With "Out of Africa" as an event theme, volunteers and staff of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic organized a fundraising event that drew more than 500 patrons to the Palm Court Ballroom of the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort, where many of the those attending wore safari or African-themed costumes.
The benefit raised nearly $300,000 and took its theme from the trip executive director Beth Houghton won in last year's auction; the invitation, programs and other promotional materials included photographs she took on that adventure.
Auctioneer Jason Alpert allowed two winning bids for the six-night safari offered during the evening.
Houghton, board chairman Tim Coop and Mastermind sponsor Joyce Karoleski welcomed guests. Joe Bourdow was master of ceremonies.
"If you all want a lesson in faith and health care in this day and age," Karoleski said, look no further than the services provided by the nonprofit agency. The clinic's services includes supplying food along with medical and residential assistance in the community. "We are the 3 a.m. friends . . . to the underserved."
Teams winning the 12th annual "Battle of the Minds" trivia competition were "Sharp, Party of 8," sponsored by Janice and Covington Sharp; “Working Title," sponsored by Cynthia Smoot and Bill Weller; and “Smarty Pants Cookies."
Janet Paroo and Marcy Shuck were co-chairwomen of the sponsorship committee, which included Ed Ameen, Marylou Bourdow, Janet Crane, Judy Holland, Sarah Lucas, Lynne Mormino and Jean Spencer-Carnes.
Joe Bourdow, Bud Dugger and Federico Pollicina led the game-show committee. Todd and Gail Robinson, Wayne and Kathy Hoover, Krystle Pinzker, Roxanne Richards, Robin Ruybal and Bill Feltner provided technical support. Shaina Bent, Donna Schonbrun and Ruybal were in charge of auction logistics.
As the Sundial project prepares to open in the next several months, some long-standing businesses are shuttered temporarily, but Chico's helped the (fashion) show go on at "Glitz and All That Jazz," the St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce luncheon, fashion show and card party.
Models Kathy Carlson, Alvina Miller, Val Rankin, Carol Schaus, June Wedding, Sara Whitney and Roberta Yancey wore appropriate springtime styles in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, with TASCO (the city's Teen Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities program) disc jockeys Laura Lynch and Wengay Newton Jr. supplying music and Alex Harris the special entertainment.
Chico's store manager Ashley Snyder and assistant manager Sherry Marlow organized the fashion show.
Sheri Kuhn and Sally Wheeler led an event committee that included Marguerite Dawson, Sara Galiger, Joan Jaicks, Barbara Marshall, Karen McCollum, Phyllis Powell, Janet Raymond, Schaus, Wedding, Teresa Wittstruck and Yancey.
The fundraiser benefits the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation and the Class Acts program at Mahaffey Theater.