NAACP annual Freedom Fund dinner
Hillsborough's NAACP chapter chose the theme "Bridging Our Past to Our Future" for its annual Freedom Fund dinner to honor six community legends, or "Living Bridges," as president Carolyn Collins called Evangeline Best, Frances Jennings, Victoria Kirkland, Queen Miller, Walter Smith and James Wright. Guests at the Dec. 15 benefit also saluted Delano Stewart, Pauline Grant and Alveda Vernon for distinguished service to the nation's oldest civil rights organization.
On the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders protest, guest speaker Hilary O. Shelton of the NAACP Washington bureau expressed how much the black community has accomplished and how much more is required to protect those gains.
Rob Carter, WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor, emceed for the 400 guests at Mainsail Suites. Movers and doers spotted in the crowd: Victoria Rowe, Candy Lowe, Jim Hammond, Jackie Hearns, Belinthia Barry, Michelle Walker, Sonja Jordan and the Rev. William Dixon.
Beach Park Women's Club Silver Coffee
"Once a member, always a member," said Cheryl Adams, chatting with former neighbors at the Beach Park Women's Club annual Silver Coffee. Adams, like many others at the Dec. 9 get-together, have moved out of the West Shore neighborhood, but wouldn't think of missing the cozy confab. "It's 50-year tradition,'' said Adams, arranging homemade appetizers and desserts at the clubhouse. "Maybe longer."
Tastiest tradition: Ann Geuther's famous asparagus en croute, this year made by Karlene Trosper. Music by harpist Sharon Stoll, president of the Beach Park Garden Club, added an extra helping of holiday cheer.
Ryan's Rockin' Holiday Party
Since he couldn't clone himself, former Tampa Bay Buc Ryan Nece sent a video thank-you to Business Buddies Tampa for naming him their 2011 Community Leader of the Year at their Holiday Ball on Dec. 8.
That same night, Nece hosted Ryan's Rockin' Holiday Party at Aqua Bar & Grille in the Westin Tampa Bay. DJ Felix in da house entertained as jolly Jim "Santa" Henning assessed the crowd's naughtiness and niceness. Three members of the band Phase 5 — Josh, Sammi and Will — stopped by to sing some holiday tunes. Nece's Foundation collected $6,000 from the partiers to spend on teens residing at a Hillsborough County's Children's Services facility. Bucs tackle Brian Price donated tickets to take 20 boys to the Bucs-Cowboys game while Neiman Marcus treated 10 girls to makeovers.