“If you don’t wake up with some bruises tomorrow, you didn’t have any fun tonight.”
—Chaoth, bassist for UnexpecT
Running of the Bulls
A mad dash over the Cooper
Clad in the traditional white shirt, red scarf, and red sash worn by participants in Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls festival, I made my way through thousands of people to find an open spot on the streets of Mt. Pleasant Saturday morning for the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. The gun blasted, and I started pushing through the crush of people. I weaved in and out of pirates, UNC basketball players, and even Spider-Man. Nearly 30,000 runners and walkers crossed the finish line. At the start of the race, everyone’s goal was to beat the Kenyans, but on the incline of the bridge, the only goal was survival. The winner crossed the finish line in 28 minutes and 47 seconds — the same time it took me to make it to the top of the bridge, see St. Matthew’s Church in the distance, and consider giving up. Too bad they don’t give prize money for 1,350th place. See calendar.ccpblogs.com for a full photo gallery. —Todd Curran
A Tall Tail
Eating gator at Cajun Fest
Swarms of people attended the 17th Annual Lowcountry Cajun Festival at James Island County Park on Sunday. The grounds were a bit wet from the rain, but the sun was shining, and everyone was in good spirits. Tasty delights straight from the bayou were available, including crawfish and fried gator tail. (Yeah, it kind of tastes like chicken.) As for the crawfish eating contest, this year’s champ ate something like 27 or 28 crawfish in 30 seconds! (I wish I could give you a more exact figure, but the gator tail somehow affected my ability to count.) The boys from Big Red and the Zydeco Playmakers and Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble had people dancing all day long. —John Zara
The return of the RiverDogs
Monday night, the ‘Dogs played their home opener against the Savannah Sand Gnats; the two teams began the evening tied for the lead in the South Atlantic League South Division standings. After a slow start, the RiverDogs found their bats in the fourth inning, loading up the bases with two outs down before infielder Brandon Laird dropped a two-run single into shallow center field. The RiverDogs were up 2-0 heading into the fifth and held on to win 4-2 and take sole possession of first place in the division.
In many ways, it was just like a summer night at the Joe, except for the fact that the thermometer read 58 degrees instead of 98. But the slight chill didn’t seem to bother the boisterous crowd, many of whom were dressed as if summer had already arrived. Even Tony the Peanut Man, trademark topless straw hat and all, was dancing and singing his way up and down the stairs dressed in just shorts and a T-shirt. Occasionally he paused to pose for pictures with fans eager to throw their arms around the shoulders of a bona fide piece of Joesph P. Riley Jr. Park lore.
Speaking of Joe, as part of the extensive pre-game festivities, the man himself made an appearance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and I’ll be damned if the old cuss didn’t clear the plate with room to spare. As always, Charleston’s perpetual incumbent was greeted by a rousing cheer when he took the mound. —Josh Eboch
The return of Wet Willie’s
The rambunctious mix of tourists, townies, students, and slick-haired clubbers is in full swing in the Market and East Bay Street bar area these days. The late-night sidewalk parade of party people can be endlessly amusing. Stepping aside a bit from the dance-club atmosphere is Wet Willie’s — one of the popular bars in the middle of the action. The recently renovated two-room facility has reestablished itself as a proper live music venue. While Willie’s still slings 18 potent frozen concoctions from behind the bar, it’s veered away from DJ-driven gigs and booked a regular rotation of classic rock bar bands, including the Diesel Brothers, Jamisun, The Hed Shop Boys, Sin County, and Spunjwurthi. So far, it’s working out quite well. On Saturday, the music room was packed with a funky gaggle of locals and visitors, old and young, tipsy and otherwise. Several rowdy bachelorette parties wandered in around midnight. The ladies waved white feather boas, stumbled on stage, engaged in some sloppy bumpin’ and grindin’, and repeatedly hollered, “Play some ’80s music,” at the band. Luckily, club manager and booking guy Fred Williams and his on-the-ball staff were kind enough to referee the whole thing. —T. Ballard Lesemann