Friends of Plant Park 15th annual GreenFest luncheon
Of their many accomplishments, the Friends of Plant Park count two biggies: relocating the cannon on proper naval mounts near their original position and erecting/landscaping a 110-foot flagpole with a historic 45-star flag, said Sue Isbell at the GreenFest kickoff luncheon March 22 at the Tampa Yacht Club. Their next project will be a self-guided audio tour of the University of Tampa's Plant Park, which is where they welcomed thousands of GreenFest shoppers to the annual gardening expo March 24 and 25.
At lunch, Tampa Bay Times gardening columnist Penny Carnathan entertained the 165 ladies with hilarious garden exploits; Mort Richter displayed the gorgeous wooden bowls and tray he crafted from a giant cedar formerly gracing UT.
Tampa Bay Heart Ball
As if scripted by the American Heart Association, news of former vice president Dick Cheney's heart transplant arrives in synch with the Tampa Bay Heart Ball. Meeting Maddie Grace, 11, of Palm Harbor, who had her transplant six years ago, brought the results of research funding even closer to home for 400 guests.
A La Carte Event Pavilion's ballroom blazed red Saturday night, from chairwoman Becky Sykes' gown to 2011 chairman Bryan Glazer's bow-tie to sizzling Event Show Productions dancers and the Buzzcatz band.
And how about this red-hot auction package? Credentials to attend three Republican National Convention events went to Rick and Marsha Joseph for a $3,400 bid. Another $6,200 came from Mary Clare Codd when 2008 Heart Ball chairman Gary Sasso auctioned a 20-bottle wine collection and refrigerator donated by heart association "leaders who collectively raised more than $9 million," he said.
The $500 per ticket gala netted $670,000, thanks to two $25,000 matching grants, one from Sykes Enterprises and one from Ron Wanek of Ashley Furniture, and to big-hearted Susan and John Sykes, 2007 ball chairmen, who picked up the dinner tab. A yummy incentive: donors of $2,500 and up were invited to dinner at the home of restaurateur Frankie Marchesini.
Cattle Barons' Ball patrons party
How fortuitous for the American Cancer Society that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band wanted to play the Tampa Bay Times Forum on March 23, the same night Gloria Giunta had reserved for the 15th annual Cattle Barons' Ball.
Forum Boss Jeff Vinik, who also happens to be honorary chairman of Giunta's blue jeans bash, had a solution for the Asbury Park Boss. Vinik, representing the Tampa Bay Lightning, would host a patrons party during the concert if Giunta agreed to push the event back to April 20.
And that's how a happy herd of 200 Cattle Barons got to feast in the PNC Club and rock out to Springsteen while looking forward to being back next month.
Las Damas de Arte
Tough job for Taylor Ikin, judging Sunday in the Arts, the annual sale hosted by Las Damas de Arte to fund scholarships and grants. Elena Cifuentes won Best of Show; other standouts Sunday are too numerous to name. Okay, here are a few notables: Karen Solomon's jewelry; Susan Lessem's vintage fabric satchels; Kimberli Cummings' ceramics, Suzanne Camp Crosby's photographs and Rena Jacobson's bead beauties and Princess Simpson Rashid and Dorothy Banker's paintings.
Among Las Damas' homemade buffet offerings was Joe Dato's pasta station and Patrick Alonso's sushi, and meatballs from Da Giuseppe Ristorante. The Dennis Pupello Quartet jazzed the art lovers in Tampa Prep's Smith Black Box Theater.