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"Angels' to feast on eggs, art for UPARC

Being an angel can really pay dividends, especially in three weeks at the Clearwater area's annual omelet parties.

These are the fund-raisers that have netted nearly $2-million for the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens. Coming up are the 30th-anniversary Evening With Chef D'Oeuf on April 11 and 20th-anniversary Le Petit Dejeuner on April 12.

The Friday night affair is a black-tie champagne supper. The Saturday morning affair is a garden-party brunch. Welcoming an expected 500 guests at the two events will be angelic figures adorned with orchids and roses, capitalizing on UPARC's current "Be an Angel" capital campaign.

Those attending can be angels by supporting UPARC. Here's what they will receive in return:

The good feeling that they have answered UPARC executive director Tom Buckley's call to "take care of our own" mentally disabled neighbors in this era of government fund cuts.

The opportunity to browse throughout the Belleair waterfront home of Joan and Jim Quinlan, whose decorator, Terry Leet, has said, "The interior is an assimilation of English, Italian, French 17th and 18th century style. The backgrounds of silk, gold leaf, damask and tortoise shell provide a lush setting for an extraordinary collection of beautiful art and antiques."

The opportunity to see on walls and easels throughout the house the paintings of internationally acclaimed French artist Marcel Mouly. The 79-year-old will be flying in from Paris to meet admirers at both parties and to sell his paintings, with some of the proceeds going to UPARC. His works, with their brilliant, warm colors, have been compared to those of Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Paul Gauguin.

The opportunity to view and buy the artwork of UPARC clients, both paintings and notecards. The clients, as part of a longstanding omelet parties tradition, will visit the Quinlan home the Friday morning of the big weekend to see the glamorous setting and meet Mouly.

The opportunity at both parties to eat the signature omelets of Rudolph Stanish. The 84-year-old chef has come from his New York home for every omelet party, working with the same flourishes he has used to serve the Mellon banking family, the pope and the queen of England. Other party food will be catered by the Bon Appetit Restaurant and the Black Cat Deli.

Using private homes rather than hotel ballrooms for the omelet parties not only saves money, meaning bigger checks for UPARC, but has served as a real attention-getter as numerous charitable fund-raisers compete for support. All of the homes are elegant to begin with, and then are transformed into showplaces with flowers, plants, paintings and hundreds of "twinkle lights."

Husbands and children of the 20 or so volunteer women all pitch in the last few days before the parties to haul plants, hang lights and do whatever else is necessary.

This year's evening affair is chaired by JoAnna and Michael Andriola, the Saturday morning affair by Carol and Tim Mariani.

This year's corporate supporters are AmSouth Bank and Prudential Florida Realty.

The cost for An Evening With Chef D'Oeuf is $200 per person. For Le Petit Dejeuner it's $80 for adults and $40 for those age 12 to 18. For reservations, call the UPARC Foundation's Molly Mateer at 797-8712.

The "Egg Party," as the UPARC clients call these fund-raisers, is always an affair to remember.