The Glitter Queens' tradition of raising money for causes that benefit women and children continued with "La Vie en Rose," a Parisian style Cabaret Soiree.
Five years ago, the first party was hosted by just five women who wanted to raise money for a worthy cause. They donated $25,000 to the Arts Conservatory for Teens. Now there are 30 "glitter queens" and annual parties raise more than $60,000.
"It's a great group of women who love to serve our community," said Theresa Kocer, a glitter queen donning the trademark tiara. The founding members are Joyce Shanahan, Maria Morrow, Shelia Reilly, Veronica Dunn and Teri McNally.
Ready for Life is the recipient of proceeds from this year's Parisian fundraiser. The organization helps children financially and emotionally when they turn 18 and age out of the state foster care system.
Wardrobes at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club were reminiscent of Parisian cabaret clubs with plenty of nicely starched polka dot dresses, black and gold lace, berets and a whole lot of pink.
"I rock pink all the time," said Phil Hughes, who was wearing pink pants and chatting with his wife, Valerie Hughes. Other guests included Meg Milligan, Deanne Wilkins, Troy Crotts, Leslie Trevathan and Mark Ritch.
Art patrons from Tampa and St. Petersburg gathered at the Museum of Fine Arts for the annual Bridging the Bay celebration. The annual event, alternating between the MFA and the Tampa Museum of Art, encourages greater collaboration between the two museums and their supporters.
Directors from both museums spoke briefly, but the name "Mary Perry" was on many people's lips. Bridging the Bay is the brainchild of the longtime volunteer and donor at both museums.
"Mary Perry is such a champion of supporting arts on both sides of the bay," said Brian Lamb, a regional president with Fifth Third bank. The event has been sponsored by the bank for the past few years.
(While it doesn't relate to art, and has surely been reported at some time in the past, I took the opportunity to ask Catino to fill me in on the meaning of Fifth Third's name.)
It's as simple as this, the bank started in Cincinnati by merging Fifth National Bank with Third National Bank. Like most banks, there have been plenty of mergers and acquisitions since, but it has never changed its original name.
Guests mingled around the grand lobby of the museum, nibbling on hors d'oeuvres. The biggest hit of the night was the shrimp corn dog. The concoction on a stick, was a work of art unto itself.
Patrons also explored the museum exhibits, including Shana Moulton's Journeys out of the Body.
Carol Russell and her mother, Sarah Lonquist, perused the off-beat artist's take on the commercialism of wellness therapies and beauty products for women. They both sang Mary Perry's praises. They pointed out how lucky the area is to have acclaimed art museums on both sides of the bay and that Perry has done much to motivate art enthusiasts to cross the water and support them.
"It's a great occasion to see so many people from Tampa here," said Marvin Atkins as he strolled through the gallery, hand in hand with his wife, Lois Atkins.
What's their secret to still holding hands after 61 years of marriage?
"We love each other and we have been through everything together," she said. "We talk through our problems." And they travel, he added. The couple just got back from Paris and Iceland.