Mardi Gras? Chubby Saturday? Whichever you decided to call it, PARC's fourth annual gala was a New Orleans-style celebration that drew more than 500 patrons to the home of Phil and Michele Farley in St. Petersburg.
The wind and rain of the previous several days sent party planners into action, erecting a large tent on the grounds and setting up outdoor heaters everywhere. Great idea, as it turned out. The weather did little to dampen spirits, as Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside, wearing regal purple robes, led a small parade that included PARC board of directors chairman Tino Mastry and a number of other supporters.
A big attraction at the event was artist Michael Israel, a performer who leaps and splashes paint on canvas, then turns the finished work right-side up to reveal portraits of pop icons such as the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe. Two of his creations brought bids of more than $15,000.
Elsewhere, patrons sampled New Orleans fare such as gumbo and bread pudding prepared by Tampa Bay area restaurants Boulevard Bistro, C.D. Roma's, Island Way Grill, Marlin Darlin Key West Grill, O'Bistro, Rhumba Island Grill and Salt Rock Grill.
Steve and Amy Hand of Tarpon Springs, who purchased one of Israel's works, also had the winning bid for a painting by featured PARC artist Laurie H.
And works by Chuck Boux, Patricia Lafaye, Beth Morean, James Oleson Jr., Owen Pach, Clayton Swartz and Don Williams were auctioned to benefit PARC, the Morean Arts Center and the artists.
Dick Crippen, senior adviser to the Tampa Bay Rays, was master of ceremonies for the event, which raised more than $120,000.
Fay Lazaris and Estelia Mesimer were co-chairs for the party, leading a committee that included Linda Armstrong, Elaine Buccholtz, Rose Lampert, Madeleine Oster, Susan Rasmussen and Carol Zimmerman.
PARC serves more than 700 children with developmental disabilities including autism, Down syndrome and spina bifida.
Junior Sungoddess court for 2010 is chosen
The Suncoasters have announced members of the Junior Sungoddess Court for the 89th Festival of States. Applicants were chosen from high schools throughout Pinellas County and are chosen on the merits of service commitments in school and community as well as good academic standing.
The 2010 court: Ebony Lamar and Kristin Tellis, Gibbs High School; Avery Fox, East Lake High; Shannon Glenn, Kathryn Jesaitis, Rachel Bozich, Travis Wright, Lydia Franzek and Emily Green, St. Petersburg High; Kelly Marie Kidwell, St. Petersburg Catholic High; Danielle Frain, Seminole High; Rebecca Kass and Shelby Lynn Pletcher, Shorecrest Preparatory School; Kenzie Poust, Northeast High; Anneliese Delgado-Cate, Zainab Khatoon and Shamarri Hartzog, Lakewood High; and Katie Gillooly, Baillie Brady and Ariana Lazzaroni, Palm Harbor University High.
This year's Junior Sungoddess and two runners-up will be announced March 3. They will receive more than $5,000 in scholarships and awards.