THE SCENE 

After being out of town for a couple of weeks, I came back to find Charleston full of pirates and tourists, all of whom I think I became best friends with. Friday night I went to see Surface Tension at the Halsey Gallery, and Cindy Neuschwander amazed us with her wax art. After that I went to see the Sea Chantey singers at the Trusted Palate with a group of about 20 friends, and we had a great time as usual. Local flower salesman Hank, who had a cameo in the The InBetween, was doing splits on the sidewalk outside. Gotta love that. Saturday I swung by the Maritime Festival and pretty much saw the same stuff as last year. Unfortunately, the really big ships didn't get into town until later that day. If you've got kids, it's a great event, but I found it excruciatingly boring. After a fantastic Greek wedding on Saturday night at Lowndes Grove, I went back to the venue on Sunday for Taste of the Nation. It was definitely the highlight of my week, because the upper crust of Charleston cuisine was cooking up a storm. The cost to get in was probably one of the reasons the event was small, but it was very nice to have the plantation to ourselves. I have to say that Cypress and Hank's were the two booths that I went back to for second helpings. You can feel the surge of energy in Charleston as Spoleto approaches and the next few weeks are going to be very exciting.

Send invites and information about events to scene@charlestoncitypaper.com.

1. A Tall Ship at the Maritime Festival 2. Casper the friendly piercer at Vickery's 3. For Tom Mineo, happiness is Folly Beach, a Dewalt boom box, and this month's Maxim centerfold 4. Charleston's finest chefs at Lowndes Grove 5. Sunset from the Market Pavilion 6. Jenn Hinkle 7. Ernest Driver and his daughter Savannah at Taste of the Nation 8. Megan Thomas, Christina Leventis Slate, Jennifer Hinkle, Lindsay Madden, and Craig Hooks at Lowndes Grove 9. Syndie Hunter, Chip Hunter, Martha Metavish, Mike Hogan, and Rebecca Hogan at Taste of the Nation 10. Club Habana friends 11. Gospel singers at Taste of the Nation

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