You never know what the creative forces at St. Petersburg's Salvador Dali Museum will dream up. For the 27th annual benefit dinner held in the galleries, tall floral arrangements on the tables contained huge ostrich eggs, a reference to some of the artist's visual images and to the enormous egg "hatched" for the December groundbreaking for the new museum, already under construction.
Hank Hine, the museum's director, and Tom James, president of the board of trustees, were optimistic about the new structure, saying it will preserve the collection and draw even more visitors to the area once it opens, presumably in 2010.
The meal, overseen by chef Gui Alinat, had touches of caprice: a wild mushroom "cappuccino" topped with celery root foam, and molten lava of dulce de leche along with chocolate fondant, a caramel "cage" and a caramelized pear tart.
Karol Bullard and Karen Lang Johnston were co-chairs of the event, helped by Anje Bogott, Betty Corty, Sally Habermeyer, Jeannine Hascall, Hazel Hough, Mary James, Charlotte Kendall, Suzanne MacDougald, Cathy Martin, Carole Merritt, Sonya Miller, Terrie Newman, Janet Rott, Barbara Ulrich, Margot Woodrough and Dali staffer Janine Adams.
For more than half a century, the Queen's Court has honored women's volunteerism along with contributing to nonprofit organizations.
This year, in a black-tie dinner at the Hilton St. Petersburg, the honor of queen went to Sally Poynter, who was sponsored by the St. Petersburg Museum of History, Sallie's Angels, the Science Center Guild, the Woman's Service League, Boley Angels, the All Children's Hospital Guild, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Guild and the Bayfront Medical Auxiliary. Poynter's many activities include present and past contributions to dozens of Tampa Bay charitable organizations.
Presented as her court of princesses were: Kathleen Guckenberger, sponsored by the Interlock Club and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Guild; Martha Mohn, sponsored by Boley Angels, the Seminole Woman's Club and Alpha Mu Sorority of Beta Sigma Phi; Sparky Paradis, sponsored by the Science Center Guild, the Museum of History Guild and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Guild; Ann Taylor, sponsored by the St. Petersburg Museum of History Guild; Precella Wallace, sponsored by the St. Petersburg Woman's Club and the Florida Orchestra Guild; and Teresa Wittstruck, sponsored by the Women's Chamber of Commerce, Infinity, All Children's Hospital Guild, the Woman's Service League and the Interlock Club.
Also honored were Joann Barger, the 2008 queen of hearts, and her court: Donna Gaffney, Kim Horstman, Sharon Jackson, Sarah Lonquist, Janet Raymond and Ann Vickstrom.
Lenne Nicklaus-Ball and Gaffney were co-chairs of the event, which contributed all proceeds to the selected charities for 2009: Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center and Suncoast Voices for Children. Sheila Tempelmann is president of the Queen's Court.
While ahead of schedule for Mardi Gras, PARC's annual gala had a decidedly carnival flavor, featuring a fire performer, a caricature artist, handwriting analysis, and palm and tarot card reading. It raised about $77,000 for the organization and drew about 240 visitors to the home of Fazal Fazlin, a frequent host for Tampa Bay charity events.
Indefatigable PARC volunteers Dr. Elias and Maria Hasbun were named Mardi Gras king and queen for 2009.
Patrons purchased art and jewelry made by PARC's adult artists.
On the event committee were Estelia Mesimer, chairwoman; Susan Rasmussen, co-chairwoman; Linda Armstrong, Elaine Buchholtz, Suzan Decker-Ross, Andrea Kanne, Rose Lampert and Carol Zimmerman.