Havana Nights benefits Gift of Adoption
Mojitos at sunset at the Davis Islands waterfront home of Jeanne and Mark Tate delighted supporters of Havana Nights, hosted by Gift of Adoption, Florida chapter. So did the Tates' adopted backyard menagerie: a dozen snakes, goats, chickens, rabbits, a turkey, a pig — even a couple of tarantulas.
Before getting acquainted with the pets on Nov. 2, the 170 guests met some grant recipients, including the Nunez family of North Port, who adopted two children from Ethiopia, both HIV-positive.
Debra Schrils auctioned vacations, a golf outing with pro Gary Koch and dinner for 10 catered by Chives, which served the Cuban buffet that night. Net proceeds of $40,000 will go toward grants of up to $7,500 to help families pay travel, attorney and other fees to finalize adoptions.
Did Pavilion XXVII live up to a three-decade reputation as the standard-bearer of high society charity in Tampa?
Let's just say Sean Connery could have mingled handsomely among the white dinner jackets and gorgeous gowns Saturday at the Tampa Museum of Art's retro glam gala. Or thwarted a heist as the 18-piece Helios Orchestra busied dancers with James Bond tunes to cover his tracks.
Chairwoman Carrie Brown, dressed to kill in a gold faille gown by the Row, set the downstairs drama in black and white, with the Henri Cartier-Bresson retrospective upstairs as her muse. Crystal chandeliers and red carnation spheres (5,000 stems, shaped from 3 inches to 3 feet, by Botanica guru Ian Prosser), heightened the effect.
It was the third Pavilion attended by Brown and husband Barrett, but No. 27 for Ann and Jay Ross and Pat and Calvin Carter (1986 chairwoman). The charter patrons recalled the extravaganzas of the '80s even as they admired the ball's evolution. Pavilion I, held in a lavishly decorated garage, raised $102,000, a record for Tampa fundraisers at the time.
Siblings Blake Casper and Allison Casper Adams (2011 chairwoman) kicked off the fete for 80 patrons at the $1,250-ticket level at an Oct. 24 cocktail party at Oxford Exchange, their hip new emporium. Some 200-plus other guests at the $600-ticket level had to wait till Saturday for champagne and Mise en Place hors d'oeuvres (octopus carpaccio, duck rillettes and such) at the museum. Lit by moonlight and minarets, dinner on the terrace — bouillabaisse, watercress salad and tenderloin medallions — was presented casually at sleek, white leather banquettes or formally at elegant table settings.
Can't wait till June to hear about the Swiss trip to Art Basel with museum director Todd Smith, auctioned for $16,000 to Penny and Jeff Vinik. And look for new Sono Cafe treats, to be named by four guests for $2,500 to $2,700 each. Those bids and more will greatly help programs and exhibits.