All together now

This year's Spirited Brunch in pictures

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“Is that how you always make okra?” Spirited Brunch tourgoer Shaila Shroff asked as Cathy Bennett ladled out okra soup at Mother Emanuel AME Church on Sunday afternoon. Shroff explained she’d made okra for dinner on Saturday night, but in a drier style which is popular where she grew up in southwestern India.

Spirited Brunch is always an occasion for discovering and reflecting upon cultural overlaps and divergences. But it’s also a chance to have fun, as volunteers and attendees alike reconnect with old friends, meet new people, and enjoy their favorite foods.

St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church this year captured the essential celebratory aspect of the annual event by setting up its social hall for a party, complete with recorded music from the church’s choir and a non-alcoholic mimosa bar.

Music was also broadcast outside KKBE, one of many venues with a front porch or courtyard so fetching that attendees who’d marked eight or nine potential stops on their tour maps decided to ditch ambition in favor of relaxed conversation. (At St. Stephen’s, it didn’t hurt that the snack table featured every conceivable kind of cheese straw.)

Last year marked Spirited Brunch’s return from a pandemic hiatus, and several congregations noted that the crowds then seemed smaller and quieter than in the past. But the Brunch was back to its high-spirited ways in 2023, thanks to the energy of volunteers from congregations across the Charleston area, and the enthusiasm of hundreds of tourgoers who visited them.  

For those who weren’t able to attend the Spirited Brunch, a short visual recap follows—with tremendous gratitude to The Food Section’s paying subscribers, whose support makes this free event possible.

Stay tuned for a Spirited Brunch 2024 Save-the-Date announcement. We’ll see you next year!



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