Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: A Gasparilla party stroll

Happy Gasparilla!

"Perfect weather, better company,'' predicted Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Capt. Phil Carroll as his gang of 1,500 urban pirates, wives and dates stormed Ye Captain's Ball at the Tampa Yacht Club on Jan. 26.

He was dead on.

High noon two days later, on a glorious Gasparilla day, I set out on a Bayshore party stroll, crisscrossing the boulevard, darting between floats, popping into waterside corporate tents and visiting the landed gentry.

At that hour, the Merrymaker's tent was sparse, but I'm told they topped 500 before packing up and heading to the clubhouse to party even more.

I wandered on to check out the view from new homeowners Irene and Steve Stenzler's front porch. Superb! A few doors down, Byron Magbee whipped up a cauldron of jambalaya for the Hyde Park Men's Club and the Krewe of Bonney-Read congregating, as always, at Rodger and Joan King's house.

Two blocks away, at their heavily guarded brick mansion, Jill and Scott Kelley welcomed officers from 60 nations to their third Gasparilla Coalition Appreciation Party, including coalition chairman Brig. Gen. Jens Praestegaard of Denmark.

Scooting back to the waterfront, I noticed City Council members Harry Cohen, Mike Suarez and Lisa Montelione, plus attorney Jim Shimberg, fulfilling civic bead duties in the city's tent.

It was after 2:30 and the crowds were beyond belief when I reached "Tedsparilla" where hundreds smashed into Jeff Tedder's side yard. The surgeon went with a Mickey Mantle theme, mailing out 2,000 invitations saluting the New York Yankee known to drink as well as he hit home runs.

Bayshore newcomers Carmen and Harry Barkett love their new digs (former home of Don and Erika Wallace) so much that they protected it by entertaining 250 guests in tents across the street filled with face painters, photographers, Cuban food and a premium bar.

Not Betsy and Steve Chambers. They not only invited 1,000 beadmongers inside their gate, but after the parade, welcomed 70 members of the U.S. Naval Academy Band. They marched in to Anchors Aweigh, stowed their instruments in the garage and joined the dancing fray.

And there was Next Iron Chef 2011 winner Geoffrey Zakarian catching his first Gasparilla with his sister in-law Debra Williams and her husband, Gary McDaniel, at their stunning townhome.

But first, he whipped up a batch of the Mad Man Cosmopolitans that helped him win the Food Network's cook-off. (Also Gold Rush bourbon cocktails with honey and lemon.) A DJ pulled guests away from Mise en Place's party fare, including Sahlen's hot dogs from Buffalo topped with Weber's horseradish mustard.

Chef Zakarian, who owns two New York restaurants and one in Miami, chatted about: his cookbook sales (flying out of his Tampa warehouse), designing custom dining tables (made of reclaimed wood in Sri Lanka) and opening an eatery here, possibly with David Laxer of Bern's Steak House/SideBern's, "soon as I figure out what's not here."

For sure, "It will have a lounge,'' he said. "This is a serious party town."

Spoken like a true pirate.


Thursday: WEDU Be More Awards luncheon; 11 a.m.; A La Carte Event Pavilion; $50; (813) 254-9338, ext 2241.

Thursday: Florida State Fair Governor's Luncheon; Civitan of the Year announced; noon; Florida State Fairgrounds.

Thursday: Girl Scouts of West Central Florida Charity Night; 6-8 p.m.; Tampa Club, 101 E Kennedy Blvd., $5; (813) 262-1759.

Thursday: Art from the Heart. Chocolate and wine tasting art sale benefits McDonald Training Center Fine Art Studio; 5-8 p.m.; 5420 W Cypress St.; free; (813) 870-1300, ext. 310.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: A Gasparilla party stroll 02/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.