They’re here: those hot, energy-draining days of summer that make it difficult to leave the air-conditioned house. But on Saturday afternoon, we managed to make the trek from the couch to Midtown Bar and Grill as it played host to a group who were on a mission to raise money for the S.C. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Co-host Christine Coode gave us the rundown of how Cheers to Breathing was raising money: donations, the admission fee, a champagne deal at the bar that got you a bottle of champs and two flutes, and the silent auction, which featured typical items like spa packages, boating accessories, and staycation packages.
The majority of the guests were part of the “Best and Brightest” honorees, who were nominated to raise money for the organization. And they were all very friendly — although at times it felt like we were the new kids in school, and they had been cast as the welcome wagon to make us feel, well, welcome. The attendees were also interested in letting us know why they had become involved in the organization, with the general desire to want to do something for the community being the most prevalent reason. But there were also some for whom it was more personal, like Elizabeth Steiner, who knew someone with CF and wants to help raise money in search of a cure. We mingled for a while, and although at times it did feel odd being so warmly accepted, we must say the welcoming feeling beats the alternative of being ostracized to the pimento cheese table alongside the stale bread slices.
That night we wandered over to the Brick Anniversary Party at the Alley and were told to head to the upstairs bar. We did, but something seemed off the minute we walked in. It smelled of stale beer, Axe, and body odor. Young revelers were trying trust falls — and failing. It seemed we had time-warped back to college and were at a house party just before the cops came to make us scramble. After seeking out someone who seemed like they might be able to tell us what was going on, the truth was revealed. The Frisbee team was celebrating the end of their season, and although their bash was over at 10 p.m., they decided to stay and keep the party going.
Armed with this knowledge, we tried to find the Brick party and were directed to look for the sailors. It’s not often we go in search of sailors, but we sought the nautical mates out and found them bowling, where most of the party had migrated. We snuck in a few words with the sailors and their team, “America, F*** Yeah,” before the thrill of the game took over and they were lost. Matt Quillen, owner of the Brick, was bowling against the sailors but was able to spare (sorry, we couldn’t resist) a minute to speak. Of course, he’s eager to re-open and he’s shooting for an October or November date. “We just need a roof,” he said. “Then we can get in and do what we need to do to get it up and running.” Many of the staff were at the party and eager to get back to work at the Brick, too.
We stuck around for a little while to watch some of the bowling, but sock-less and high-heeled, we decided that shoving our feet into borrowed bowling shoes was an athlete’s-foot-riddled risk we were not willing to take and sauntered on home.
The next afternoon the First Annual Pirate festival was calling our name, so we braved the heat again and headed to the Maritime Center. It turned out to be a largely kid-fueled event, and they lined up to walk the plank, get pictures with costumed buccaneers, pick out a pirate name like Captain Poopdeck or Sally Squidlegs, and search for candy in the treasure chest. There were also tables full of merchandise and informative presentations, as well as historical pirate lectures.
The idea is to steadily build the festival over the next five years in preparation for the anniversary of Blackbeard’s blockade of Charleston. And while the idea is a noble one, the festival will need to work on their attractions. The younger kids and parents were having a ball, but the in-betweeners were left out. You know it’s bad when we overhear an eight-year-old say the entertainment is boring. The musket demo seemed to be the most popular, and we stayed to watch the little tykes practice marching and fake-loading a wooden gun. After the demo, we marched away having had our pirate fill.