Supporters of the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts filled the courtyard of the Simons Center on Thursday night to celebrate the imminent construction of the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts. Yellow hard hats dotted the casually-attired crowd and chatter centered around the school’s upcoming expansion. Over at Marion Square, a banner crowd turned out to watch Walk the Line, the free movie in the park.

Friday ushered in a wave of culture as Spoleto Festival USA hosted its third annual Taste of Spoleto, which gave locals the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to select performances and sample wine while noshing on Italian hors d’oeuvres (visit www.spoletoscene.blogspot.com for more). Meanwhile, the French Quarter was besieged with people enjoying the quarterly art walk. Charleston’s inaugural Cinco de Mayo festival took place after sundown at the Visitors Center Bus Terminal, and intrepid attendees danced away despite gale force winds and a sudden downpour. The rain did little to dispel the crowd gathered in the alley outside of Coast restaurant where Toca Toca performed lively Latin jazz.

Dozens of dinner parties took place on Saturday night in support of Dining with Friends, Lowcountry AIDS Services’ annual fundraiser. From Shem Creek to South of Broad, parties ranged from barbecue to festively French, while a dazzling array of desserts transformed the Charleston Maritime Center, site of the event’s finale, into a virtual candyland.

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1. Eagle-eyed guests at the Taste of Spoleto may have spotted the beautiful Nicole Cabell hurrying to a rehearsal of Roméo et Juliette, in which she plays the lead. She was accompanied by stage directors Olivier DeLoeuil and Jean Phillippe Clarac

2. Megan Page epitomized French chic at the Lamboll Street Cabaret-themed block party for LAS 3. Barbara and Mort Hankin 4. Big smiles all around as another successful Dining with Friends wound down 5. Olé 6. Samantha Bruce and Sally Weigand manage the merchandise table at the Cinco de Mayo festival 7. Ryan Bush, host Bob Siegel, Ryan Layne, and Hollie Anderson lend their support to LAS 8. Johathan Alba and John Paul Huguley made appearances at several Dining with Friends events 9. Nothing like a little Cuervo to kick-start the night

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