Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla debutante ball
King Gasparilla XCVI Preston Farrior and Queen Mary Ellen Buell greeted 22 debutantes at Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's traditional Thanksgiving Eve rite. Capt. Jim Robbins Jr. read the women's lineage and laurels as dads and debs walked the raised runway at the Marriott Waterside. Family and fans cheered for the college sophomores before the final formality, a Grand March swirl of frothy white gowns and red roses.
A memorable night for all, perhaps most emotional for Jillian Joyce, who suffered a stroke in utero. "She's probably the krewe's first special-needs debutante," said her proud father, Robert.
The 2009 Gasparilla debutantes are Bryce Alley, Kathryn Ammon, Katherine Andretta, Margaret Kelsey Bohannan, Jennifer Chamblee, Caroline Coley, Sarah Craparo, Susanna Foster, Anna Rose Hoffstetter, Hilary Hunt, Mary Kathryn Ifert, Catherine Jennewein, Jillian Joyce, Melissa Rose King, Anne Lykes, Taylor Lykes, Jenny Molloy, Colleen Pizzo, Brannan Robson, Lisa Taylor and Eleanor Walling.
Two days later, Molly Ammon and Martee Craparo hosted a Mother-Daughter Coffee at the Ammon home, assisted by their younger daughters, Angie Ammon and Shealey Craparo. They made an ornament for each deb filled with a tiny white glove, beads, rose bouquet, krewe medallion and 2009 debutante roster.
King Venus XLIV Max Register and Queen Venus XLIV Kristie Morrill's fairy tale-themed costumes made nine young women feel like Cinderellas at the Krewe of Venus annual debutante ball. Emcee Allison Weaver Alexander, the 34th Queen Venus, read their impressive resumes. Cadets representing the University of Tampa Army ROTC; the University of South Florida Navy ROTC and the Citadel eagerly escorted sisters Laura and Ashley Bernstein; Corri Casey; Chelsey Ellingson, Brandi Garced, Kimberly Slaven, Laura Nell Smith, Kelly Valdez and Erika Welch.
Chairwoman Bonnie Perry orchestrated the Nov. 27 ball with help from Becky Myers and Amy Cosgrove at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park.
Best Buddies' Toast & Taste
Ashley Drive hangouts Taps and Raw Bar Sushi oozed a South Beach vibe, hosting the Best Buddies' new Tampa's Toast & Taste fundraiser, chaired by Katie Franco. The chic crowd lounged inside and outside the adjacent bars, sipping, snacking and getting cozy over chocolate-dipped strawberries as lawyer Kellie Lightbourn, Mrs. Florida 2009, auctioned four items. Her enthusiasm helped Best Buddies net $22,000 to create one-on-one friendships, jobs and leadership opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Honorees at the Nov. 21 benefit were Natasha Perry, Participant of the Year; advocate Karen Smith; volunteer Christy Young; and Rick Shalkop, Professional of the Year.
Krewe of Venus debutante ball