Trips to Paris, Cannes, France, New York, Napa Valley, Calif., and Palm Beach. Flights of extraordinary wines. Unique haute couture.
Bidders at the second Margaret Acheson Stuart Society wine auction to benefit the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg raised nearly $90,000 for those luxuries, and the silent auction took in an additional $30,000. In all, the event stands to net about $190,000 for the museum, an impressive increase over the net proceeds from the inaugural auction in 2011.
Participants mingled in the museum's Marly Room and membership garden for cocktails, appetizers and a look at silent auction items, then moved to the glass conservatory for a seated dinner from Michael's on East in Sarasota.
There, auctioneer Ben Ferdinand from the Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. encouraged bidders to be generous.
Guests came from near and far, and many were able to meet St. Petersburg native Fred Schrader and his wife, Carol. Their Schrader Cellars in Napa Valley has produced remarkable wines, several having received Wine Spectator's highest-possible scores and perfect ratings from critic Robert M. Parker.
Some of those vintages were offered at the auction and at a preview the evening before in the home of Jim and Suzanne MacDougald. Additional co-hosts for that event were Mary Lou and Tom DeVoe and Sunny and Dr. James Endicott.
Leading a committee that included more than 50 volunteers were Margaret Amley and Chris Hilton, with assistance from Stuart Society president Elise Minkoff.
Community leaders use "the Tampa Bay area" as a broad definition of our place in Florida, but it can feel as if a passport is required to commute among communities.
Mary B. Perry, a longtime supporter of both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Tampa Museum of Art, brought trustees and collectors of both institutions together at "Bridging the Bay," held in the St. Petersburg museum. Director Kent Lydecker and guest curator Bob Bianchi led a tour of the Egypt exhibition, and TMA director Todd Smith made brief comments.
University of South Florida head football coach Skip Holtz and presenting sponsor Hays Cos. led the pairing party for the first PARC celebrity pro-am golf tournament at the Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa.
More than 250 guests attended the event, which matched celebrity players with 18 sponsor teams. The tournament took place at Avila the next day.
In addition to Holtz, celebrity players included Toby Hall, Jerry Wunsch, Reginald Roundtree, Daren Puppa, Tino Martinez, Jason Romano, Mark Royals, Barry Smith, Joe Magrane, Jen Holloway, Chris Dingman, Casey Weldon, Anthony Becht, Jim Dent, Dave Greenwood, Fran Curci, Jody Reed, Lou Piniella, Kevin House, Vinny Testaverde, Alex Lavisky, Aaron Holbert, Fred McGriff and Dick Crippen.
Co-chairs for the inaugural event were Scott Brinner, Tom Harrington, Susan Rasmussen and Laurie Stogniew.