Bern's 15th annual WineFest
Tickets to the four-day Bern's WineFest sold out in five hours, including nearly 1,000 to the Grand Tasting on April 22.
VIPs paid $275 to get first dibs on sophisticated pintxos like Galacian octopus and Basquaise tamales and 200 wines poured in five tents. The others paid $145 to sample such delights as salmon Reubens, corned beef dumplings, foie gras corn dogs and much more. Among the 15 kinds of confections made by pastry chef Kim Yelvington, graham crackers are her latest addiction, evidenced in her marshmallows, creme brulee and s'mores.
A wine auction arranged by owners David and Christi Laxer brought in $20,000 for the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation and a James Beard Foundation culinary scholarship.
St. Joseph's Hospitals' 19th Stepping Out gala
Deliciously arrayed buffets and bars lured Stepping Out gala guests onto the vast verandah of Mark and Christel Yaffe's palatial Avila estate Saturday. Gorgeous florals topped poolside tables. Dramatic lighting added romance to St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation's theme, Enchanted April.
Then a sudden downpour, "a mini-monsoon,'' said one of the 400 gowned and tuxedoed patrons, sent everyone scurrying for cover. All fit handily in the living room of the 29,000-square-foot mansion.
Hospital and A La Carte Catering staffers grabbed the food and partied on inside amid the Yaffes' extensive music box collection.
The storm passed quickly, someone mopped the dance floor and Jessie's Girls returned to rock the stage.
April showers brought May dollars, nearly $11,000 in a live auction when Frank Musolino bought the fishing trip with Lou Piniella; Matt Halme bid on an acrobatic L-39 jet ride with ER doc Howard Chipman; and Sean Hyer got the Victoria Canada getaway donated by Art and Donna Tolson. Silent auction items will be sold online.
Joshua House Circle of Friends dinner
You wouldn't have known it, but an hour before guests arrived at Friends of Joshua House Foundation's annual alfresco dinner, Mise en Place caterers were throwing tarps over tables and grabbing seat cushions in John and Tracy Bales' back yard.
There'd be no rain, no speeches, no auction in Never Never Land, co-chairs Melanie Bavol and Anita Shuler promised 120 guests as a dozen Patel Conservatory students played Lost Boys to carry out the Peter Pan theme.
One guest, Joan Steinbrenner, was especially pleased when Saturday's skies cleared, eagerly recalling when she and her late husband, George, resided in the Beach Park house. Dottie Berger MacKinnon, founder of Joshua House for abused children, hated to miss dinner but was resting up from a busy week that including surgery and being named the Tampa Chamber of Commerce's 2012 Woman of Influence. She was thrilled to hear that the evening netted $58,000.
Hillsborough Community College Presidential Showcase
Endowed scholarships honor TECO Energy chief exec John Ramil and child advocate Dottie Berger MacKinnon, both announced at Hillsborough Community College Foundation's annual Presidential Showcase on April 19.
Emcee Rick Nafe and honorary chairman Tom Pepin kept the evening interesting with help from band, choir, culinary and other students dining with 360 guests at the Marriott Waterside. First Generation matching grants will double the $100,000 raised.