Thursday, November 10, 2016

‘Watch parties’ fill with cheers and boos as supporters gather

By Cristina Bolling and Theoden Janes

Charlotte, N.C. - Over plates of chicken wings, mounds of pulled pork and $2 drafts, Republican and Democratic party supporters gathered to cheer and boo along with election results Tuesday night.

At Slate pool hall in South End, where the Democrats gathered, a handful of candidates showed up early in the evening. N.C. Senate incumbent Jeff Jackson chatted with supporters and played ping-pong with his stepson. U.S. Rep. Alma Adams sat in a chair as friends gathered around her.

The hundreds of partygoers represented a huge mix of Charlotte’s Democratic base: well-dressed young professionals as well as decades-long veteran party supporters and many weary from spending 12 hours or more at polling places encouraging voters to choose their candidate.

Republican congressional candidate Leon Threatt greets supporters during an election viewing party Tuesday at SMS Catering Services in Charlotte. David T. Foster III

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J. Alan Goddard ordered a mixed drink and celebrated the first election in which he was able to openly voice his political views, because until now he has been in active duty military. He campaigned for Jackson all day Tuesday.

As a gay man, Goddard said, “for me, in my day-to-day life, it’s what’s happening at the state and local level that affects me most.”

Goddard said one of his roles while serving in Afghanistan was ensuring a free democratic election.

“The fact that we can vote without fear of reprisal,” Goddard said, “that’s everything.”

The first bit of bad news rippled through the Mecklenburg County Republican Party’s “Victory Celebration” just before 8:30 on Tuesday night, as a local news station called the 12th Congressional District race in favor of Democrat Alma Adams.

But even though the results looked lopsided, her challenger, Leon Threatt, seemed to take a cue from his party’s top-of-the-ticket candidate a few minutes after the report.

“It’s still early,” he said, in spite of reports that Adams had 70 percent of the vote. “I don’t think the numbers are in sufficient for her to call the race, so we’ll see how it goes.”

A minute or two after that, the three flat-panel TVs on the walls and the giant projection screen on the stage inside SMS Catering’s event space in Plaza Midwood was switched to Fox News; and a minute or two after that, a cheer went up as a graphic showed Donald Trump with an ever-so-slight edge over Hillary Clinton in Florida.

“We’re gonna switch back and forth,” said SMS owner Rob Freeman, “because the local stations will tell us how the House and the Senate races are, and give a better update on the governor’s race. But in general, Fox News, that’s what they all want.”

Freeman co-founded the Mecklenburg County Young Republicans club, but he also co-founded the National Barbecue Association in 1988 – so what was on the menu for the party on Tuesday night?

Enough pulled pork (cooked over the course of almost 18 hours) to feed about 200 people, along with ketchup-based sauce for Western Carolina-style-loving folks and vinegar-based sauce for those who prefer the flavor of the right-hand side of the state.

Both choices, though, were red. Which, of course, was the color of choice for the night.

“We will see a great win for Mr. Trump,” Threatt said, “as well as Governor McCrory, and I’m quite encouraged that our nation, our state and I believe even the 12th is gonna come out on top of this thing. Like I said, I’m not ready to give up yet.”

This story was originally published by The Charlotte Observer:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Not-so Ordinary Things to Consider When Choosing A Wedding Caterer

When it comes to planning a wedding, there can be a nearly overwhelming amount of tasks to organize and figure out. Exactly who will cater your special event may seem rather simple, but there is a lot to consider. Here are some not-so ordinary topics that should be breached when deciding on who will cater your most special evening.


Every caterer should have all the appropriate licensing. Liability licensing should be something every bride and groom asks a potential catering service to furnish. Although unlikely, you will want to make sure things are covered should an unforeseen accident take place.

wedding venue, wedding catering services, catering in Charlotte
Outdoor wedding venue and catering station.

Vendor Meals

Whomever you hire for your wedding entertainment will want to eat. Some caterers provide this while others charge for it. Find out if there will be a vendor food setup or if there are additional options available and if they incur any additional fees.

Food Ingredients

It may not be a typical question, but it is an important one nonetheless. Where does the chef buy his ingredients? Local farmer’s markets, quality butchers or is there a stock of frozen items. You will want to know what goes into making up your dishes. Also, if you guests have any dietary restrictions of food allergies, you will want to make sure the proper diet can be presented for your catering menu.

Hidden Fees

Okay, this may be a little more ordinary but it is still of grave importance. There are catering services which include fees for staffing and linen rental. Learn exactly what will be charged and what will not. Getting a list of any extra charges is highly recommended to help you maintain your budget for the occasion.

Leftover Policy

Chances are there will be food leftover, but what is to come of it? Should the caterer not allow you to take the remaining food home, then you should only be charged for the food your guests ate. It is definitely worth questioning what will happen to that food and if it is possible to have it wrapped up and taken home.

Potential Changes in Cost

No one wants to think of having to cancel their wedding, but it can unfortunately be a possibility. Know what the cancellation costs will amount to and how much goes into any overtime costs. Also bring up the subject of potential increases in food costs. Make sure you know whether or not rising food costs will affect what you have to pay when your special date arrives.

Food Sampling

Most wedding catering services will allow you to sample their food beforehand. Take advantage of these opportunities to sample all of the different menu items available. Many caterers have days set aside where many couples will visit all at once for a large sample tasting.

Written Estimates

An event coordinator can quote you any price over the phone. That is why it is important to get any estimates in writing. Don’t hesitate to include anything and everything in that estimate. Know exactly what is to be expected of both you and your caterer.

If you are looking for wedding catering in Charlotte, SMS Catering Services can exquisitely accommodate all of your needs. We provide off-site catering as well as one of the best banquet halls in Charlotte. Make your wedding a truly memorable event for a lifetime with the best catering Charlotte has to offer.