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Amy Scherzer's Diary

12/12/12 party for the Centre, and other Tampa social events

The Centre celebrates 12/12/12

No introduction needed for our founder, said Ann Madsen, executive director of the Centre, as Helen Gordon Davis drew a standing ovation at the organization's 12/12/12 party. A silent auction, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres kicked off their 35th anniversary year for 100 supporters at the Floridan Palace Hotel.

Davis, articulate and fashionable as ever, recalled her mother's struggle as a young widow as the impetus for starting what was then called the Women's Survival Center. "And still focusing on needs not met by other agencies."

Madsen thanked Denise Moore and Then Some for entertaining the crowd and Cakes Plus for baking the brandy, rum and sherry pound cake. She singled out Susan and John Rapp's recent donation of securities as an example of how guests might help the Centre help 3,000 consumers a year.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Like Santa Claus making his rounds, guests popped into waterfront homes of three Davis Islands couples hosting holiday cocktail parties for Kids Charity of Tampa Bay. Saxophonist Gene Cannon jollied the crowd Dec. 14, first at Eileen and Bruce Goldenberg's, where MetroChefs served beer cheese soup, pineapple chicken meatballs and turkey pot stickers.

Next, Cannon led the festive strollers to Siri and Bernard Rock's house, where Jake Samuels of Tastes of Tampa Bay's catered the next course.

Event chairwoman DeDe Grundel got the idea to have Tampa Water Taxi ferry partygoers across the canal, 150 yards away, to Cindy and Brent Hart's home. Guests debarked to desserts, coffee and cordials by ACI Caterer.

Dottie Berger MacKinnon, who is fighting bile duct cancer, founded the movable feast eight years ago, calling it "Home Is Where the Heart Is" to assist children in foster care. Surrounded like a rock star, MacKinnon, founder of several programs and shelters for abused and abandoned children, said she feels "amazingly well . . . Lotsa challenges, but I feel fine."

The $100 ticket fete netted more than $20,000 to assist foster families.

36th annual St. Andrew's Society Feast of the Haggis

It takes a lot of pluck to eat sheep's heart, liver and lungs, a.k.a. sheep's pluck, a.k.a. haggis, the national dish of Scotland.

"Our members look forward to eating it every year," says Hunter Brownlee, who concluded his St. Andrew's Society of Tampa Bay presidency at the 36th annual Feast of the Haggis on Dec. 1. Dress was Highland formal or black-tie, with most men wearing family tartan kilts. Brownlee and his wife, Sarah, led the Tampa Bay Pipes & Drums band into the Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club ballroom, followed by board members carrying tartan banners, The band piped in chef Tom Powell carrying a platter of haggis, to be served with "neeps and tatties," (turnips and potatoes). Historian Ian Greig recited Robert Burns' classic Address to a Haggis to the 130 guests.

Each table was supplied a bottle of Glenlivet to fuel spirited salutes and traditional toasts, including Cheryl Fraser's ribald To the Braw Laddies: "Down with your trousers, up with your kilt."

Bagpipers played Scottish anthems before Brownlee asked pipe major Steve Serneels to "go fetch" his successor, Stephen Miller. The Ward Cook Orchestra played during his installation and for dancing, sending guests home singing Auld Lang Syne.


Monday: Vodka Latke hosted by Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation; 9 p.m.- 1 a.m.; Mangroves Seafood Grille & Bar; 208 S Howard Ave; $36;; (813) 769-2813. Free drink ticket with two donated food items.

Dec. 30: MetLife and Mercedes-Benz Gridiron Gala benefits the Outback Bowl; A La Carte Event Pavilion; invitation-only; (813) 874-2695

Dec. 31: Aqua Eve celebration benefits Florida Aquarium; 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; at the aquarium; $90 and up;; (813) 273-4030.

Jan. 4: Cocktails for a Cause, 5 to 7 p.m.; Tampa Museum of Art; free and open to the public. Attendees will receive a tour of the museum and Sono Cafe will be providing finger food. A portion of beverage sales benefits Florida Holocaust Museum. Reservations required; Florida Holocaust Museum; (727) 820-0100, ext. 251.

12/12/12 party for the Centre, and other Tampa social events 12/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 11:48am]
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