Patel birthday bash
Happy Birthday, Kiran Patel, sang several hundred friends and family members March 10, as admirers were invited to plant 65 trees in honor of his 65th birthday. The festivities began at the 14-acre Patel family compound being erected on White Trout Lake in Carrollwood, then moved a few miles west for an Indian dinner buffet and a golf course-shaped birthday cake at the India Cultural Center. Photos of the businessman, cardiologist, father, grandfather and golfer with "big dreams" flashed across screens as many guests rose for laudatory toasts. Tearfully, Dr. K, credited his late father and everyone there for "pushing me up that mountain."
51st Chiselers Auction Preview Party
The annual juggernaut known as the Chiseler's Market, run by those tireless 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel preservationists, overflowed the University of Tampa's Plant Hall with graciously used furniture, artwork, sterling silver, crystal and china Saturday. The Chiselers amass "stuff" all year to sell in one blowout: Chanel handbags and mink coats off the lobby; household, holiday decor and electronic bargains in Fletcher Lounge. In 50 years, the women's group has raised about $2.8 million.
The evening prior, more than 400 guests were invited to a preview cocktail party where they could shop for double the price tag while listening to Dennis Pupello's band. A live auction added more to restoration fundraising. Al Van Voris bid $750 for four box seats and the chance to throw the first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game. Sisters Debbie Thomas and Jan Ely bought a wine-paired dinner for eight cooked by Jamie Urso for $650; Nancy and David Smith bid $1,300 for dinner for 10 at the home of UT president Ron and Renee Vaughn.
St. Jude's Around the World Tasting Experience
Around the World Tasting Experience co-chairs Tom and Holly Malouf spun the globe to convey the mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: free treatment for catastrophic disease for kids just about anywhere on the planet.
The 300 guests, greeters by "flight attendants," arrived at the Straz Center for cocktails on the red carpet outside Morsani Hall on Saturday, served by a woman whose dress actually was a red carpet. Two other hostesses, garbed in Middle Eastern and Asian attire, were walking hors d'oeuvre tables. Flags hung above from all the nations affiliated with the Memphis research center.
Emcee Jamison Uhler, WFTS-Ch. 28 anchor, featured the Kizer family to attest to the hospital's care. Young Jackson Kizer sang to the crowd before they headed out to a tent for dinner bites from 12 restaurants and music by the Howlin' Blues band.
Girl Scouts honor Women of Distinction
If she had been a Girl Scout, actor, author, artist and humanitarian Jane Seymour surely would have earned badges in creative arts, theater, child care, fitness, medical arts (for her TV show as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) and many others, said Marian Rich at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's annual luncheon Tuesday which raised more than $100,000 for scouts in eight counties.
Seymour was impressed by the 2014 Women of Distinction: Leslie Waters, mayor of the city of Seminole; Dotti Groover-Skipper, founder of the HeartDance Foundation and vice chair for the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women; Molly Crews, president of the Tampa Bay National Day of Prayer Council; and Nancy Ridenour, certified public accountant. Also accountant and founder of High Risk Hope Heather Barrow, the Scouts' under-35 Woman of Promise role model.
Seymour's message to the 735 guests at A La Carte Event Pavilion, including dozens of previous honorees: "Life is constantly changing . . . Open your heart and accept your circumstances . . . Someone is always worse off than you." A near-death experience made her vow to make every moment count, and her advocacy leaves no doubt she is fulfilling that promise.