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Gala develops theme from photography

The premiere gala for the new exhibition at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts on Feb. 18 took its black and white theme from the platinum and silver prints in "Photography Past/Forward: Aperture at 50."

There was plenty of buzz in the grand ballroom at the Renaissance Vinoy, with new Devil Rays top brass Stuart Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Gerry Hunsicker, Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon in the house, and appearing not at all wearied by the all-day Fan Fest at Tropicana Field.

The party-goers included Bill and Sally Habermeyer; Joann Barger; Barbara Godfrey Smith; Jim and Jeannine Hascall; Jim and Suzanne MacDougald; Paul and Karyn Tash; Stephen and Kathleen Buckley; Jerry and Helen Hill; Bill and Hazel Hough; Carol Upham; Bill and Kathy Stover; Sam and Demi Rahall; Mary Wheeler; Pat Wheeler; Fred and Mary Shuh; Nancy Loehr and John Freeborn; Alex and Robin Glenn; Tom and Betty Jean Miller; Jerry and Charlotte Kendall; Janet Raymond; Luisa Perez-Harvey; Walter Larson and Joyce LaRue; Royce Haiman, with Dr. Bill Roberts of Dallas; Janet Raymond; Fran Davis; Jim and Donna Nannen; Tony and Carolyn Bond; Fred and Mary Shuh; and Ann Rogers and Lance Rodgers.

In her hair, Star Weihe wore a white feather creation by Barbara DeMaire, who attended with husband, Doug; Mary Perry pinned a newly blossomed white orchid to her black formal; she and her husband, Dr. Richard Perry, have a greenhouse on their property.

Mrs. MacDougald and Mrs. Hascall co-chaired the gala.

More than 80 guests celebrated George Locascio's 80th birthday with him Wednesday night. Appropriately, decorations in St. Petersburg's Pepin Restaurant followed a patriotic theme and included photos from the remarkable life he has lived thus far.

Locascio, a veteran of the Navy, uses a wheelchair as a result of the polio he contracted during his military service. For years he has been an energetic advocate for people who have disabilities.

Who was there? Locascio's sons, Stephen, from Atlanta, and Paul, from Ohio, with wife, Mary; Locascio's wife, Dorothy, with her children, Lynda Phillips, Donald Barber and their families; Jack Jacen, a high school friend, from Port Charlotte; Elizabeth Hutchinson of Punta Gorda; Katharine Ann Lake, with daughters Cynthia Lake and Diane Lake Weatherell; Mary Margaret Winning; Dr. Ambrose and Ramona Updegraff; Dr. Stephen Updegraff; Gene Patterson and Sue Carter; Bill and Sally Wallace; Harold and Anne Wells; Pete and Lisa Wells; Anthea Penrose; Tom and Kathleen Tobin; Jack and Connie Humburg; and Norm and Nancy Dusseault.

Tom McLean, Joe O'Grady and Frank DeLucia were among the dinner speakers.

The Cheshire cat greeted guests, and Alice herself warned against playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts.

"She cheats," Alice said of the queen, "and she goes around saying, "Off with their heads.' "

The Feb. 17 Gift of Life Gala, a Mad Hatter's Ball to benefit the Florida Blood Services Foundation, was a first; the inaugural $175-a-ticket event took place in St. Petersburg's Coliseum.

About 225 guests attended the event, which had an Alice in Wonderland theme. Croquet players used flamingo mallets to hit furry "hedgehogs" through the wickets.

Another activity: Guessing the number of lives touched by the 80 gallons of blood donated by Frank Knight of St. Petersburg. The winning number: A remarkable 1,920.

Alicia Bryan and Marla Grant were co-chairs of the event.

The All-Star Celebrity & Sports Auction at Tropicana Field on Feb. 11 raised $160,000 for the Children's Dream Fund.

It was the 13th annual event for the charity, which is headed by executive director Cynthia Lake.

Dinner, prepared by the Trop's Centerplate Catering, was served buffet-style on the field.

The crowd included Katharine Ann Lake, Chuck and Cheryl LaMar, Dr. Jerry and Carol Barbosa, Jim Leavitt, Charlie and Peggy Weniger, Harriet and David Dyer, Pat and Toni Walsh, Charlie and Laurie Lowe, Dave and Michelle Neely, Tim and Sue Brett, Kathy Nelsen, Dr. Randy and Amy Buckspan, Harvey and Kathleen Ford, John Stross and Neil and Susie Savage.

Occurring the day before Valentine's, "Hats Off to Love" was a fitting theme for the annual fashion show sponsored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Guild.

That event always evokes memories of the late Peg Nunn, whose fondness for the guild was equaled only by her affection for stylish hats. Hence, the Peg Nunn Hat Award presented each year. Winners were Mrs. Nunn's daughter Beverly Nicklaus, Barbara McArdle and Priscilla Hobby.

Nikiara Hillmon, Pinellas County's youth of the year, attends Gibbs High School and excels in musical theater. Her keynote address paid tribute to Boys & Girls and the organization's positive effect in her achievements.

The event, co-chaired by Paula Blanda, Kathy Guckenberger and Brandi Winans, took place at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach.

Social calendar

Wednesday

CELEBRITY CELEBRATION: 12th annual Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services event honors Susan and Stan Levy, and Nedra and Roy McCraw. Palm Court Ballroom, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. 6 p.m. $200. 538-7150, ext. 3156.

Thursday

WOMEN'S SYMPOSIUM: St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce Women's Council event features guest speaker Lynn Brewer. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Palm Court Ballroom, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $38. 821-4069.

Friday

AMADEUS: Florida Orchestra patron appreciation program features vocal performances by Stefano and Nina Tanchietti. 7 p.m. Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Invitation. (813) 286-1170, ext. 340.

DESIGNERS SHOWHOUSE GALA: Florida Orchestra Guild event. Showhouse tour, 6-7:30 p.m., 1761 Brightwaters Blvd. NE, St. Petersburg; gala dinner, 7-10:30 p.m., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave. Black tie. $70. 824-8577.

Saturday

JUNIOR LEAGUE OF ST. PETERSBURG 75TH ANNIVERSARY: Luncheon, vintage fashion show. 11 a.m. St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave. $20. 895-5018.

KNIGHT OF DE NILE: Canterbury School of Florida Parents Association spring gala features cocktails, dinner, auctions. 6 p.m. TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. $100. 866-9022.

ST. PETERSBURG CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL TOUR OF HOMES: Seventh annual event features seven St. Petersburg houses. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $20. Call 393-9796 for ticket purchase information.

SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM GALA: 24th annual event benefits Salvador Dali Museum. Dinner in the museum galleries. Black tie. 6 p.m. 1000 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. $250. 823-3767.

Sunday

SURREAL BRUNCH: Zodiac Group of the Salvador Dali Museum event features Bloody Mary bar, mimosa fountain, entertainment, gallery tours. Morning attire (pajamas, nightgowns, slippers). 10:30 a.m. Salvador Dali Museum, 1000 Third St. S. $20 members, $30 nonmembers, advance; $25 members, $35 nonmembers, day of event. 823-3767, ext. 3024.

Mary Jane Park can be reached at (727) 893-8267; fax (727) 893-8675; e-mail park@sptimes.com; P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

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