Are people feeling a bit more prosperous? It certainly seemed so for "An Enchanted Evening," the 81st annual charity ball presented by the All Children's Hospital Guild Evening Branch and attended by a sold-out crowd of more than 400 in the Renaissance Vinoy Resort's Palm Court Ballroom.
The decor evoked a winter wonderland we have yet to experience in Florida this season: ice sculptures, bare branches, snowflake silhouettes, white florals. And Southtown Fever, a versatile band if there ever was one, had people on the dance floor, playing everything from Frank Sinatra to Van Morrison to Corinne Bailey Rae. Auctioneer Blake Kennedy had more than a few luxury trips and other experiences to offer those attending.
All Children's opened its new hospital in 2010 and last year began integrating with the Johns Hopkins Health System. Proceeds from the ball go to the applied behavioral analysis program, which helps autistic and other developmentally challenged children.
Raymond James Financial and TSE Industries and the Klingel Family Foundation were signature sponsors. The steering committee included Tish McQuillen, chair; Julie Berry, Shari Casey, Jennifer Christ, Tricia Davidson, Chloe Firebaugh, Claire Lesinski, Janet Lynn, Cheryl Matala, Carole McGurk, Sandy Moss, Carol Nelson, Arlene Pickard, Jean Prina, Marjie Ruth, Terri Shook and Bonnie Strickland.
Art Festival Beth-El, the annual three-day extravaganza to benefit St. Petersburg's Temple Beth-El, seems to improve every time. It's hard to imagine the creativity and energy that have sustained the annual event, but a huge cast of volunteers is the key to its success. The festival spans a weekend, and I went on Monday for the added luncheon and Avenue of Shops.
Kim Anderson, who teaches at New College of Florida, judged the show; and artist and curator Rebecca Sexton-Larson judged the student entries.
Leading the entire effort are festival chairwomen Donna Berman, Nan Bugatch, Sonya Miller, Pam Sekeres, Jan Sher, Ann Soble, Barbara Sterensis and consultant Ellie Argintar.
Members of the chorus from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at St. Petersburg's Gibbs High School, directed by conductor Derek Weston, performed for the "Rising Stars" luncheon and card party at the St. Petersburg Country Club. The event was a fundraiser hosted by the St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce for Tampa Bay Watch's habitat restoration and children's educational programs.
Mary Wheeler and Karen McCollum were co-chairs of the event committee, which included Roseanna Costa, April Gayle Gausman, Noreen Hodges, Joan Jaicks, Sheri Kuhn, Anne Long, Sally Poynter, Janet Raymond, Sheila Tempelmann, Sally Wheeler, Evelyn Wilty, Teresa Wittstruck and Roberta Yancey.
The organization raises money for city beautification and for civic and philanthropic endeavors.