National League manager of the year Joe Maddon literally stopped S Howard Avenue traffic as dozens of fans jammed 717South and Ava restaurants to tell the ex-Tampa Bay Rays coach how much they still love him and to support his Thanksmas program for the homeless. The now-Chicago Cubs manager couldn't go 2 feet without signing an autograph or smiling for someone's selfie. A handful of former players stepped up to be celebrity bartenders, adding all their tips to $75 fixed-price dinners and $25 T-shirts sold for the cause Dec. 11. In past years, Maddon helped prepare the Thanksmas meatballs and perogies, but not so much this time, said restaurateur-partner Michael Stewart shepherding him through the admiring crowd.
77CREW Ugly Sweater Party
Ridiculously hot holiday temps didn't cramp 77Crew's style a bit at its second annual Ugly Sweater party on behalf of the Spring of Tampa Bay. "It's so hot, anything goes as long as it's ugly," said Jennifer Faggion, as the crowd swelled into Irish 31 in Hyde Park. Admission Dec. 16 was a set of sheets, a pillow or $10 for the domestic violence shelter, in return for a free drink, appetizers and much-needed winter fashion advice.
Judging categories included Awkward Family Heirloom, Santa's Workshop Quality Control Reject and Most Likely Knitted by Your Drunk Great Aunt, announced Chely Figueroa.
Beach Park Women's Club Silver Coffee
Think pink with more than a hint of green, quite a switch from the usual Beach Park Women's Club annual Silver Coffee. The planning committee went off script, said chairwoman Darri Adams, tying the Dec. 11 gathering to a Feb. 20 fashion show featuring the Pink Palm boutique to raise restoration funds for the West Shore Boulevard clubhouse.
"There's so much history here," said president Sandi Wallace, standing near a buffet guarded by a pink nutcracker. Members, many dressed with pink and green pizzazz, bought raffles to win a pink money tree created by Lita Swindle, a Lily Pulitzer bike donated by Cheryl Adams and a basket of pickles, jams and cookies made by Janice Lindgren. The 75-member club is open to residents, current or former, of Beach Park.
Association of Fundraising Professionals lifetime achievement award
Accolades and applause rang out for Joanne Sullivan as colleagues and friends surrounded the 2016 recipient of the Suncoast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals' highest distinction: the J. Lloyd Horton Lifetime Achievement award. A past-president of the group, Sullivan's peers honored her ethics, energy and achievements during a distinguished career in health care, arts and education fundraising, most recently as associate vice president for development at the University of Tampa. Michelle Turman said she was proud to present the award to her mentor during the December luncheon meeting at the newly refurbished Centre Club. Sullivan's leadership also includes serving on Easter Seals regional, state and national boards and the American Red Cross Angels.