The Historic Beaufort Foundation chose to hold this year’s annual fundraising gala, the Lafayette Soirée, in the garden of historic Tidalholm in downtown Beaufort. The sold-out event, presented by Audi Hilton Head on Saturday, May 11, and the first public event at the home, was a rousing success.
Event chairs Patrick and Becky Cunningham, and co-chair Vimal Desai, welcomed guests with champagne at the grand Tidalholm iron gates. A silent auction — managed by Mary Cunningham — greeted patrons as they entered the Tidalholm garden.
Small plates of contemporary Lowcountry fare from some of Beaufort’s top restaurants were served throughout the property. Thanks to Merrill and Bank of America, the party vibe was strong with a five-piece band.
Tidalholm — also known as “The Big Chill House” because it was the setting of the 1980s film — is an 1853 Antebellum mansion located in The Point Historic District, overlooking the Beaufort River.
In March 2017, John Tashjian purchased the home with his then-girlfriend, Katie Cunningham. He had seen the property about a year earlier when visiting town with Katie, a Beaufort native.
After buying the home, the couple embarked on an extensive restoration of the home and grounds, led by Beaufort architect Robert Montgomery and renowned interior designer Steven Gambrel. The project inside is still underway inside the home.
The couple was married on the property in November 2018.
For Katie’s brother Patrick, his wife Becky, mother Mary, and long-time family friend Vimal, the event was personal.
“Chairing the 2019 Lafayette Soiree was special to us not only because we believe in the Historic Beaufort Foundation’s mission, but also because we are all personally connected to Tidalholm,” Patick Cunningham said in a release. “We saw Katie and John get married here. We’ve seen all they have put into restoring Tidalhom. So we wanted to do all we could to make this event as successful as we could.”
The mission of the Historic Beaufort Foundation is to support the preservation, protection and presentation of sites and artifacts of historic, architectural and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County. Revenues generated by this year’s event will go toward the renovation of exhibit space and reception area of HBF’s flagship property, the John Mark Verdier House.
“We are grateful to the Tashijans for hosting this special event,” HBF director Heather Seifert said. “And to the chairs and volunteers for the time and energy each gave to make this year’s Soiree a success.”
Final event proceeds will be reported soon.
Top picture: Patrick and Emily Harris enjoy the Lafayette Soiree.