With a sellout crowd and enthusiastic bidders, PARC's 42nd annual black-tie Crystal Ball gala was an unmitigated success. The Renaissance Vinoy's Palm Court Ballroom had gaming tables and lounge seating along with the elegantly appointed dinner tables, and many women in the crowd wore glittering tiaras purchased in hopes of obtaining a diamond ring donated by major sponsors Diamonds Direct.
The fundraiser benefited children and adults with developmental disabilities, and for the past several years, it has honored "13 Magnetic Men," area business and community leaders.
Those recognized for 2011 are: Ian Beckles, a radio host and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer; Dick Crippen, senior adviser to the Tampa Bay Rays; Shawn Damkoehler, owner of Florida Scenic Tours and Florida Limousine Services; Johnny Green, a music promoter; Greg Hahn, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon; Lynn McGhee, an event designer and producer; Terry McCarthy, a real estate investor; Ryan Nece, an entrepreneur and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer; Stephen O'Rear, an officer in the U.S. Air Force; James Quintessenza, a pediatric heart surgeon; Joseph H. Saunders, a lawyer; Steve Westphal, a restaurateur; and Steve Yerrid, a lawyer.
Tonya Corder and Alison Lescarbeau chaired the event committee, which included Linda Armstrong, Sue Brett, Caroline D'Souza, Lorene Dolan, Thelma Gilbert, Karen Hayden, Angela Harwell, Christine Joyner, Rose Lampert, Joyce Larson, Fay Lazaris, Kelsey Littlefield, Marty Medley, Deonne Meier, Lyn Orns, Cheryl Sanchez and Robin Taylor.
Usually, it is filled with downtown business executives, but the lobby at One Progress Plaza in St. Petersburg was party central for "Swanky Soiree," a benefit for Brookwood Florida that featured fashion, food and art. It was an elegant celebration that raised in excess of $70,000 to support the work of the residential program for abused and neglected girls.
Models wearing the creations of designers Alla-K, John William Barger III and Jose Nazario strolled through the first and second floors, where food and drink stations featured yummy contributions from: the Bay Star Restaurant Group, BD's Mongolian Grill, Carrabba's, Ceviche, Chouinard's, Donatello, Granite Top Goodies, Kahwa Coffee, Luna at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon, Maritana at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel, Michael's on East, O'Bistro, Olympia Catering & Events, Red Mesa, Royal Brownie Co., the Palm and Z Grille.
Rick Gee's Jazz Jamm performed for the Tampa Bay Fashion Week event, which also included work by artist Don Kobasky and jewelry designers Susan de Weil and Rhonda Borgioni.
The event committee included: Barger, Matt Becker, Scott Buchanan, Phyllis Eig, Summer Goldman, Beth Herendeen, Ernest Hooper, Brian Housel, Marie Izzo, Sharon O'Gradney-Krkljus, Alla-K, Kathy Jones, Karen Julien, Joyce Larson, Pam LeCompte, Catherine McGarry, David Ramsey, Ginger Reichl, John Schnackel, Olivia Scott, Edie Spies, Karen Thomas and Diane Winning.
For the Community Law Program, it was an evening to celebrate volunteers. And Gwynne Young, president-elect of the Florida Bar, urged lawyers gathered for the dinner at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club to continue helping the disenfranchised and educate the public about their vocations.
More people know the names of the judges on TV's American Idol than justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, she said. And state legislators sometimes refer to the court system as an "agency" rather than as one of the three branches of government.
The 6th Judicial Circuit's chief judge, J. Thomas McGrady, presented the awards: Community Law Program Pro Bono Award in memory of David L. Stout to Jeannine S. Williams; Law Firm Pro Bono Award to Patricia Alten and Larry Cangro; Family Law Pro Bono Award in memory of Christina Ippolito to John E. Tuthill; Pro Bono Clinic Award in memory of Larry Hyman to Patrick J. Halpin; Young Lawyers Pro Bono Award to Beth Jenkins Casey; and Community Outreach Award to St. Petersburg College. Also recognized was Murray B. Silverstein, who earlier this year received the Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Award.
Linda Perrigoue is president of the CLP's board of directors, and Mary Evertz chaired the event committee.
Fashion designer Kay Unger is known for her elegant, clean lines, colorful palette and feminine styles, which make her clothes a perfect fit for a charity fundraiser benefiting the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. In connection with the museum's Margaret Acheson Stuart Society and Saks Fifth Avenue in Tampa, she will attend a luncheon and runway show featuring her styles in St. Petersburg next month.
For several years now, the Stuart Society has presented designer collections at its autumn event, which will take place at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 in the Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort.
Tickets start at $135 and include an invitation to an Oct. 26 patrons party at Saks. Call (727) 896-2667, ext. 197 for more information or to make a reservation.