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Amy Scherzer, Times Staff Writer

Amy Scherzer

Amy joined the Times in January 2002 to help launch the weekly City Times edition serving South Tampa and nearby neighborhoods. Her column, Amy Scherzer's Diary, takes readers along as she makes her rounds on the social circuit. Camera in hand, Amy captures the galagoers, wine tasters, Gasparilla kings, debutantes and bay area philanthropists.

Amy earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a Tampa resident since 1978. She and her husband, Robert, live on Davis Islands, proud parents of two grown children. Any free time is spent people watching, entertaining, boating and reading.

Phone: (813) 226-3332

Fax: (813) 226-3381

Email: ascherzer@tampabay.com

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  1. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla King's Debutante Ball

    Looking so fine, not like scruffy pirates at all, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla welcomed 25 debutantes on Thanksgiving Eve, presented to the 103rd royal court ruled by Gasparilla King Bill Smith and Queen India Stallings.

    Krewe Capt. Christopher Lykes and emcee Pirate Jim Goodwin welcomed the 650 guests Nov. 23 at the Hilton Downtown Tampa. The debutantes, all college sophomores, all white gowned and gloved, carried red rose nosegays plus a single rosebud to present to Mom. They attend the University of Florida (four); Florida State (three); Vanderbilt (three); as well Auburn, Alabama, Cornell, Penn, NYU and others, with ambitions to be lawyers, engineers, veterinarians … and maybe queens....

    Gasparilla Queen LXXIX Janice Ferman Straske and daughter Davis, from left, pose with Gasparilla Queen LXXVIII Laura Ferman Farrior and daughter Courtney at Ye King’s Debutante Ball on Nov. 23 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Laura reigned in 1991 and her sister in 1992.
  2. Old Hyde Park Home Tour: DIY up close and personal

    Human Interest

    HYDE PARK — Those glossy home decor and architectural magazines certainly provide beautiful photos and helpful how-tos, but nothing beats a personal conversation with a home-owner who has lived through a renovation or made improvements, especially to a historic residence.

    The annual Old Hyde Park Home Tour provides visitors just that opportunity from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday at six houses along S Oregon Avenue. Tickets are $20 advance; $25 at the start of the route, the corner of Morrison and Oregon avenues. Tour-goers will see modern additions such as outdoor kitchens, man caves and garages turned into guest houses. They can ask about everything from termites to where to buy period-appropriate hardware and light fixtures, or check out paint colors, wallpaper, window treatments and carpet....

    Patty and Jonathan Pedersen’s circa-1913 residence at 1501 Bayshore Blvd. boasts an unusual feature for south Tampa, a 2,500-square foot air-conditioned basement. The house is one of six open to visitors on the Old Hyde Park Home Tour on Dec. 4.
  3. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

    If you don't have polio, you're a March of Dimes baby. Research funded by the organization since 1938 has prevented birth defects and infant mortality in countless children, including some of the guests at the 26th annual Signature Chefs Auction. Chairwoman Kelly Renner, mother of premature twins, split the Nov. 16 party into two rooms at TPepin's Hospitality Centre: chef samples and silent auction, emceed by Cox Media radio host Ann Kelly; dessert and live auction hosted by WTVT- Ch. 13 anchor Linda Hurtado. Participating chefs came from Carmel Kitchen, Ciccio Cali, Louie's Modern, Kona Grill, Publix Aprons Cooking School, Sea Salt St. Pete and Puff 'n Stuff Catering. During dessert by Chef Sean Holden, the 175 supporters got to meet the Rutherford family of Apollo Beach and hear how the latest research changed their lives....

    Wearing “attire to inspire,” Wine, Women & Shoes co-chairs Sabrina Caras, at left, and Katie O’Brien, far right, surround leukemia fighter Olivia Riveria at the Children’s Cancer Center benefit Nov. 3.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Pavilion XXXI

    Art transcended politics at "Tampa/Havana" as Tampa Museum of Art patrons experienced Cuba's vibrant culture, native cuisine and irresistible music at the 31st Pavilion ball. Co-chairs Susie Rice and Stacie Linsky complemented the current exhibition, Complicated Beauty: Contemporary Cuban Art, with classic '50s Chevys, a mojito bar, hand-rolled cigars and other island pleasures Nov. 5. Mise en Place turned the terrace into an elegant waterfront dining room for the 350 guests, including the evening's honorees Maureen and Doug Cohn, museum benefactors for more than four decades....

    Jessica Barfield Photography Dr. Kenneth Pages, left, and Ryne Gallien attend their first Pavilion on Nov. 5 at the Tampa Museum of Art.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Ghoulwill Bash

    Wicked fun at the Ghoulwill Bash scared up dinner and dancing, a costume contest and games to learn about Goodwill Industries-Suncoast services, all aboard the Yacht StarShip. The "Ship of Ghouls" sailed Oct. 27, with 300 supporters, most in costume like Charlotte Lehner and Doug Misler, prize winners as Little Red Riding Hood and a hungry wolf. Emcee Hilary Zalla, WTSP-Ch.10 pointed out costumes made from Goodwill finds and fabrics, including a surfer, a picture-posing mermaid and Davy Jones and sea witch Calypso. Ghoulwill Bash netted more than $60,000 to help people with employment challenges in 10 West Central Florida counties achieve their full potential....

    Photo from Georgia Dittmer All aboard the Ship of Ghouls, from left Goodwill Industries-Suncoast board member Steve Bivens, left, his wife Jolene and CEO Debbie Passerini set sail for Ghoulwill Bash on Oct. 27 aboard the Yacht StarShip in Channelside Plaza
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Broadway Ball

    S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, trilled a trio of New York singers, tempting Broadway Ball guests with a Gershwin medley in anticipation of An American in Paris, the Tony Award-winning play coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts next month. Dining tres chic on the Morsani Hall stage Saturday, amid yellow roses and crystal chandeliers, two live auction surprises: CEO Judy Lisi found herself with a new Shih Tzu puppy, a gift from top bidders Charlene and Mardy Gordon. And auctioneer Jason Alpert sold a Zululand, South Africa safari 18 times at $3,500 each, making ball co-chairmen Jill and David Weinstein very happy. Add in pitch-perfect Patel Conservatory scholarship student appeals and proceeds topped $375,000 just as a round of After Dark partiers arrived for closing curtain drinks, dancing and dessert....

    Alyssa Roberts, left and Rose Mahdavieh enjoy Broadway Ball After Dark, the late-night entry on the Straz Center social scene Oct. 29. [AMY SCHERZER  |  Times]
  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    14th annual Tuxes & Tails

    Mewing, pawing and panting, guests and pets sniffed out Tuxes & Tails, a mastiff-size gala for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Saturday's boisterous crowd of 1,000-plus filled the Tampa Convention Center with an Arabian Nights dinner and parade of adoptables resulting in homes for 35 cats and dogs, quite a few celebrating with their new owners at the waterfront after-party. Honorary co-chairs Sanna Grundberg and Gayle Sierens (Sandra Porzio was unable to attend) barked up silent, live and VIP auctions, helping emcees Cynthia Smoot and Russell Rhodes of WTVT-Ch. 13 raise $300,000 for animal care....

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photo TBBCA?ˆš•s 27th annual Impact Awards recipients Mark Mahaffey, Patron award; from left, Dr. Kent Lydecker, Individual award; Janet Echelman, International  Achievement award; and Bob Glaser, Business award, all presented at the Oct. 20 benefit at Mahaffey Theater.
  8. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Starlight Gala

    Newsies hawking the Chicago Tribune, fedora-topped gangsters, deep dish pizza and hot dogs served on Cubs napkins —all the Windy City passions flavored the Starlight Gala, "An Evening in Chicago" benefit for the Florida Hospital Foundation. But Sunday's big score came when Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Chicago blasted onto the Marriott Waterside stage, thrilling the nearly 900 guests with a private concert composed of 50 years of hit singles. Getting to rock a drum solo with them on "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" was a bucket list dream come true for Florida Hospital Tampa chief of staff, cardiologist Mitch O'Hara, the first guest to do so, they said....

    Bruce Adams and Katy Klaproth, from left, representing sponsor Robins & Morton, chat with Michael Schultz, CEO of Florida Hospital West Florida Region, at the gala.
  9. Epilogue: Louise Lykes Ferguson, 104, came of age as Tampa did

    Obituaries

    TAMPA — Louise Lykes Ferguson, matriarch of Tampa's most prominent and enduring family, leaves a cultural legacy to parallel the Lykes Brothers' pioneer shipping and agribusiness advancements.

    A major backer of downtown Tampa's performing arts center, second largest in the southeast, Mrs. Ferguson, 104, died Oct. 5 at her historic family home in Ballast Point.

    Along with her husband of 44 years, attorney Chester Howell Ferguson, Mrs. Ferguson was instrumental in conceptualizing and fundraising what is now called the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Her involvement spanned multiple mayors, starting in the mid-'60s and peaked as a co-chairwoman of the elegant, opening night Great Gala in July 1987. The center has drawn more than 10 million guests to Broadway, opera, ballet and other performances, including in Louise Lykes Ferguson Hall, named to honor her significant contributions....

    Louise Lykes Ferguson celebrated her 100th birthday in 2012 during a Day at the Races benefit for Florida House at Tampa Bay Downs.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy

    Hailing author Elaine Shimberg and political trailblazer Betty Castor for leading "boldly, authentically and fearlessly," USF president Judy Genshaft opened the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Fall Symposium Luncheon on Oct. 6 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Community leader and philanthropist Shimberg has written 26 books on medical and family topics. Castor's firsts include female Hillsborough County Commissioner, Florida senate president pro tempore; Florida Commissioner of education and USF president....

    Col. Orlando Rodriguez, USAF-Ret. and Patsy Sanchez are the 2016 Tampa Hispanic Heritage Man and Woman of the Year.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars

    Ten contestants practiced for months at the Hip Hop Dance Studio, and wow, did it pay off at Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars competition. "Our best ever," said Julie Weintraub, dancing on the stage after dinner with a crush of supporters while the $1 votes and judges' ballots were counted at Saturday's charity dance-off at TPepin's Hospitality Centre....

    Cooky and Booky Buchman and their family received the Adela and Cesar Gonzmart award at the 51st Ybor City Chamber of Commerce gala Sept. 24.
  12. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture

    Norma Kamali would have been surrounded by lifelong devotees of her iconic styles at Tampa Museum of Art's glam benefit CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture, a night for sipping champagne, eyeing her fall ready-to-wear collection and the conclusion of her first museum exhibition.

    Instead, Kamali appeared via video, apologizing for missing her flight to Tampa Saturday and letting her latest work speak for itself. Swimwear to slinky jersey dresses — with safety pin details and graffiti prints — popped in black, white, charcoal and cherry red in the runway show staged by Patty Soltis and Elaine Sweeney of STYLEdge....

    CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture chic co-chairs Elise Lippincott, left, and Henderson Everett Lee could walk the runway themselves.
  13. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    FARA Energy Ball

    Friendship, optimism and support synergized the FARA Energy Ball, the eighth hosted by Paul and Suzanne Avery, and again uniting business associates, medical researchers and philanthropic friends to raise nearly $2 million for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and the University of South Florida Ataxia Research Center. The gala has funded more than $10 million to find a cure for the rare, degenerative neuromuscular disorder since 2009....

    Lou Varsames, left, Paul Avery and Doug Rothschild help fund a cure for Friedreich’s Ataxia at the eighth annual FARA Energy Ball on Sept. 17 at the Marriott Waterside. [AMY SCHERZER | Times]

  14. Photographers zoom in on shooting Tampa's social events

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Smile, says Penny Rogo, sometimes a hundred times a day, always (almost) receiving a big grin right back.

    Multiply those smiles by 40 years and that's a lot of happy faces looking at the tall redhead capturing the scene as MamaRazzi Foto. Rogo photographs ribbon cuttings, award ceremonies, conventions and "lots and lots of charity events, three or four a week from September to January, about 80 or 90 a year."...

    Matt Nassif left a career in medical sales to start his business, Joe Photo Tampa. He loves his work because “every job is different.”
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Imagination: A Gala

    Like well-dressed toys jumbling into a three-floor sandbox, Glazer Children's Museum playmates explored Imagination, a roving cocktail gala with bars and canapes tucked into exhibits throughout. The 700 grown-ups found sushi in the Water's Journey, crostini on mini grocery shelves and charcuterie near the SmalLab. Salt Block Catering Co. also had fun with S'mores, cookies and milk, liquid nitrogen ice cream and carnival treats....

    Scott and Ina Sofroni represent Shiftgig, temporary staff provider at Imagination, at the gala benefit for the Glazer Children’s Museum on Sept. 9 at the downtown Tampa museum.