleston horticultural community. Landscape architect Sheila Wertimer made a heartfelt speech for her longtime friend and colleague: “The Charleston Horticultural Society would not be where it is today without him.”

Overheard: “How many succulents are too many succulents?”

Beneficiary: Charleston Horticultural Society

By: Grae Adair

April 2, 2016

The Party:

The Charleston Animal Society transformed the Gaillard Center into a glamorous, old Hollywood dream to launch it's new initiative, Caitlyn's Anti-Cruelty Fund. Guests donning 1930s black-tie apparel were greeted on the red carpet with signature cocktails like the Firefly Furry and the ManCATtan. Attendees danced to beach and soul classics perfomed by In The Pocket and snacked on hearty hors d'oeuvres provided by Stephen Duvall Catering. Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore later introduced special guest, pit bull Caitlyn, and spoke on behalf of Caitlyn's Anti-Cruelty Fund and its mission to help prevent, investigate, and prosecute animal abuse cases. Guests were ushered to a surprise after-party, a Speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the next room. An aerial dancer swung high above the bar to greet on-lookers and those testing their luck at the blackjack tables. 

Highlight:

Guest of honor, Caitlyn, the pit bull who was found in critical condition with her muzzle taped shut, took the stage and was in high spirits as guests placed bids in order to save one animal's life. By the end of the night, guests raised around $75,000 for Caitlyn's Anti-Cruelty Fund. 

Overheard:

"This [Caitlyn's Anti-Cruelty Fund] isn't just about fixing animal cruelty, it's about fixing our society as a whole." --Elizabeth Bradham, Charleston Animal Society President 

Beneficiary: 

The Charleston Animal Society, Caitlyn's Anti-Cruelty Fund 

 

Photographs By: Mike Powell

Kacie Meixel

March 12, 2016

The Party: Flooding prevented the initially scheduled Hogs for the Cause in October. Determined to still raise funds and awareness for their charity, five restaurants and BBQ joints came together for a smaller—but still impressive—rendezvous in front of the new Home Team BBQ downtown location. With live music by Guilt Ridden Troubadour in the background, guests were treated to specialty creations from the eateries, including pork sliders with avocado and slaw and Home Team's elite boudin balls. Participating vendors included Home Team BBQ, The Atlantic Room Restaurant at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House, Edmund's Oast, and Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q from Atlanta, with beers from Revelry Brewing Co. and Coast Brewing Co. 

 

Highlight: Hogs for the Cause Charleston is an extention of the main event in New Orleans, which has raised more than $500,000 and has given grants to more than 300 families in the past six years. 100% of the funds raised from the event provide aid and relief of the economic burdens associated with pediatric brain cancer. As Jon Vanta from The Atlantic Room Restaurant at Kiawah Island Golf Resort notes, traditionally at the event "you get to meet the kids and families who receive the money; so while it's a good party, it's an even better cause."

 

Overheard: "Food, beer, music, and people. What's not to love?" —Matthew Haid, Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House

March 11, 2016

By: Grae Adair

The Party:

The Gibbes Museum of Art’s sixth annual Art of Design Luncheon was an afternoon inspired by 18th-century jewels and design. Guest of honor, Andrew Prince, brought a treasure trove of his fine crystal jewelry designs (think vintage-inspired tiaras, bracelets, earrings, and more), including exclusive pieces from the hit series Downton Abbey. Prince later spoke of the traditions and fashions from the 1890s to 1929. After browsing and trying on jewelry, guests sat at tables adorned with beautiful arrangements by Jane and Gretchen Florals. On the menu, a maple-glazed frenched chicken with shiitake mushrooms and caramelized onions was served for the main course and a carrot cake for dessert, all provided by the Marriot Charleston. The Gibbes Women's Council has raised a total of $175,000 from its Art of Design luncheons for the Gibbes Museum's Capital Campaign. The newly renovated building will feature a gift shop in the council's honor, "The Gibbes Women's Gift Shop." 

Highlight:

Guests had the opportunity to try on the treasures and speak to the designer about his work and, of course, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Overheard: 

"You don't know how regal feels until you wear a tiara, especially one worn by Maggie Smith!" --Angela Mack, Executive Director 

Beneficiary:

The Gibbes Museum of Art Capital Campaign 

 

Written by Caitlin Gill

The Party: 

Food, wine, music, and revelry: Charleston Wine + Food kicked off its 11th festival with a huge “Cheers to Charleston” opening party at the Gaillard Center. There, 600 guests milled about tasting a variety of Lowcountry-inspired dishes by more than 20 local chefs, sipping wine, and trying the official 2016 Festival Cocktail, the Bon Vivant by Iouli Burroughs of Fish.

Highlight: 

Cypress chef Craig Deihl amazed guests with his Beef Tartare dish, including a candle made of fat trimmed from the beef. As the candle melted, he slowly dripped the sauce over the dish.

Overheard: 

"Have you seen the Gastronaut? I want a selfie with the Gastronaut!"

By Amy Luke

 

The Party: 

There was something for everyone at East Cooper Land Trust's annual Race & Roast. Taking place at the beautiful Oakland Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, a sunny 5K run among the towering oaks stirred appetites for all-you-can-eat oysters, chili, hot dogs, and local Palmetto Brewery ales. While families enjoyed live music from Solid Country Gold from their lawn chairs, children were treated to bouncy bounces and face painting. 

 

Highlights:  

Furthering the message of conservation and environmentalism, representatives from Resource Recovery helped guests sort their recyclable and compostable paper products and trash.  

 

Beneficiary: 

East Cooper Land Trust

Kacie Meixel

February 27, 2016

The Party: With 27 years of success in Charleston, Communities in Schools (CIS) has grown from one school and one staff member to 25 schools and almost 40 staff members. The organization has helped nearly 1.5 million students and their families get access to essential resources to stay in school and achieve in life. The 25th Annual Chocolate Affair was held in February to assist CIS in its mission, while offering some of the best desserts in the Lowcountry for guests to indulge. Including donations from two dozen local kitchens, the focal point of the room was a huge chocolate display comprised of cakes, brownies, and puddings. Through live and silent auctions, a 50/50 raffle, and donations, thousands of dollars were raised for the charity. 

 

Highlight: 2016 Unsung Heroes Award winner Precious Oliver Alexander wrote a letter to be read at the beginning of the ceremony. As a CIS alumni, she wrote of her gratitude for the organization for recognizing her potential and providing stability in an otherwise volatile life. Before becoming a part of the organization, she questioned, "Who will be there for me if I am lost within myself?" and Communities in Schools provided a support system rooted in her success. After serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Alexander is currently pursuing a degree in Cyber Security. 

 

Overheard: "I hear people say we can't save every kid, but I think that we can." —Ms. Liberty, Communities in Schools Site Coordinator

By: Grae Adair

The Party:

The Spoleto Festival’s annual fundraising auction at the Cigar Factory’s Cedar Room buzzed with converstation as patrons of the arts mingled while supporting the city's flagship festival. Guests sipped cocktails and endulged in savory dishes such as the butter-poached grouper and desserts including a flourless chocolate cake and amaretto cheesecake. Later in the evening, as the auctioner began presenting unique items such as weekend getaways to St. Kitts and private dinners at some of Charleston's finest restaurants, guests began a lively bidding war to see who would go home with the most prized auction items. 

The Highlight:

Guests were encouraged to get up and dance to funk and soul classics played by Mike Quinn & The Charleston 80. 

Overheard:

"Cheers! I love the competition of out bidding my neighbor--all for a great cause of course!" 

Beneficiary:

The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

By: Grae Adair

The Party:

The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition's annual DockDogs competition always promises to make a big splash. Spectators filed in and crowded around the 30,000-gallon tanks of water at Brittlebank Park as canines of all breeds and sizes prepared to take the leap off the 40-foot dock after rubber dummies. Owners and their dogs competed in three categories, Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. In between waves, live bluegrass music played by the Bluestone Ramblers and attendees were encouraged to walk around, sip cold beverages, shop vendors, feed the animals in the petting zoo, or satisfy a sweet tooth with a funnel cake and other carnival foods. 

 

The Highlight: While you had to register competing dogs in advance, SEWE attendees were welcome to bring their pets of all shapes and sizes to come out and support their fellow canine friends and enjoy the day's festivities. 

 

Overheard: "I'm pretty sure the most friendly and well-behaved dogs are right here in Charleston." 

 

Beneficiary: Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

 

By: Kadie Anderson

The Event:

The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition was in full swing at Brittlebank Park on Saturday, February 12th.  Joined by our four legged friends, attendees enjoyed visiting the many commercial booths presenting outdoors goods, like duck calls, camouflage, and hunting dogs.  A local petting zoo brought some of the cutest pygmy our eyes have ever beheld and the daring few did flips on a trapeze trampoline.  Our spirits soared when we witness some very happy dogs leaping and splashing at the Dock Dogs competition, accompanied by some great live music played by The Blue Stone Ramblers band. All in all, it was a darn-tootin’ fun day!

The Highlight:

John Irwin, our designated fly fisher instructor with Charleston Angler, showed off his amazing casting arm at 2 p.m. to an attentive crowd in the center of the festivities! Who knew such a seemingly calm sport could be so intricate and enthralling?

Overheard:

"If you go into it (fly fishing) thinking everyday is going to be the best day, you're going to be disappointed... but I'm rarely disappointed."

Kacie Meixel

February 6, 2015

The Party: As the organization's largest fund raiser, typically amassing over $150,000, the Annual Chase After a Cure Gala was a huge success. Guests were treated to dinner, drinks, and entertainment in exchange for donations and participation in the live and silent auctions to raise money in an attempt to end childhood cancer. After the live auction, guests began donating directly to the fund. Pledges of $5,000 began streaming in, and the room was roused to the cause. Through that single portion of the evening, Chase After a Cure had raised over $84,000. 

 

Highlight: Guest speakers included neuroblastoma survivors Anabelle Obersteadt and Chase Ringer who spoke of their diagnoses, treatments, and life in remission. As the children recounted their stories, the compassion in the room was palpable and fervent, and the tone was set for generosity. 

 

Overheard: "Cancer is still the number one death by disease among children. Over seven children die of cancer everyday. That is inexcusable." —Executive Director Adam White, Chase After a Cure

 

Beneficiary: The Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital

Kacie Meixel

January 28, 2016

The Party: With over 5,000 votes submitted, it's safe to say that the first annual "Charleston's Most Eligible" event was a success, and winners Ben Gochnauer and Laura Cole hold the first title. Guests mingled with other local socialites through an evening set to music, and participated in a raffle for prizes submitted from many community businesses. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event benefitted the Ronald McDonald House.

 

Highlight: Guests were able to get their most pressing (and perhaps embarrassing) questions answered about the dating scene from matchmaker, Buffie Lilly, owner of Charleston Winepairings. 

 

Overheard: In case you're wondering, according to Buffie the best places to meet singles in Charleston are at "the art walks downtown [because they're] totally free, and girls will be impressed by guys' willingness to go," and at "The Alley! You get to go bowling and check out his/her butt." 

 

Beneficiary: The Red Shoe Society of Charleston

 

Photographs by: Leigh-Anne Drago 

January 28, 2016

By: Grae Adair

The Party:

Guests were welcomed with a classic 1940s style Cadillac and transported to an evening back in time at the Society 1858 of the Gibbes Museum of Art's legendary Stork Club Party. Live jazz music filled the room as guests browsed and engaged in the opportunity to win original works of art donated by local artists. Hamby's Catering provided a delicious array of hors d'oeuvres and cocktails were mixed by Cherryshine Whiskey and Holy City Spirits. 

Highlight:

As the evening progressed, 1940s flapper girls took the stage for an exciting and edgy performace.

Overheard:

"This looks as if it were a scene from a Mad Men party!" --Woman discussing Albert Dorne's art work 

Beneficiary:

1859 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art 

 

By Grae Adair

January 30, 2016

 

The Party: 

The Charitable Society of Charleston hosts its annual oyster roast for a cause, this year benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Charleston Visitor Center bus shed was packed with guests and tables of freshly steamed oysters, ready to be shucked. Guests were entertained with music by Dan's Trampstamp and the Money Bags while sipping on beverages from Blue Point Brewing company and enjoying hot dogs and chili. Once guests were full on food and oysters, a laser skeet shooting range was set up for those who wanted to test their aim. 

Highlight:

All proceeds from the event, including raffles, went to Big Brothers Big Sisters, a mentoring organization that serves children in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. 

Overheard:

"It's my birthday, one of my favorite bands is playing and this is all for the kids!" 

Beneficiary:

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Hooper Schultz

January 20, 2016

The Party: The 2016 Charleston Wine + Food festival kicked off to a fun start with this fête at Leaf revealing the official festival poster by Whitney Kreb, as well as the official cocktail competition winner. Partygoers sipped on four diverse takes on the French 75 by the competition finalists before the top drink was revealed.

 

Highlight: Guests were able to meet Kreb, get a first-hand account of how she was inspired to paint the original design, and take home their own signed print of the official 2016 festival poster.

 

Overheard: “When I’m tasting a cocktail, I try to not only think about ‘Is this interesting enough to put on my menu?’ but also, ‘Would a broad range of palates enjoy it’?” —Megan Deschaine, bar manager at 492

Hooper Schultz

December 5, 2015

The Party:  Lowcountry Local First members came out to the soon-to-open Park Circle wine bar Stems and Skins Wednesday night, for a chance to mix and mingle with like-minded business owner and employees as well as to try out the new venture from former Husk sommelier Matt Tunstall. 

The Highlight: Hand-picked wines flowed generously while beautiful plates of cocktail food—pickles, pâtes, and cheese— kept partygoers beyond satisfied.

Overheard: "I hear that last Golden Ticket prize is at Utopia!" - Sherman Evans, owner of Utopia Boutique

Hooper Schultz

December 5, 2015

The Party:  Guests shared an undersea evening with the permanent residents of the South Carolina Aquarium while supporting the South Carolina Ocean Alliance’s education and conservation efforts. Guests participated in fun games at this carnival-themed event with an open bar, sustainable small plates from a number of Good Catch partner's, live music by DJ R-Dot and electric violinist Seth G., and silent as well as live auctions.

The Highlight: Aquarium staff traveled through throngs of guests with pettable wildlife for an up-close and personal encounter with some of our state's more elusive creatures.

Overheard: "I never realized how much research the aquarium does on wildlife above the water as well as below!"

 

Ellen Butler

November 21, 2015

The Party: Local vendors lined the courtyard of Lowcountry Local First, showcasing some of their best items as local bands jammed on stage and food trucks provided guests with yummy eats and drinks.

The Highlight: Over-21 guests wet their whistles at the endless Bloody Mary bar and a beer tent featuring many local breweries 

Overheard: "We are lovers of the lowcountry, so we're all about strengthening our community by supporting and advocating for our local entrepreneuers and farmers in any way we can. We think they're some of the coolest people we know!" -Lowcountry Local First Board Member