American Pride Drag Pageant
Nothing says “freedom ain’t free” like a folks in red, white, and blue drag. On Thursday, Pantheon played host to a very fancy pageant in order to crown the emperor and empress of Charleston Pride Week, and it was pinup-themed and star-spangled. Glam ladies in all manner of mid-century splendor strutted their stuff to a rather loose definition of patriotic music (including one who did quite the baton-twirling routine). If we looked like that in sailor suits, we’d wear them the other 364 days of the year. In hindsight, we should have listened to our sage-like friend when he wisely intoned that there was no way a bunch of Southern queens would be ready in time in the midst of a possible hurricane. But we did not, and thus sat for nearly two hours after the advertised start, listening to some dance remixes of songs that we already thought were dance music. As for the hotly anticipated Pride Emperor and Empress crownings, we had to head home and hit the hay before their coronations.

Fireworks at Sullivan’s Island
Inspired by the swimwear competition at the American Pride Pageant the night before, we strapped on our bikinis for a full day of surf and sun on Sullivan’s Island, as Ben Franklin intended when he and his fellow Founding Fathers created this great nation of ours. After a long afternoon and early evening playing bocce ball, building half-assed sandcastles, and pounding drinks (that were not alcoholic in the slightest due to local law), we welcomed the fall of night for the annual fireworks display in Town Park. They were utterly lovely and very much what you’d expect. What can we say? We oohed. We ahhed. We clapped wildly and declared it “better than last year.” We said all the expected lines (“do you think that was the finale?” “OK, because maybe they’re faking us out and our patience will be rewarded if we stand here for another couple minutes.”) before vowing to return next July, but with more sunscreen and a bigger umbrella.

Lowcountry Road Trip
When the Fourth falls on a Friday, you have not one but two empty days where most things are closed and your friends with kids are extra busy, so what else can you do but take advantage of the holiday weekend gas hike and drive around the Lowcountry for six or eight aimless hours? We ventured northward, picking up sweetgrass baskets, visiting Goat Island, and stopping in a couple hammock shops to do quality control testing/take quick catnaps. We investigated the relative merits of the myriad tourist shops that dot the landscape — a fun fact you may not know about being on vacation is that you are required by law to eat saltwater taffy and fudge, or at least that’s the impression we got on Pawley’s Island. Just when we thought this little day trip was going to live on in our hearts as a somewhat more committed version of going to Wet Willie’s “ironically,” we decided to take a jaunt far to the west of 17N to tiny Hemingway, S.C. for our inaugural visit to Scott’s Bar-B-Que. Blink and you’ll miss the town, but your nose alone can direct you there. It’s the rare foodie gem that is precisely “rated.” No one oversold it — it’s really that good. The mid-afternoon line was 40 deep, and we waited over an hour to order and D. A. M. N. that pig was it tasty. Sweet, spicy, and moist, Rodney Scott’s hog can be accurately described as boss. We headed back for Charleston after that leg of the adventure. Nothing was going to top it.