It's hard to top the annual "Star Power!" fashion show benefit presented each year by the Pinellas Auxiliary of the Children's Home, but Georgette and Tasha Diaz manage to build more excitement into the extravaganza every time they produce it.
This year's event, as has been the case much of the time, featured clothing from Georgette's Boutique & Shoe Salon in Tampa, plus celebrity models from the Tampa Bay area and performers from Dorene Collier's Event Show Productions in Tampa.
First onstage was a woman in red: Her feathered headpiece was impressive, and then the train of her dress lengthened and lengthened and lengthened, becoming a red carpet. Wow.
Karol Bullard, Debbie Hedges, Hope Dogali and Carole Tonnison were co-chairwomen for the event, as most of them have been for years. The result is a full house in the Palm Court Ballroom of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg and a glittering array of styles.
Tampa Bay Rays senior adviser Dick Crippen was master of ceremonies, and models included Dewon Brazelton, Margaret Word Burnside, Ginger Gadsden, Jack Harris, Jen Holloway, Jerome Ritchey, Debra Schrils, Wayne Shattuck, Holley Sinn, Cathy Unruh and Julianna Zobrist.
Friends of the Sunshine Center in St. Petersburg honored Rebecca and Jay Morgan at their "Island Nights" gala, a tropical party held in the center's building on Fifth Street N.
The couple have volunteered for more than 30 years and have given more than $100,000 to the center in donations over that time.
Rebecca Morgan is a professor of elder law at Stetson University College of Law, where she has an endowed chair; Jay Morgan had a 35-year career with the city's office on aging before he retired in 2012, during which he developed a number of programs, focusing on therapeutic recreation offerings.
The tropical themed event raised more than $12,000 toward renovating the center's Sunset Avenue Cafe, which specializes in low-cost meals for older adults on fixed incomes. Friends organizer and founding president William G. Golden is a major contributor to the project.
Members of the event committee, including board officers, were Jay Morgan, president Gerald Buchert, vice president Millie Reynolds, secretary Barbara Sines, treasurer Dena Lebowitz, Joan Clarkin, Marie Doyle, Elizabeth Grebenschikoff, Richard Kantner Jr., Phillis Walker and Clara White.
Candy apple, fire engine, crimson — 300 Go Red for Women guests wore every shade of the cheery color to the American Heart Association's learning luncheon.
The message wasn't always happy: "84 women have passed away since this event started this morning," said chairwoman Katie Pemble, a survivor of congestive heart failure when she was 34.
Alex Sink documented her personal interest in the cause over a healthy lunch of chicken and black-eyed peas at A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa. Six months ago, a heart attack took her husband, Bill McBride.
University of South Florida professor of obstetrics and gynecology Catherine Lynch added levity to the serious subject as her husband, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, beamed. She advocated simple lifestyle changes — eat lean, exercise smart, and follow up on results of the cardiac tests offered that morning — because 80 percent of heart disease is preventable.
St. Anthony's Health Care showed how good health could be fashionable with about 170 women attending Ladies' Night Out at the Vinoy Sunset Ballroom in St. Petersburg. The evening featured a discussion of popular styles and trends with fashion expert Jane Grantham, women's health information, hors d'oeuvres and desserts.
Physicians who were models in a fashion show from White House Black Market included Drs. Claudia Bundschu, Amy Taneja and Shelley Jaquish.
Guests included longtime St. Anthony's Auxiliary members Mary Hilton Cross, Joan Jaicks, Trudy Rothenberg, June Wedding and Roberta Yancey; Dr. Jennifer Gilby; Dr. Molly Long; Dr. Andrea Woods; Judy Cuniff; and Bettye Black.
Times staff writer Amy Scherzer contributed to this report.