A bathtub floozie flopped high on top of the bar, beckoning guests into the Eye Ball, a high-class gin joint celebration of Lions Eye Institute's 40th anniversary. CEO Jason Woody welcomed 235 guests to gamble at blackjack and slots, dine on paella, dance to the Vodkanauts and raise more than $100,000 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Landon McClellan, 6, whose cornea transplant was paid for from the 2012 gala, visited the speakeasy scene Nov. 9, just one of 60,000 tissue recipients given the gift of sight by supporters of the eye bank and its Ocular Research Center.
USF Unstoppable Campaign Celebration
"Jump, jump for my love," sang the Pointer Sisters, joined on stage by jumping, dancing and Bulls Pride-bursting University of South Florida System president Judy Genshaft at the Unstoppable Campaign Celebration, a formal elegant pep rally at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Genshaft, iridescent in a gold-sequined gown, and Les Muma, Class of 1966, announced $621,378,543 raised in private donations. "Beyond our wildest dreams ... $21 million over goal," said Muma, capital campaign chairman.
No resting on those laurels for USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg who handed the "Bulls"horn off to Tampa Electric president Gordon Gillette, USF '81, '85, and Tampa Bay Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke to continue fund-raising to $1 billion.
Speeches were brief; videos bullish, blasted on a 40-foot screen as 500 guests dined on sea bass and filet mignon on sequined linens Nov. 15.
Emcees Ann Liguori, CBS Sports Radio, and Kerry Sanders, NBC News correspondent, both class of '82, beamed at Dr. Manny Lucoff, retired teacher of the broadcast law class where they met. Unstoppable dancers Betty Castor and Sam Bell, Harry and Jeffrie Van Loveren, Dick and Cornie Corbett, Dee and Charlie Mahan and Kim and Bill Cummings knew every Pointer Sisters hit. Pashminas in USF green or gold and a bottle of Champagne made elegant parting gifts.
Boy Scouts' Taste of Ybor
Guests navigated an array of auction items leading into the Ritz Ybor where more auctionables and a variety of restaurants awaited at the third Taste of Ybor benefit for Boys Scouts of America, Gulf Ridge Council on Nov. 9. Eagle Scout candidates Garrett Fiss and Jared Dorsey, both 16 and juniors at Plant High, offered their talents; Girl Scouts Kailey Fernandez, Katie Cassedy and Katie Hochhausler showed off s'mores skills. Blynd Jvstvs band kept the 300 guests entertained as they raised $36,000 for 30,000 Scouts served in eight counties by 5,000 adult volunteers.
Girl Scouts' Dessert First
Seven chefs went cookie crazy creative concocting desserts as appetizers, enticing 200 guests to a carb challenge that raised $25,000 for Girl Scouts of West Central Florida at Dessert First. Every kind of Girl Scout cookie was in the mix Nov. 8 at the InterContinental Tampa, including the hotel's chef Alex Reyes' Dulce de Leche blood orange mousse on Thank You Berry Munch tarts.
Judges, including Times cookie monster Ernest Hooper, awarded the Golden Whisk to Geraldo Bayona and Al Johnson of the Columbia restaurant for Tagalong panna cotta. Datz's Andy King won the People's Choice vote for his Piggy Ate My Tagalong. Buffet dinner of New York strip steak, ravioli and shrimp mac and cheese came next. Auctioneer Bucky Worboys and guest speaker Gaither High senior Kinsey Smith, a Scout for 13 years, really impressed.