It was a largely local crowd congratulating themselves at CAMLS, the University of South Florida's high-tech Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa on Monday night.
"We're not showcasing camels," said Ken Jones, host committee president, noting the confusion arising from the acronym to guests who already knew that, including most of the host committee, Hillsborough County Commissioners, Tampa City Council members and assorted business execs.
Jones thanked convention godfather Al Austin; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a.k.a. the weatherman, and the host of the networking social, Gunster Law Firm, represented by former Florida Sen. George LeMieux.
Two invited guests took the microphone: Kathleen Shanahan, Florida's State Board of Education chairwoman, and Rep. James Lankford. R-Okla., filling in for former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour who returned home ahead of tropical storm Isaac.
Jones introduced Lankford "as the man who runs the biggest youth camp in America." That would be Falls Creek Christian camp, with more than 51,000 people attending.
Between hummus, couscous and cocktails, rain and money were the hot topics of the night — avoiding the first and spreading around the latter.
"$200 million will be spent in this community in the next two weeks," said Jones. "Isaac's delay of a day just means they'll spend even more."