Cocktails for a Cause: Florida Holocaust Museum
It's a new year with new friends, said Brendon Rennert, incoming chairman of the Florida Holocaust Museum, greeting a small crowd gathered on the terrace of the Tampa Museum of Art on Jan. 4. As one of just three accredited holocaust museums in the United States, the board is expanding its resources by reaching across the bay.
Guests were invited via social media, Rennert said, "and we are strategically creating more digital awareness" to forward the mission. The crowd toured the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition, helped themselves to Somo Café sandwiches and heard two news bulletins: New executive director Beth Gelman arrives Tuesday from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. Also a date change: To Life: The Power of Stories will now take place April 17.
Krewe of Sant' Yago 41st coronation ball
Pomp and pageantry amid a boisterous frat party sums up Saturday's coronation of El Rey XLI James Eyer, owner of Angels Care Health System, and La Reina Leia Almendares, daughter of Knight Dan and Lisa Almendares, a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital. Dozens of knights, dressed in plush velvet coats bearing their coat of arms like the medieval Spanish Order of St. James, marched exuberantly into A La Carte Event Pavilion ballroom.
Ball chairman Mike Valdez and nearly 700 guests of the Krewe of the Knights of Sant' Yago began the program ushering out the 40th court led by El Rey and La Reina XL Randy Conte and daughter Alexis Conte.
For his last task, King Conte knighted seven men for serving the krewe: Jaime Casellas; Armando Castellon; Joseph Dato Sr.; Peter Gambacorta; James Luczynski; Anthony Staiano; and Edward Trujillo. Two more, Joseph Madiedo and Damien Rodriguez, were dubbed by their fathers, El Rey XXXIII John Madiedo and El Baron XXXIX Bert Rodriguez.
King Eyer predicts "a year of change" for the 250-member brotherhood. "Evolution of a good thing," he said.
TGH Foundation Night at the Circus
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's circus was "Built to Amaze"; Tampa General Hospital Foundation's 22nd annual Night at the Circus was engineered to net $200,000 for the hospital's Children's Medical Center.
Here's the blueprint: April Neil and Janet Stephens co-chaired a two-hour patrons party Jan. 3 for sponsors' families preceding that evening's circus performance.
Guests clowned around with ringmaster Andre McClain in the Firestick Grill at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Circus owner Ken Feld stopped by. An open bar anchored the quiet end of the party while a DJ, face painters and juggler Stewart Lippe entertained the wild side. In between, the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation hosted a buffet of hot dogs, tacos, turkey, shrimp, quesadillas and more. (Of note: more than 1,000 sponsors' circus tickets were donated back and given to children's charities.)