Leaders from the hospitality and tourism community convened upon the Sanctuary Monday night to celebrate another banner year of attracting visitors to the Lowcountry. The smorgasbord of delectable nibbles stretched across the ballroom; cigar aficionados were treated to hand-rolled stogies on the rear patio; the Have Nots! entertained the overflowing crowd with tongue-in-cheek impersonations of the Convention and Visitor Bureau's board members; everyone wanted a turn in the photo booth — props and all!
Friday marked the culmination of several years of hard work on the Spirit of South Carolina, the tall ship being erected in Ansonborough Field, when the hull's final plank — known as the "whisky" plank — was installed. Scores of shipwrights, volunteers, and spectators cheered as the final timber was affixed, and the cheers quickly turned into toasts as the whisky began to flow.
On Sunday, the folks behind FireFly Vodka held a launch party at the Rice Mill Building to announce the winner of their recent cocktail competition. Entries ran the gamut from a coffee-flavored concoction to a drink infused with ginger, but it was Henry Fincke's Bloody Bug that took top honors and earned him a cool $1,500.
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1. Lisa Buzzelli (left) and her mother Yvonne enjoy a laugh with Andy Rankin at the Sanctuary on Monday night 2. Longtime volunteer Reg Brown boils up shrimp for the tall ship celebrants while Priscilla Parker looks on 3. Dave Brown lights one up for Matthew Renken 4. Janice Kowalczyk and Renee Fincke react to the announcement of the winning cocktail 5. The FireFly vodka proprietors present winner Henry Fincke with a check for $1,500 6. Shipwrights prepare to carry the final plank up the scaffolding 7. Tomfoolery in the photo booth! 8. Andy Thrasher enjoys a bird's-eye view of the Spirit of South Carolina alongside paid crew member and cousin Will Royal 9. Doug Dow, Dave Heaton, and David Stevens Jr. 10. Kristen Corson and April Owens