It's been an exciting weekend in Charleston, and I worked hard to take a visiting friend to as many events as possible so that, just maybe, she'll move down to this beautiful city.
Thursday night we checked out the Bids for Kids Bachelor(ette) Auction at the Francis Marion Hotel to support City Paper staff writer Stratton Lawrence. We stood in line for quite awhile to get into the event, got our paddles, and got some very expensive vodka cranberries at the bar. It was fun watching the crowd milling around in their cocktail attire, and the hors d'oeuvres were delish: things like pastry filled with brie and topped with raspberries and almonds, and chicken skewers with a creamy sauce. The crowd kept talking and shifting around (there was little seating) as they kicked off the auction by playing a heartbreaking video highlighting Windwood Farm Home for Children, which the event benefited. People eventually got settled when the bidding started with a local DJ, who, at $300, seemed to set the average for the rest of the night. Stratton's $700 Cordavi/Mercato/skydiving/massage package was a steal at just-under $300 (bought by ad. exec. Meredith Perdue), while a Charleston magazine staffer got $500 from a crazed-looking older guy who stole my friend's paddle (luckily, we got that all cleared up so we won't be getting a $500 bill in the mail). Afterwards, we headed down to the bars on East Bay/Market streets and were surprised that most of them were dead — except for Mad River, where they were practically giving drinks away.
On Friday, we went to the SEWE Fall Soiree, not quite sure what to expect. Lots of people in camo gear? An African safari theme? It turned out to be more normal than I'd imagined (and hoped), although there were several people walking around with giant shotguns. The wild game treats advertised turned out to be things like quail and pork barbecue with ribs intact, and yummy meatballs (wild cows?). I was more taken with the delicious mac & cheese... and the expansive open bar with enough bartenders to avoid lines. The Men of Distinction played song after song of great party music all night, and the dance floor was full of dancers of all ages and styles. It was my first time seeing shaggers in action, and I stood watching the dancers — some in their 70s — tear it up, before jumping in and trying myself. Later that night after the bars closed we discovered the wonders of Gilroy's Irish Pizza Pub. Why didn't anyone tell me about that place before? We went back the following night as well.
On Saturday, we napped through the earlier part of the '80s Monster Bash on Daniel Island (bummer — though we enjoyed '80s-attired bar-hoppers throughout the rest of the night), but we headed to the Bus Shed again for the Charitable Society's Oyster Roast. It was my first oyster roast, so I was pretty excited about it, but after the previous night's party, it was pretty laid-back — understandable as it was intended as a family-friendly event (though I didn't see any kids). First of all, they only had beer and wine for sale, and they had a too-loud DJ rather than a live band. Also, they were supposed to have football on a big screen, but it remained blank (as long as we were there anyway) as they struggled with technical issues. A nice gentleman showed us how to go about shucking oysters, but my friends and I agreed that we enjoyed the process much more than the taste. In another location, it would have been a more fun experience, but there wasn't much to keep us there, so we left pretty early.
I'm just sorry I missed the '80s bash, the Edgar Allan Poe thing at Fort Moultrie, BookFest, and other fun events that were going on this weekend. But I have no doubt that I proved to my friend that Charleston is an amazing place to live!