After months of suspense, the Best of Charleston issue hit newsstands on Wednesday. The winners of the readers poll — a.k.a. the best of the best in the city — headed to the Halsey Wednesday night for the most anticipated party of the year. The best athlete (Red Dread) rubbed elbows with the best band (Plainfield Project), the best comic (Andy Livengood), the best weather forecaster (Rob Fowler), and many more of your favorite local folks.

Early birds waited like hungry hyenas as chefs finished up preparations at the food stations — the elaborate Wasabi sushi table was a huge hit, as was FIG’s garlic soup, Cru’s mac ‘n’ cheese, and Five Guys’ burgers (not to mention everything else there). Firefly reps poured their yummy new Sweet Tea Bourbon out of an ice luge, while Normandy Farms provided a huge newspaper-shaped cake (and they didn’t even throw it on us!).

Early on, the sprawling space was packed to the gills with guests, but the multiple bars kept things flowing pretty smoothly … until some jackass pulled the fire alarm. (Don’t worry — we have photographic evidence. Lots of it.) For some, the city’s sexy firefighters provided a show on par with the rest of the evening’s entertainment, and the short evacuation was just a temporary setback. When the clock struck 10, the crowd was herded out of the building, and many headed over to the Blind Tiger (voted best downtown bar) for the after-party.

Check out even more party photos here.

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