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NASCAR Hall, EpiCentre, others full for watch, after parties

Uptown rocks with watch parties, post-speech fun

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The overnight report from the DNC party beat: The streets themselves had a festive feel Thursday night. On College Street, a jazz saxophone player set up in front of BLT Steak. Farther down the block, crowds gathered on the corner and stairs to watch the big screens in front of CNN Grill at Epicentre.

Hosted by UPTOWN Magazine, Heartbeat of a Movement Party at Blue restaurant celebrated up-and-coming young Democrats. Servers wearing black (one with a calla lily entwined in her up-do) were circulating with trays of small bites, like white bean puree with truffle oil, parmesan and micro-arugula. While the venue was dimly lit, there was a celebratory air among patrons.

Owner Alex Myrick said over the course of the night, they expected about 500 guests. “To cut to the chase, I love it,” he said of the DNC crowd. “It’s been fantastic.”

Carolina Speakeasy Party

At Amos’ South End, this was definitely a watch party with a pretty sweet setup.

Half the floor was dedicated to high-top pub tables and chairs and was lit with blue and red lighting. The Squirrel Nut Zippers went on after the DNC adjourned. Lorrilard and Blu hosted the party to support The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, and hanging between the flat screens were enlarged photos from the civil rights era.

Brenda Rehn spent the week volunteering and said the party was a chance to relax and celebrate. When President Obama took the podium the venue erupted into applause, cheers and chants of “Four more years!” As soon as he began to speak, it became nearly silent.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

At Victory Lane Post-Gavel Celebration for almost an hour after the convention, a steady stream of people funneled into this closed-to-the-media party.

Vice President Joe Biden was special guest, and at one point, the line to get in was backed up onto the plaza as guests waited to clear metal detectors and security.

I wasn’t the only one on the hunt for a spare ticket. Rumors spread that Obama would make an appearance. There was more than a stir of excitement when a two-car, four-SUV motorcade drove onto the plaza, almost to the doors.

“Is it Biden? Surely they wouldn’t bring Obama in the front?”

The vehicle drivers, clearly Secret Service, got out and looked around. I’m sad to report it was several unknown, but undoubtedly important, dignitaries and their families who went into the party.

The people kept coming, carrying signs and flags and wearing huge smiles. (Of course they were, they had tickets to get in.) One woman – wearing a great blue, sleeveless sheath dress– walked up in a pair of running shoes, ready to party till 2 a.m. Another woman got a nod for most-creative head décor, wearing a blue and white, light-up, Trojan-esque mohawk with Obama’s name running down the side.

It was after 12:30 a.m. when the throng finally thinned out. I never got a ticket, but an inside source reported this was no cheese-and-crackers kind of affair. The food was more along the lines of blackened mahi mahi, fish tacos, barbecue pork and chicken, mini-brats, carved beef tenderloin and mini bags of popcorn. The live band was covering Black Crows and James Brown and the crowd was drinking out of wine glasses with glowing stems.

Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter: @htrenda
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