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From bowl, an embrace

History repeated itself for University of Georgia Bulldog fans who started off 2005 cheering for their team at the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1.

Georgia beat the University of Wisconsin Badgers (Georgia 24, Wisconsin 21), as they did at the 1998 Outback Bowl. At least Wisconsin enjoyed the preceding week, which included a day at the beach, golf, a visit to Busch Gardens, a parade and the Presidents' Reception sponsored by MetLife and Mercedes Benz on Dec. 30 at the A La Carte Pavilion.

"We've played 10 bowls in 10 years and nobody outdoes Tampa in hospitality," said Wisconsin chancellor John Wiley to some 1,200 guests at the 19th annual reception. Chairwoman Barbara Major just beamed as the crowd feasted on buffets featuring six Outback concepts, from Roy's Yamaguchi Sushi to Lee Roy Selmon's Hall of Fame Ribs. A magician and a caricaturist drew lines of participants. Thompson & Co. cigars and a margarita bar brought many outside on the terrace.

Seen in the crowd: John Rauch, a Georgia All-America quarterback, who started every game for the Bulldogs from 1945-48, and his wife, Jane, of Eastlake Woodlands. Rauch, who went on to coach the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, noted he held the record for number of wins and most starts until senior quarterback David Greene recently broke them.

On Dec. 27, volunteer Angeles Ferlita's committee entertained 65 coaches wives and family at lunch at Roy's. Guests of honor: Cindy Alvarez, wife of Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, and Katharyn Richt, wife of Georgia coach Mark Richt. Neiman Marcus models twirled between tables in spring fashions.

FAMILY FUN: Drumming, dancing, dinner and colorful dashikis livened up North Tampa African Alliance's fifth annual Kwanzaa Celebration, attended by about 300 people.

Poet Venus Jones emceed the Dec. 30 family affair at St. Paul Catholic Church in Carrollwood. Banker Curtis Stokes and the Rev. Kelvin Toots and their families led a libation ceremony, pouring water on a plant to symbolize growth. Joel DuBois of the Office of Black Catholics blessed the meal. Herbert G. White was on hand to represent nearby St. Timothy Parish.

Sylvia Fontenette, president of the alliance, made the pork roast, turkey and dressing, corn bread and sweet potato souffle topped with pecans and caramel. "Everything but the greens, really," Fontenette said.

Two sororities, Delta Sigma Theta and Gamma Theta Omega, plus the NAACP Youth Council and the Greater Tampa chapter of Jack & Jill of America, explained the seven principles of Kwanzaa: umoja (unity); kujichagulia (self-determination); ujima (collective work and responsibility); ujamaa (cooperative economics); nia (purpose); kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). Children's crafts and folk tales expressed those goals.

On the stage, a table set all in white _ dishes, tablecloth, candles, chairs _ honored ancestors.

PARTY LIKE IT'S 2005: With more than 2,000 New Year's Eve revelers, it was easy to lose track of time at the 13 Ugly Men's black-tie bash at Jackson's Bistro on Harbour Island.

"All of a sudden, the band started counting down and balloons started falling," said Jonathan Wax, spokesman for the hosts. He said it might have been the club's biggest event.

"People sprawled through the bar, the restaurant, patio all the way down the waterfront," Wax said.

Founding member Ric Feinberg and Yvette Beauchamp made an announcement at midnight, as a champagne breakfast buffet was served. She's expecting their second child.

Party proceeds will go to A Gift for Teaching, which collects surplus supplies for teachers, and to a foundation the men are forming to endow perpetual donations. According to Wax, the (not-really) Uglies have donated almost $250,000 to local charities since 2000, including $100,000 in 2004.

CHRISTMAS EVE MIXER: Tampa Jewish Federation usually hosts the Matzoh Ball for singles looking for something to do on Christmas. This year, the Young Adult Division took charge, renaming the Dec. 25 party Vodka and Latkes.

WFLZ 93.3 DJ Matt the Brat kept the sound ultra loud for nearly 300 people, ages 25 to 55, from Orlando to Fort Myers, at Lotus Ultra Lounge in Ybor City. Some tried the latkes (potato pancakes), traditionally served on Hanukkah. A fountain of dripping chocolate offered sensuous dipping for fruit and treats.

Co-chairs Cara Novick and Nachama Sternlicht Haas paired people by raffle ticket numbers and sent them off to stuff snacks in a sack for Tampa Jewish Family Services Food Bank. Door prizes included jewelry; white chocolate body paint; wine and dinner packages; and tickets to sporting events.

_ To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or scherzersptimes.com.

Trey and Tracy Thomas, from left, Michael Egger, Tanya Arja, Brenda and Jonathan Wax partied New Year's Eve with the 13 Ugly Men at Jackson's Bistro on Harbour Island.

Melissa Mazer and Monte Sichelman dipped into a chocolate fountain at the Vodka and Latke party hosted by the Tampa Jewish Federation on Dec. 25 at the Lotus nightclub in Ybor City.

Rudean Crawley, from left, and Sylvia Fontenette, Joann Harris and Mary Towler organized a Kwanzaa celebration for the North Tampa African Alliance on Dec. 30 at St. Paul Catholic Church Family Center in Carrollwood.

Former University of Tampa football coach Sam Bailey, from left, and his wife, Cookie, enjoyed the Outback Bowl Presidents' Reception with John Rauch, University of Georgia quarterback from 1945 to 1948. Sam Bailey played football for Georgia from 1943-45.

Guests of honor at the Outback Bowl Presidents' Reception included Dr. Michael Adams, from left, president of the University of Georgia; Ben Novello, president of Outback Steakhouse, John Wiley, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin and Chris Sullivan, CEO of Outback Steakhouse.

Tampa Realtor Mary Delgado brought her fiance, The Bachelor Byron Velvick, to the Outback Bowl Presidents' Reception. The pro bass fisherman proposed to her on the finale of the ABC reality show. They are talking about a September wedding.

North Tampa African Alliance members Pat Spencer, from left, Earnestine Marshall and Venus Jones participated in a Kwanzaa celebration Dec. 30 at St. Paul Catholic Church Family Center.

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