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Mary Jane Park, Times Staff Writer

Mary Jane Park is a general assignment reporter and writes about south Pinellas County charitable and social events. She is editor of Bay, a bimonthly Tampa Bay Times magazine for select subscribers in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Mary Jane has been an editor in news and features. She came to the Times in 1983 from the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. Before that, she was a reporter and editor for her hometown newspaper, the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from Appalachian State University.

Mary Jane lives in St. Petersburg. She enjoys cooking, music, reading and traveling.

Phone: (727) 893-8267



  1. Dalí Museum event links to upcoming exhibition

    Human Interest

    The Dalí Museum Guild will host "Sueños de Dalí," a surreal costume and tasting event Saturday celebrating the upcoming "Dalí and Disney: Architects of the Imagination" exhibition. 8 p.m. to midnight at the museum, 1 Dalí Blvd., St. Petersburg. $125 members; $150 nonmembers.; (727) 623-4726.

    The West Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America will present Distinguished Citizens Awards at their annual dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Student Center, 200 Sixth Ave. S. Honorees are Lucas DeVicente, Harvey Ford, Bob Gualtieri, Mark LaPrade and Sophia Wisniewska. (727) 391-3800, ext. 219. $125....

  2. Free Clinic fundraiser brings in 2.5 tons of food

    Human Interest


    Soup, bread and a brownie: That's a good lunch by most standards, and a hearty meal to the 50,000 Pinellas County residents who receive food assistance from the St. Petersburg Free Clinic each month.

    About 500 supporters at the annual "Soup's On" fundraising luncheon partook of that fare and brought more than 5,000 pounds of nonperishable food and household necessities to the Coliseum. The event, chaired by Beth Vivio, raised $81,000 for the nonprofit organization....

  3. Dalí Museum gala features Disney connection

    Human Interest

    St. Anthony's Hospital Auxiliary to host fashion show

    The St. Anthony's Hospital Auxiliary presents "Rock the Runway," a luncheon and fashion show featuring styles from Dillard's beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. $50. (727) 448-7119; (727) 776-1903.

    Dalí Museum's guild to present costume, tasting event

    The Dalí Museum's guild will host Suenos de Dalí, a surreal costume and tasting event connected to the upcoming "Dalí and Disney: Architects of the Imagination" exhibition Oct. 24 at the museum, 1 Dalí Blvd., St. Petersburg. The event runs from 8 to 11 p.m. $125 members; $150 nonmembers.; (727) 623-4726....

  4. YWCA honors 'Gems of the Community'

    Human Interest


    The YWCA of Tampa Bay honored several Tampa Bay area leaders at its "Pearls of Wisdom" fundraising luncheon, held in the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, which focuses on the organization's key initiatives: eliminating racism and empowering women.

    Gems of the Community awards went to St. Petersburg Free Clinic executive director Beth Houghton, who was presented by St. Petersburg deputy mayor Kanika Tomalin; National Council of Negro Women president Angela Rouson, presented by African American Heritage Association of St. Petersburg president Gwendolyn Reese; State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, presented by St. Petersburg urban affairs director Nikki Gaskin-Capehart; and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce visitor experience manager Kristina Alspaw, presented by chamber president and CEO Chris Steinocher....

  5. Fundraiser has Roaring 20s theme

    Human Interest

    "A Grande Gala for Flappers & Fellas," a Roaring '20s theme party to benefit Religious Community Services, takes place Saturday at Banquet Masters, 13355 49th St. N, Clearwater. The evening features food, drink and entertainment. 6 p.m. VIP, $500 for two; 7 to 11 p.m. all others, $125.; (727) 584-3528.

    The Studio Honors, a benefit for the Studio@620, will celebrate numerous supporters starting at 6:20 p.m. Saturday at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Ballroom, 200 Sixth Ave. S. $100.

  6. Opera donors honored at al fresco feast

    Human Interest


    Major donors to the St. Petersburg Opera Company dined under an outdoor tent set up near the water at Redington Beach outside Claudia McCorkle's home, Seaside, with Michael's on East of Sarasota catering the meal for members of the Bel Canto and Maestro circles (contributors of $5,000 and more).

    McCorkle is sponsoring Carmen, scheduled Oct. 18-20 at the Palladium Theatre, and entertainment for the evening included performances from Jennifer Feinstein (Carmen) and Michael Morrow (Don Jose), guitarist Bob Webb and pianist Mun Tzung Wong....

    Swanky Soiree chairman John William Barger III and mistress of ceremonies Kate Wentzel keep the event going.
  7. Schieffer to headline Bowtie Ball

    Human Interest

    The Bowtie Ball, a 40th anniversary celebration for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, will honor retired CBS News journalist Bob Schieffer at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon, 950 Lake Carillon Drive. $125 general reception and dinner; $250 exclusive dessert reception (includes general reception and dinner).; (727) 553-4676.

    Boley Angels will host a Low-Country Boil at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Mary R. Koenig Center, 647 34th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $40. Send checks to Boley Angels in care of June Wedding, 6900 10th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 289-7418....

  8. Great Explorations gala celebrates Carnival

    Human Interest

    Great Extravaganza 2015, "Rendezvous in Rio," will have a Brazilian Carnival theme on Saturday at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. The fundraiser for Great Explorations Children's Museum features food, drink, entertainment and auctions. 5:30 p.m. VIP $225, 7 p.m. general admission $125.

    The St. Petersburg Panhellenic Association will host its annual meet and greet event at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Hollander Hotel, 421 Fourth Ave. (727) 215-7107....

  9. Party patrons get their hands dirty for Morean Arts Center

    Human Interest


    Party guests packed the Morean Center for Clay at the annual Eat Rich, Play Dirty fundraiser, where hands-on activities included pottery-making, letterpress, massage therapy, zentangle and painting with chocolate, wine, coffee and tea.

    Patrons also sampled food from Banyan Cafe, CA Cafe, Cafe 1001, Emmanuel Roux, Gratzzi, Il Ritorno, Lee Roy Selmon's, The Mill, My Southern Fusion, Parkshore Grill, Salt Rock Grill and Sea Salt. There were signature drinks, plus beer, wine and a whiskey tasting bar....

    Eat Rich, Play Dirty guests could learn to throw a pot with artist Eric Ordway.
  10. Block party benefits Answered Prayers project

    Human Interest

    Answered Prayers block party

    The Answered Prayers Project will host its inaugural block party from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at its studio, 400 23rd St. S, St. Petersburg. The evening includes food, entertainment and clay creations. $75.; (727) 410-8107.

    Morean Arts Center benefit

    Eat Rich, Play Dirty, the annual benefit for the Morean Arts Center, features food, drink, entertainment and hands-on activities from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Morean Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. $100.; (727) 822-7872. ...

  11. Social calender 2015-2016


    In late spring through summer, the Times invited organizations to submit their events that raise money for worthy causes to be listed in our annual calendar. This list is not an entirely complete guide to all the charitable balls and social activities in the area from now through May, but a guide mainly to those that are held annually. If your organization's event is not listed here, please send an email to Mary Jane Park at or a note to her at P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Corrections and/or additions may also be submitted to either of the two addresses....

    Fancy Black Tie Party
  12. Rays on Runway sets record with Children's Dream Fund donations

    Human Interest


    Rays on the Runway, a sellout event that crowded the lobby and the ballroom at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, raised a record $130,000 for the Children's Dream Fund. The Rays Wives organization, which includes players' spouses and significant others, organized the signature gala, which offers patrons the opportunity to meet favorite players, request their autographs, purchase merchandise and compete for big prizes....

  13. Woman's Club sponsors foodscape competition

    Human Interest

    Social datebook

    The St. Petersburg Woman's Club will host its second foodscape competition from 1 to 4 p.m. on July 26 at 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE. Competitors in several categories (business, individual, group, family) are encouraged to create a tabletop scene using edible materials. There is no cost to enter; $5 to attend and vote. A portion of proceeds will go to the Mr. Strong Foundation for special-needs children and their families. For entry forms, send email to foodscape or call (727) 822-4982....

    Rays pitcher Alex Colome and Alexxia dazzled the crowd at the 10th annual Rays on the Runway. Alexxia is 15 and was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Her dream came true this spring when she went to Hawaii with her family.
  14. Studio@620 celebrates 11th anniversary

    Human Interest

    The Studio@620 will celebrate its 11th birthday at a party starting at 6:20 p.m. Saturday at 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The event will feature live music, local art and a cake parade. Dessert contributions are desired. Admission is free. (727) 895-6620.

    Rays on the Runway, which will feature food, drink and a fashion show featuring Tampa Bay Rays players, runs from 6:30 to 9:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 First St. S. The event is a benefit for the Children's Dream Fund and showcases fashions from Dillard's. $250 patrons; $125 individual. (727) 896-6390;

  15. Equality Florida gala presents awards

    Human Interest


    Nearly 600 guests attended the Equality Florida Greater St. Petersburg Gala, at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, raising a record $288,600 and partaking of food donated by Locale Market.

    The evening honored several community leaders: Rose Walton, with a lifetime achievement award for her work with HIV/AIDS in New York and her continuing efforts for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in Florida; community leaders Larry Biddle and Sylvia Rusche, with Voice for Equality awards; and Tech Data Corp., with an Equality Means Business award for its global support of the LGBT community....