PARC's 43rd annual black-tie Platinum Ball packed the house in the Palm Court Ballroom of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, where auctioneers Wade and Barbara West kept a frenzied pace during live bidding, introducing what they called "lifeboat" and "lightning round" turns for a number of luxury offerings. Patrons received up-to-the minute touchscreen BidPal devices to speed along silent-auction offers and individual contributions.
The dinner event was to raise money for PARC, which helps children and adults who have disabilities to live independently.
It was also to honor this year's 13 "Magnetic Men," recognizing community leaders whose contributions are too many to detail in this space. WFLA-TV anchor Gayle Guyardo announced the honorees: Bill Edwards, Mark Ferguson, Jack Frost, Del Goforth, Dr. Reggie Ligon, Lonnie Malatino, Duncan McClellan, Michael Mikurak, Dr. Ron O'Neal, Jim Valenty, Dick Vitale, Carlos Yepes and Pat Walsh.
Karen Higgins, PARC's president and chief executive, and Dr. Frank Farkas, board chairman, greeted attendees. Lyn Orns and Robin Taylor led the event committee, which included Linda Armstrong, Susie Bennati, Sue Brett, Tonya Corder, Judy DiVincenzo, Lorene Dolan, Thelma Gilbert, Angela Harwell, Joan Johnston, Victoria Jourdenais, Christine Joyner, Rose Lampert, Joyce Larson, Fay Lazaris, Alison Lescarbeau, Kelsey Littlefield, Celmita Mastry, Marty Medley, Deonne Meier, Noreen Parker, Cheryl Sanchez and Jeannine Stewart. Tampa Bay Rays senior adviser Dick Crippen was master of ceremonies.
There was hardly any room to maneuver through Marion's Gifts & Clothing, but that was by design. The Florida Resurrection House Auxiliary organized "Girlfriends Give Back," hosted by boutique owner Marion Mitchell and her staff. The evening was a learning experience for participants, who moved among instructional stations and enjoyed appetizers and beverages along the way.
Cassie Osterloth of Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft demonstrated several quickly assembled seasonal floral arrangements. World traveler Beverly Yepes showed how to pack two carry-on bags (one for the overhead bin, one for beneath the seat) for a monthlong trip. Fashion consultant Suzanne Fisher offered scarf-tying techniques that gave wearers a stylish, finished look. Erica Allums of Banyan Cafe & Catering prepared fall appetizers. Margaret McQuade, from the Bobbi Brown cosmetics staff at Saks Fifth Avenue, Tampa, illustrated autumn trends in eye makeup. And Debbie Rivard, manager of Faith Community Nursing for St. Anthony's Hospital and BayCare, gave suggestions for healthy travel.
Helping to coordinate the evening were Resurrection House president and chief executive Cynthia Sinclair, auxiliary president Dawn Fisher, Jane Beam, Gwendolyn Johnson and Betty Shamas.
Florida Resurrection House is a faith-based transitional housing and self-sufficiency program for homeless or at-risk families who have minor children.
More than 240 supporters of Great Explorations Children's Museum boarded the Starlite Majesty dining cruise ship at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club dock for this year's Great Extravaganza fundraiser. Board chairman Scott Wagman and his wife, Beth Houghton, welcomed guests along with Great Ex's chief executive officer Lisa Negrini and her husband, Dario.
The inland waterway journey aboard the 115-foot vessel included dinner, dessert, silent and live auctions, and fireworks.
Guests included board member Andrea Biderman and Matt Silverman, emcee Jen Holloway, Pat and Hilary Marston, Dave and Lisa Hood, Dr. Bill Heller, Matt and Anne Reilly Frey, Deanna Bullard, John Kaddis, Peter Motzenbecker, Andrew and Robin Friedman, Eric Wagman and Dominique Heller.