Red Cross Angels' Halo Award dinner
U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, earned the Halo Award from the Red Cross Angels for extending "his reach from Pinellas to the state to the nation,'' Al Austin said during a benefit dinner April 25. "His fingerprints are everywhere."
Young's reply paraphrased President Ronald Reagan: "It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit." The 19-term congressman promised to "add to my big spender label'' with continued support for MacDill Air Force Base.
Gov. Charlie Crist echoed Young's accolades, noting "He's my congressman, too." Emcee Jack Harris couldn't resist ribbing the bachelor, asking, "Charlie, why no hot date tonight?"
Angels president Bev Austin prevailed upon her husband and his tennis partners, Don DeFosset, former Gov. Bob Martinez and Dr. R. Vijay, to lead the evening at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. DeFosset gave the invocation; Martinez welcomed the 285 guests; and Vijay helped host the VIP reception, which some dubbed a mini-GOP convention.
The Songfellows delightfully trilled the national anthem; a MacDill Air Force Base honor guard posted the colors; the Sunset Serenade Quartet sang as roasted chicken arrived. The program ended promptly at 9, said Bev, who founded the Angels auxiliary 25 years ago, "because the men play tennis early Saturday morning.'' She expects dinner proceeds of $100,000 to provide Red Cross emergency communications services to military families.
Cattle Barons' Ball
There was plenty to keep the blue-jeaned herd happy at the Cattle Barons' Ball, the American Cancer Society's country-western benefit that raises "millions of dollars in hundreds of cities,'' said Gloria Giunta, who started Tampa's version 11 years ago and despite a badly sprained ankle, held the reins with chairwoman Jeanne Marget.
Saturday's Stampede at Port of Tampa's Cruise Terminal No. 3 kept cowhands swapping dollars for wooden nickels to play Midway games and blackjack. They grazed the silent auction and bought teddy bears for $60, including a bottle of wine. Half of the 100 bears sold were donated back for kids with cancer. Sponsors raced on dressed-up hobbyhorses and toy bulls. Martin Saavedra Jr. of MLI Integrated Graphic Solutions came in first.
In caterer Rita Carlino's chow line: quesadillas made to order with wild mushrooms, ropa vieja and other city slicker stuffings. Beef tenderloin came grilled in chimichurri sauce; pork loin in guava orange pico. Just say yeehaw for caramel apple upside-down cake and cowgirl cookies.
Cactus Creek, featuring St. Petersburg Times reporter Dave Scheiber, provided country hits. Maybe next year they'll play a tune by songwriter and emcee Mike Deeson of WTSP-Ch. 10.
Altogether, the cattle barons roped in $500,000, including $35,000 pledged for ROCK programs and Julie and Anthony Everett's $25,000 match to donations to the Benjamin Mendick Hope Lodge, a free residence for patients and caregivers. A quilt made by young cancer patients, sponsored by Mary Jane Jones, rustled up $5,000 from Ron and Debra Weisser.
Colorful renderings of the Glazer Children's Museum flashed on screens at Imagination, a gala for the future Ashley Drive facility. Sketches of planned exhibits brightened place mats and spurred table talk.
"It's a dream come true,'' said Sandy Murman, Glazer Children's Museum capital campaign chairwoman, as she surprised Imagination co-chairwomen Stephanie Gibson and Meg Russell-Bereday with flowers Saturday at Pepin Hospitality Center.
Caleb Quezon, 8, a St. Mary's Episcopal Day School third-grader, and Sandrinne Edstrom, 12, who is homeschooled, pitched the museum themes in musical skits directed by Dorene Collier as her Event Show Productions dancers acted out the kids' imaginations. The children wore hard hats and hammered with giant tools in the Design + Build skit. Their sports and fitness number, Get'cha Head in the Game, from High School Musical, pulled 350 guests to their feet for rock star exercises. Astronauts surrounded a contortionist in a Cirque du Soleil-style Time Travel scene. A flashy Vegas finale sang out for money to build the 50,000-square-foot museum.
Auctioneers Paul Wilborn and WFLA-Ch. 8's Stacie Schaible were thrilled to raise $10,000 hawking four Super Bowl XLIII tickets. Sarah Weinstein, 8 on Tuesday, played Dorothy to tug Toto and a little red wagon full of "sponsor" bricks. Guests "bought" 26 at $1,000 each before joining Wilborn on the patio, where he accompanied singer Rose Bilal on piano.
Best of Tampa Bay
The best way to arrive at the Best of Tampa Bay? On Ken Walters' vintage Chris-Craft Sal, packed with two dozen ravenous supporters of the 23rd annual food and music sampling benefit for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
Amazing aromas led to 45 restaurants and catering displays. We heard raves for Philly Phlava's cheese steaks, Il Terrazzo's elegant scallops and Grillsmith's spicy Thai shrimp. Maestro's chef Rusty Evers whipped up her signature seafood gumbo, smoked roast beef po'boys, bread pudding and beignets.
Besides an abundance of calories, the April 18 riverfront food-a-thon offered musical options: Wholly Cats and Denise Moore entertained indoors; Lounge Cats and the Allen Darcy Duo played outside. Pocket Change played on the waterfront, right where Sal docked until the last bar closed.
Event chairman Steven Mezer and the Producers support group raised more than $70,000, including Art Fare auction sales of aprons and such, painted by 30 local artists and paired with theater tickets or gift certificates.