It’s still four months until official Spoleto season, but that familiar buzz sparked the air Friday night for La Dolce Vita. Held at the Memminger Auditorium on Beaufain Street, the culturally elite gathered for both a live and silent auction to support the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.

In a month where it seemed even the best parties were light in attendance, La Dolce Vita gave hope and a welcome reminder that the post-holiday stupor has almost faded for high ticket parties. The crowd, while not over packed, was a mix of familiar Charleston characters and a surprising influx of younger Spoleto supporters.

Spoletians roamed backstage at the Memminger, sipping cocktails and nibbling small bites — although we do wonder who thought mashed potatoes and gravy would be a good food choice. We caught more than one South of Broad housewife downing multiple oyster shots in a row. We can’t blame them though — those shots were primo.

Despite the free-flowing libations, bids did seem surprisingly low on many items, with very few going for the maximum bid price. Silent auction items included the expected works of art, housewares, and gift certificates to local high-end stores as well as a few more “creative” prizes, most notably the honor of having the Mr. Koolie Ice Cream Truck parked at your next party for three hours. Unlimited ice cream and some loss of pride included. Live auction items featured a beautiful cherry table crafted by artist Michael Moran, and a very charming yellow lab puppy.

We’re counting down the days to Spoleto now, and May doesn’t seem so far away after La Dolce Vita.

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