Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful's Tropical Nights
SilverSpoons & Sandcastles auction party morphed into Tropical Nights, but the fundraiser founded by advocate Sue House 20 years ago still draws a loyal group of environmentalists. And just as the benefit has a new name, so does the beneficiary — originally the Mayor's Beautification Program, then Tampa Bay Beautification, now Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.
Rebranding will make a bigger impact, said Pat Deplasco, community education liaison, as 800 guests roamed the port authority's Cruise Terminal No. 3, raising $100,000 for "green" programs.
Tropical shirts and sundresses were a colorful sight May 4 as bidders circled an eclectic auction of trips, tickets and artwork, including rain barrels by Joan Nagy and Terry Klaaren and stoneware bowls by parks and rec students.
Standouts among an array of restaurants and caterers serving that night: Yummy House, Ella's, Timpano's and Taste of Tampa. Lee Roy Selmons' bartenders poured Smokin' Tampa Tea, a mix of Absolut vodka, Bacardi Oakheart and Meyer's rums, and peach schnapps. No bias, just fact: the longest line was the Tampa Bay Times irresistible candy buffet, Sweet Times.
LAMPLighters' Lights, Fashion, Hope
LAMPLighters and friends paid tribute to founding member Lila Mulholland at shopping cocktail party Lights, Fashion, Hope hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue. During her 26-year membership, Mulholland twice served as president of the auxiliary devoted to Metropolitan Ministries and Joshua House.
Store manager Joel Ellzey welcomed the 250 guests May 3, along with chairwomen trio Kelly Breeding, Lori Chamberlin and Kim Rogers as designer Craig Signer launched a trio of models in his latest styles. Shoppers sampled Donatello's cannoli; the Palm's smoked sea bass and lobster bisque; Aqua's beef carpaccio; In the Box's salmon on edamame salad; CDB's sausage sliders; Mike's Pies; and more.
With a "passport" stamp from various departments, patrons were entered in prize drawings. If they visited the men's department, they got to meet charming Nick Creazzo who was showing a Kiton $8,500 cashmere suit.
Auction buys (Jimmy Choo shoes, Prada wallet, Saks salon day and more) helped the women raise $40,000.
10th annual Tuxes & Tails
Cats and dogs practically danced down the runway with their celebrity handlers, eager to go home with one of the 450 guests at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay's annual Tuxes & Tails dinner. County Commissioner Ken Hagan, City Council member Lisa Montelione and the city's chief of staff, Santiago Corrada, among others, helped emcee Cynthia Smoot, WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor, show off the adoptable pets at the Tampa Convention Center on May 5.
Event Show Productions and Breezin' Entertainment dancers performed to music of every decade to mark the shelter's 100th anniversary. Executive director Sherry Silk invited dog lover/Columbia restaurateur/historian Richard Gonzmart to talk about visiting the shelter as a kid. Bob Reina stole the show donating $100,000 during the Save-A-Life appeal. That's on top of last year's gift of $250,000 and $1 million to name the new Talk Fusion Animal Health Center, opening in the fall. In all, the gala netted $200,000.
Go Red for Women
"I pledge allegiance to my heart of the united organs of my body and to the blood vessels for which it pumps, one nation under stress . . ." read Seattle actor-comedian Tracy Conway, lightening a very serious message at the American Heart Association's annual Go Red for Women luncheon. All 300 guests pledged to learn more about health risks after hearing how Conway's heart stopped when she was just 38, ironically during her show, Almost Live. CPR revived her, but her brother was not as lucky. He died of heart failure at age 39.
Largo Medical Center's Andrea Metcalf coached the red-dressed crowd on how to stretch their exercise bands before a healthy lunch of basa fish and chicken was served at A La Carte Event Pavilion on May 4. Emcees Ginger Gadsden and Keith Jones of WTSP-Ch. 10 announced chic Sharon Lewis the 2012 Red Fashionista. Luncheon proceeds topped $250,000.