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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Helping children and a gourmet fest

Big Brothers Big Sisters' Art of Helping Children How high did auction bids go at the 10th annual Art of Helping Children gala benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay? As high as the graceful gymnasts from Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, swirling and twirling to the oohs and ahhs of 300 guests at A La Carte Pavilion on Sept. 6.

CEO Stephen Koch thanked former board chair Ron Broadrick, a $30,000 sponsor, for starting the art auction 10 years ago, noting that that's when Ron met his wife, Tami, who worked for the agency at that time. The couple married three years ago, Koch said, "so you never know, you could be next."

Ron urged the crowd to "spend freely because it breaks my heart to know 700 children are waiting for mentors in our three counties."

Carrollwood artists Bosko Curich and his wife, Cristina Denegri, hosted some "littles" and "bigs," as the children and their mentors are known, at their studio for art lessons over the summer. After watching a video of the "littles" painting at the gallery and seeing the masterpieces on display, Tampa Police Department narcotics commander Capt. Hugh Miller and guest Kim Mansfield bought several, "donating" them back to the kids to keep. Auction proceeds and $150 tickets helped net $100,000 for the largest mentoring organization in the United States.

Centre for Women Gourmet Feastival King Venus Ron "Zeus" Weaver invited the entire Krewe of Venus and all former kings and queens of the 34-year-old social club to dinner Sept. 6 at the University Club, dubbed Mount Olympus for the evening, the theme of the 2008 royal court. The view from the 38th floor of the Tampa City Center is as close as we get to the gods' lair.

Jackie Weaver, a veteran krewe event planner, joked that she was a committee of one this time, but you know daughter Alison and her husband, Brian Alexander, were a big help. And son Ronnie and his wife, Meggin, brought their Off Sides improv comedy group to entertain the 200 guests. Son Michael, 20, a student at the University of South Florida gave up the UCF-USF game to be there.

The pyramid-shaped invitation called for black-tie or Grecian costume, and a few guests, like Kelly and John Terry, ventured out in toga and olive branches. King Ron presented each duke and duchess a figurine of the god or goddess they represent in the court.

Krewe of Venus King's Dinner Catching up with friends at the Centre for Women's annual Gourmet "Feastival" always signals the end of summer, kind of like a back-to-school celebration where you get to hear all about everybody's vacations. The Aug. 28 tasting party filled Morsani Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. New this year: the silent auction spread throughout the Ferguson Hall lobby, an extra 5,000 square feet of space because last year guests fussed about being cramped in long lines. This time, there was plenty of room for about 1,100 guests, 100 volunteers and 30 vendors.

Sampling favorites this year included Bella's confetti spaghetti; Fox and Fig Catering's lentil salad; NoHo Bistro's gazpacho; Grass Root's chili; and Maestro's lamb skewers. Desserts came from the Melting Pot, Flowers to Eat, Sweet Dreams, Toffee to Go and others. ABC Fine Wine & Spirits poured and poured.

A month before the auction, Lisa Richardson, the center's communications director, resigned to take a similar position at the Boys & Girls Club. She stayed on for a few more weeks to help her successor, Amy Scott, oversee the Feastival and raise more than $50,000 for programs aimed at women and low-income seniors struggling with unemployment, addictions and family crises.


Saturday: Vino Las Vegas benefits Tampa Theatre; 7-8:30 p.m. Premium wine tasting; $85 in advance, $95 day of event; 8-10 p.m. Grand wine tasting, $50 in advance, $60 day of event; 274-8981.

Thursday: Photo MoJo auction benefits Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County; 6:30 p.m.; Neiman Marcus; $50 in advance; $60 at the door; 221-2222.

Thursday: The Art of Giving inaugural Human Relations Award dinner benefits American Jewish Committee; 6 p.m. A La Carte Pavilion; $250; (941) 365-4955.

Thursday: Jules Burt Glam Ball benefits Young Survival Coalition and Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation; 7 p.m.; Seminole Hard Rock Hotel; $75 in advance, $95 at the door; 541-3248 or

Thursday: Festival of Fashions celebrity model fashion show benefits Hillsborough Achievement and Resource Centers (HARC); sponsored by Georgette's of Hyde Park; silent auction, 10 a.m.; luncheon at noon; Hyatt Regency Tampa; $75; 273-6364.

Sept. 26: Endless Summer cocktail auction party benefits Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; 7:30 p.m.; Tampa Yacht Club; $175; 249-2111.

Sept. 27: 11th annual All That Glitters wine tasting auction benefits MacDonald Training Center; 7 p.m.; TPepin's Hospitality Centre; $75; (VIP $100 at 6 p.m.); 870-1300, ext. 283.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Helping children and a gourmet fest 09/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2008 4:31am]
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