You gotta love Social. For its eighth birthday last Wednesday, guests were invited to try 50 different wines, all hand-selected by the wine connoisseurs pouring the glasses. We aren’t exactly well-versed on wine, so we stayed red. What we do know, the El Primavera Rioja reminded us of a steak, though it’s likely we were just hungry. We overheard a few party-goer’s request a “red with lead,” whatever that means. Following suit, we asked for one as well. It smelled a bit like burnt hair, but thankfully it didn’t taste that way.

Moving from one party to the next, Thursday night we headed to the Southeastern Wildlife Expo’s gala at Charleston Place. There’s really nothing like getting all fancy and schmoozing with the wildlife enthusiasts. Even better, this annual event always includes an auction, and our favorite thing to do is to start the bidding. You’re usually safe with a $5,000 bid, just don’t raise your hand again. If you’re lucky someone nearby in a camouflage tuxedo will win that mountain lion oil painting for $30,000 and you can just continue drinking. The auction also featured some very rare antique shotguns that guests were welcome to handle so long as they didn’t shoot any of the live animals on display throughout the gala. We kept our hands to ourselves and kept looking for Jack Hanna. Sadly, the TV star was absent, so we missed getting our annual photo with him, though we did get to snag a sweet alligator selfie.  

On Saturday we went to Marion Square to see SEWE’s Birds of Prey demonstration. This year, it went a little differently than in the past. Charleston Mix provided the free Bloody Marys. We knew the bartender, so we got to skip the longest line of the entire festival. Then, during the falcon demonstration, a falcon decided to go rogue and peace out of the expo altogether. We think she may have gone to the Rivers Federal Building to squawk and squat there. One of the attendees later described the situation as “bird drama,” which seemed fitting.  
In the main tent, we got to speak with the folks of the Athens-based Orianne Society, which works to conserve reptiles and amphibians in the wild. One of the directors, Heidi Hall, let us touch a non-venomous pine snake named Gumbo, one of only 10 of his kind left in the wild. Both the staff and snake were extremely friendly.  

In a separate tent this year, we were treated to two apes and a “lesser” ape — SEWE’s words, not mine. The two apes behaved like any six-year-old siblings. They seemed to pal along together when they weren’t play-fighting. The “lesser” ape was a little lady that will not grow to the same size of her cousins, but we were told that she’ll likely be accepted into the family, which sounds like the makings of ABC’s next sitcom.  
Sunday, the last day of the expo, we went to Brittlebank Park to watch DockDogs. This event always seem to be the must-see attraction. But if you ask us, the real fun is in the practice rounds. Two words: JV string. Watching an unathletic labrador give it the old college try is just damn entertaining. It’s like Best in Show, only better. At the other end of the park, families were invited to partake in the petting zoo. Some members of our party (read: me) got a little overzealous with feeding the goats and alpacas. What? They can’t have names and back stories?

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