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Party Scene

October 1, 2016

The Party: Animal-lovers mingled with the stars of the annual calendar at Memminger Auditorium.

Highlight: The barely clad firefighters

Overheard: “Where are the puppies?!”

Beneficiary: Charleston Animal Society

November 12, 2016

The Party: More than 40 local makers set up shop at the third annual Lowcountry Local First Buy Local Block Party—from jewelry to home goods to pet products there were handcrafted goods for everyone. After perusing the vendors, attendees could grab food from one (or more!) of the nine food trucks, a cold brew from the beer garden, or a Bloody Mary from the bar. Charleston-based bands The Hadleys and Malandro Soul played throughout the afternoon and Lowcountry Street Grocery sold herbs and veggies out of their mobile market. 

Highlight: A tiny chihuahua-mix puppy, up for adoption from the Charleston Animal Society, strutted around in a cozy crocheted Christmas sweater, stealing the hearts of several interested.

Overheard: ”I don't think I have enough hands...but I want one of everything!”

Beneficiary: Lowcountry Local First 

November 10, 2016

The Party: Guests filed in to the beautiful, historic William Aiken House to celebrate the launch of Charleston Recipes, a cookbook originally published in 1949, unseating the Junior League of Charleston’s famous Charleston Receipts cookbook as the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print. This little red book, recently discovered in an attic by Josephine Humphreys, the daughter of the original editor Martha Lynch Humphreys, contains a collection of post-Depression meals, including classic Southern recipes recreated with inexpensive and easily-accessible ingredients, such as cans of Campbells tomato soup. In addition to the open bar and signature drink—a spiced citrus Russian Tea—guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres inspired by Charleston Recipes and created by Patrick Properties Hospitality Group and the chefs at Fish Restaurant. Between bites of mini crab cakes, pimiento cheese crostinis, Swedish meatballs, hushpuppies, and bacon-wrapped quail, attendees anxiously awaited the results of the event's raffle and posed for photos in front of the Junior League of Charleston backdrop. All proceeds from the evening benefitted the Junior League of Charleston, in its efforts to aid the development of women and to combat hunger and homelessness within the community.  

Highlight: The original Charleston Recipes creators’ descendants, Josephine Humphreys—daughter of editor Martha Lynch Humphreys—and Phyllis Walker-Ewing—neice of illustrator Martha Lynch Humphreys—attended the event to meet guests and sign copies of the cookbook.

Overheard: “We’re on an unofficial Junior League tour. We’ve been to events in New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, and now we’re in Charleston!”­–two proud supporters of Junior League International

Beneficiary: Junior League of Charleston 


Friday, October 21, 2016

The Party: After 80 years, the Solomon R. Guggenheim modern art collection made its way back to the South’s oldest art museum building, where it first exhibited in 1936, and again in 1938. Gibbes Museum of Art members, members of the Guggenheim family, and curators from the Guggenheim in New York City came together to celebrate the opening of the collaborative exhibit, ”The Realm of the Spirit.” Guests mingled, enjoying sparkling wine and passed hors d’oeuvres before heading upstairs to view the famed striking abstract pieces by artists from Picasso to Modigliani to Kandinsky. 

Highlight: Solomon R. Guggenheim’s grandson, Peter Lawson-Johnston, spoke about his family’s legacy, and about first seeing his grandfather’s exhibit at the Gibbes as a nine-year-old boy.

Overheard: ”Do you think they remember being here?”—Angela Mack, Gibbes executive director, on the collection of Guggenheim paintings that were displayed at the Gibbes in 1936 

Beneficiary: The Gibbes Museum of Art

October 27, 2016

The Party: Part of the first annual Charleston Arts Festival, this collaborative dinner featured music, dance, prose, and narration in addition to a three-course meal prepared by a team—led by Jason Stanhope and Jayce McConnell—of Holy City food and bev all-stars. Themes of evolution were incorporated into every aspect of the event, from the meal, which evolved from a first course of Charleston fruits de mer (ocean) to John’s Island vegetables (land) to crispy suckling pig (fire) to performances by contemporary dance company Movement Union, Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker, and PURE Theatre’s Joy Vandervort-Cobb. 

Highlight: The melding of so many artistic mediums could have been overwhelming, but the elements balanced each other perfectly, keeping the audience enthralled for the duration of the event. 

Overheard: ”This truly is a feast for all the senses!” 

October 24, 2016

The Party: Guests from every corner of Charleston made their way to the fifth annual Pro-Am Jam, a two-day bash held at the very edge of Daniel Island’s gorgeous country club. Partygoers gathered outside as the sun set over the marsh, sipping Tito's signature cocktails of the night, Lavender Lemonades and American Mules, and perusing silent auction items. Prizes included a Hootie and the Blowfish signed guitar, a football signed by Tom Brady, getaways to Kiawah, Woodhouse Spa gift sets, and sheet metal from the likes of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin himself. Javier Colon, the first ever winner of NBC’s smash hit, The Voice lead the evening’s entertainment.

Highlight: Watching the speed and intensity of the live auction, and how much cash it raised for the charities the Jam supports, was truly a sight to see.

Overheard: ”A whole bar just for potatoes?”— a guest observing the wide array of food stations

Beneficiary: The Denny Hamlin Foundation, Carolina Studios, and the STI Cares foundation, all of which seek to foster the healthy emotional, physical, and intellectual development of children in South Carolina. 

October 20, 2016

Party: Hosted by the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center (DNLCC), the 13th annual Bush Shed Bash welcomed hundreds of philanthropic partygoers from all over the Charleston area. Myrtle Beach-based country/rock group the The Josh Brannon Band played tunes all night as attendees perused silent auction items, visited beer and wine stations, and piled plates high with pulled pork barbecue and delectable roasted oysters. The bash raised money for DNLCC, a community-based nonprofit that works to help victims of child abuse. 

Highlight: One lucky partygoer won a Big Green Egg, a verstaile cooking machine (with a retail value of more than $1,000!)  that serves as an all-in-one kamado grill, ceramic grill, and charcoal smoker. 

Overheard: ”Guard my pile!”— an oyster-shucking guest placing a friend in charge of his carefully compiled stack of bivalves 

Beneficiary: Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center 

September 19, 2016

The Party: Six top Charleston chefs paired with five “Little Chefs” from nonprofit Louie’s Kids to craft a delicious five-course meal for more than 100 guests. 
Attendees happily crowded into High Cotton, sipping a special Goose Island farmhouse ale while waiting for the dinner to be served. The fare included Michelle Weaver’s lump crab cakes, Jeremiah Bacon’s smoked grouper, Michael Toscano’s potato gnocchi, Shawn Kelly’s Colorado lamb, and Graham Dailey and Claire Chapman’s chocolate praline fondant. Every Little Chef received a cutting board trophy at the end of the night.

Highlight: The Little Chefs were completely at ease in High Cotton’s busy kitchen.

Overheard: “Wow, this is one expensive lineup!” —a guest, referring to the big-name chefs in attendance

Beneficiary: Louie’s Kids, an organization that addresses childhood obesity

September 29, 2016

The Party: Local and visting foodies and the movers and shakers of the hospitality world—think James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Nathalie Dupree and co-founder of Charleston’s Bad Bitches, Sarah Adams—gathered on the gorgeous grounds of Lowndes Grove plantation for the Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s (LDEI) sixth annual Autumn Affair. Local restaurants and vendors set up shop, offering guests bites of all manner of fare, from Rio Bertolini’s pasta and gelato to Meathouse Butcher Shop’s fresh charcuterie. Local musicians—saxophonist Kevin Patton, guitarist Ryan Flannery, bassist Greg Massaro, and drummer Brandon Brooks—played jazzy, upbeat tunes all evening while guests perused silent auction items and sipped on glasses of wine from all over the country—more than three dozen varieties were featured! The event benefitted LDEI, a worldwide philanthropic society of ”professional women involved in food, wine, and hospitality, promoting the interests of the members and those who share [their] objective.” 

Highlights: Nathalie Dupree lounged on a fuchsia couch set up on the grass next to the event, warmly inviting friends (and fans!) to come chat. 

Overheard: ”If you don’t eat those truffle chips paired with the pink bubbly, you’re doing it wrong!”—a guest tasking others to try the tastiest food pairing of the evening, chef Michelle Weaver’s deviled eggs and truffled chips served alongside Veuve Clicquot Rosé Brut

Beneficiary: Les Dames d’Escoffier International 


September 15, 2016

The Party: The 13th annual Night for the Children Gala was held at Memminger Auditorium, where guests enjoyed live music from The Midnight City Band, silent and live auctions, and mouth-watering cuisine from Mosaic Catering & Events. The event raised more than $215,000 for the Carolina Youth Development Center’s programs, which provide shelter and support to children victimized by abuse or neglect. 

Highlight: Breanda Levy, CYDC alum and current Johsnon & Wales sophomore, gave an emotional and moving speech about her time with the Center, using herself as an example of how supporting a child has significant impact, though it may not always be immediately recognizable. 

Overheard: ”To see the work these people do, it really encourages me as a community member to go out and give more.”

Beneficiary: Carolina Youth Development Center 


September 15, 2016

The Party: Charleston Wine + Food kicked off its 11th year with the 2017 Ticket Launch Party: Grand Slam Jam. This year’s festivities took place at the Citadel’s College Park Field and featured a series of chefs who promoted their restaurants and their cooking styles with a baseball-themed flair. The event saw such noteworthy ballpark dishes as Emily Hahn’s take on a classic Chicago dog, Josh Shea’s play on a Kentucky hot brown, and Kevin Johnson’s spicy Greek nachos. One standout crowd pleaser was Kelly Chu’s Cirsea craft ice cream selection: a sweet cream ice cream with black truffle cheese bits and a strawberry swirl. Between bites, guests chose from a variety of beverages, including a selection of local craft beers, cocktails, and John Aquino’s ”frosé”—a frozen rosé. The performers, a 1980s cover band aptly called the Spazmatics, set the tone with a list of upbeat classics that got everyone up and dancing. 

Highlights: Swig and Swine entertained the crowd with a game they call “Pass the Pigs.” Unfortunately, the pigs went missing by the end of night.

Overheard: Guest: “A Greek nacho situation? I like it!” Kevin Johnson: “It’s the least refined thing I’ve ever made.”

Beneficiary: Charleston Wine + Food

August 26, 2016

The Party: Accompanied by a drummer and decked out in Yoruba garb, complete with a mask of white shells, Atlanta-based scholar-artist Fahamu Pecou led a procession from the Maritime Center to the Halsey Institute, where crowds gathered for the opening of his exhibit, “Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance.” The exhibit, which is on display through October 8, explores black culture, with hip-hop references and nods to West African roots. In the packed Halsey gallery, attendees craned their necks and munched on hors d‘oeuvres while waiting for a chance to catch a glimpse of the artist’s gorgeous figure paintings.

Highlights: A graffiti print referencing the late Jean-Michel Basquiat on the entrance wall of the exhibit

Overheard: “I practice Yoruba, so it’s always good to see it represented. I like that people are open-minded to the culture—it helps break barriers.”

August 9, 2016

The Party: Lowcountry AIDS Services teamed up with Charleston Pride and MedExpress Pharmacy to host this Gay Bingo event, featuring entertainment by Camp Queen of the Carolinas, Patti O‘ Furniture, and music by DJ BeckDanger. Memminger Auditorium was transformed into a funky bingo hall, playing to the evening’s theme, ”That 70s Bingo: It’s Not Your Grandma’s Game!” Guests snacked on sweet and savory treats from BKeD bakery and cooled down with icy SnoBar cocktails before playing six games of bingo. The event was part of Charleston Pride Week, and raised awareness and funds for Lowcountry AIDS Services. 

Highlights: Patti O’Furniture had the crowd belly-laughing and cheering during her lip-sync performances. 

Overheard: ”Just a reminder to stay hydrated—visit the bar!”— Patti O’ Furniture 

Beneficiary: Lowcountry AIDS Services 

August 12, 2016

The Party: This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Abby’s Friends Golf Tournament and Evening Gala, an event started by Kendall Sutterlin, whose daughter Abby suffers from Type 1 diabetes. The day-long golf tournament and post black-and-white themed fete raised money and awareness for this disease. Guests bid high for coveted live auction items, including a luxurious getaway donated by Tuscan Resort for a seven-night stay in a two bedroom villa in the ancient Italian town of Manciano. 

Highlight: Abby and her friends were in attendance and 


Beneficiary: Abby’s Friends 


June 12, 2016

The Party: Guests celebrated the conclusion of the Spoleto Festival USA 2016 season beneath a clear blue sky at Middleton Plantation. Sprawled out on blankets, lawn chairs, beach recliners, and even a pizza float, attendees made themselves comfortable as they sipped cocktails from High Wire’s signature Hat Trick gin and listened to tunes from popular local acts The High Divers, Jordan Igoe, and SUSTO. The gardens, blooming with lush greenery, welcomed families, couples, and kids to get lost in the historic antebellum property. As the afternoon faded into dusk, Nathaniel Ratecliff & the Night Sweats took the stage, matching the crowds enthusiastic energy with every note. 

Highlight: Spoleto Festival 2016 went out with a bang, literally, as celebratory fireworks exploded across the sky. 

Overheard: ”I could totally be one of the Night Sweats!”—a festivalgoer joked about the stifling afternoon heat.

Beneficiary: Spoleto Festival USA

May 7, 2016

The Party: Sixty-three teams from Charleston and the surrounding area participated in the ninth annual Dragon Boat Charleston Festival, raising more than $180,000 for cancer survivors. Each team consisted of 20 paddlers and one drummer and raced in three heats between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Between races, paddlers enjoyed food truck fare from Wild Wieners, King of Pops, Triple R Brisket Wagon, Happy Thai Food Truck, Carolina Corn, and Charleston Chicken. The party lasted well into the early evening as festival-goers hula-hooped, line-danced, and ordered up at the ”name your own price” margarita bar. The Folly Beach Wahines took home first place overall, the PGF Paddlers took home second place, and the SCPA Ship Happens finished in third. 

Highlight: Executive director Meagan Labriola announced that the survivor ceremony would be renamed ”To the Spirit of Sylvia Suvivor Celebration” to honor the memory of Dragon Boat Charleston legend, Syvlia Huskey, who passed away in April 2016.  

Overheard: ”Watch out for ’What the Truck’!” —A paddler leapt out of the way of the fun committee’s decked-out golf cart, aptly named, ”What the Truck.”

Beneficiary: Dragon Boat Charleston 

May 7, 2016

The Party: The South Carolina Aquarium hosted a special celebration highlighting its educational programs that reach more than 30,000 school children statewide each year. After cocktails in and outside the aquarium, guests moved to Liberty Square, where they enjoyed a multi-course dinner from Cru Catering. An InterTech Group awards ceremony honored the work of seven South Carolina schoolteachers, along with Beth Demas, the aquarium’s distance-education programs coordinator. Beverly Wise, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, accepted the 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award for Visionary STEM Leadership. An after-affair followed on the Bluestone patio, with dessert and music from 17 South. 

Highlight: During cocktail hour, guests got up-close-and-personal with several aquarium creatures—from jellyfish in a portable tank to a baby alligator and two snakes. 

Overheard: “King Louis is nonvenomous and native to South Carolina. You can often tell if a snake is nonvenomous because it’ll have a smaller head. This guy’s a good one to have in your garden—he’ll eat other snakes.” —Jamie Thom, aquarium education staff member 

Beneficiary: More than $268,000 was raised for the South Carolina Aquarium’s education programs.

May 14, 2016

The Party: Beneath a sizzling summer sun, guests meandered through The Grove at Patriot’s Point for a day of eating, drinking, and dancing at the fifth annual Charleston Beer Garden for Lowcountry AIDS Services. Food trucks—including Avila Venezuelan Cuisine, The Barbeque Joint, Caribbean Creole, and Big-Boned Barbeque—circled the park. The main attrractions, of course, were the 20-some regional breweries serving guests cold three-ounce samples. As crowds sipped their beer, they swayed along to the music of DJ Trail Mix, King Sing, Andy Masker Band, and The Dubplates.

Highlight: Local homebrewers gathered in the Homebrewer’s Village, proudly offering samples of their unique beers to a crowd of thirsty guests; several competed in a homebrewing competition. 

Overheard (a lot): “Cheers!”

Beneficiary: Lowcountry AIDS Services

May 27, 2016

The Party: Memorial Waterfront Park served as the scenic backdrop for the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association’s Taste of Gullah event. Attendees indulged in Gullah-inspired dishes such as savory stewed chicken, pan-made crab cakes, and Hoppin’ John while the Secrets Band cranked out an array of lively classics. Later, Gullah Geechee expert Emory Campbell addressed the crowd before a special ”Passing on the Traditions” ceremony took place. Attendees also participated in a live auction and bid on beautiful items such as the 2016 Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival featured basket by Helen Burns and a treasured “Passing on the Traditions” doll by Virginia Watson.

Highlight: An Afrocentric fashion show highlighted Gullah fashions and sweetgrass accessories. 

Overheard: “Can I have a second helping?”

Beneficiary: 2016 Sweetgrass Basket-Making Summer Camp

May 13th, 2016

The Party: Donning glittery gowns and dashing suits, guests mingled over canapés and cocktails before moving into the Charleston Area Convention Center ballroom for a dinner, a live auction, and an evening of great performances. Local celebrities, paired with professional dancers from Fred Astaire Dance Studio, vied for the winning title. Event chairs and alumni dancers also performed while votes were tallied bakstage. Kathy Richter Downey, co-founder of social club McKee's at 139B, took home the sparkling disco ball trophy as the 2016 Oxygen Ball winner.

Highlight: The crowd went wild when Dwayne M. Green and his dance partner, Galina Maiduc, performed "The Charleston.”

Overheard: “I’d like to tell my competitors, ‘Don’t do well and let me do better!’” —Kathy Richter Downey, before taking the stage

Beneficiary: American Lung Association