The Table in the Park
Downtown Tampa was the place to be Saturday night specifically Curtis Hixon Park, where the city rinked an ice tent for skaters; Tampa Theatre screened a holiday movie and MacDonald Training Center hosted its inaugural Table in the Park dinner party to support its technology training program for young people on the autism spectrum.
CEO Karenne Levy, development director Rita Hattab and event chairwoman Angela Ruth seated 160 supporters at end-to-end tables across the width of the park, serving a choice of three entrees from Tampa Bay food trucks' Dochos and Lizzie's Cucina Italiana. Minarets gleamed to the west; sky high condos lit up the easterly view and Tampa felt like the city it has always wanted to become.
MDA Muscle Team dinner
Pop, pop, pop …those were balloons bursting as guests bought chances to win prizes at the Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Team dinner honoring Champion of Hope Ray Fernandez, pediatric neurologist and director of the Tampa MDA Care Center, who spoke about new treatments for neuromuscular diseases made possible by MDA funded research, including the first new FDA-approved drug for ALS therapy in 22 years. MDA awarded more than $16 million for nearly 70 research grants last year. Auctioneer Jason Alpert rallied the 250 guests to raise $250,000, including $91,000 in "mission moment" donations Nov. 9 at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC.
Best Buddies Tampa Bay Champion of the Year gala
Congratulations to Best Buddies Tampa Bay 2017 Champion Sheba Lucas, top fundraiser for the second time, this year with Campaign Manager Jenna Dinilla, at the fifth annual gala Nov. 10 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside. More than a dozen teams competed in the 12-week philanthropic race by hosting beer-tastings, spa days, even a haunted house. Auction buys for anything the teams procured were also added to their tally, such as $2,700 for a training package from WWE superstar Sheamus credited to his campaign manager Nick Altieri.
Busch Gardens belly dancers and the Portico Chorus entertained; ambassador Buddies Andi Walker, Josh Felder and Lindsey Danner spoke movingly and gala chairman John Schroeder raised $170,000 for programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Great Gatsby Party for H.B. Plant Museum
Waiters in white gloves served blue champagne, fortune tellers predicted happy futures for flappers, more gloomy for gangsters at the Henry B. Plant Museum's Great Gatsby Party, thrown by Theodora Klein-Carroll and co-chairs Lester Ryals and Christopher Butler on Nov. 11. Guests, 300-plus fringed and fedora-ed, bubbled into the University of Tampa, passing La France's 1920s-fashionable mannequins en route to Fletcher Lounge where they learned to dance the Charleston to Ward Cook and the Blue Notes featuring drummer Lenny Vidal, 94. The $60,000 raised Nov. 11 supports community, conservation and preservation programs at the museum.
Girl Scouts of West Central Florida judges awarded Trinity Cafe chef Doug Wanek top honors for his Thin Mint chocolate raspberry brownie at Dessert First on Nov. 17, made from ingredients donated to feed hundreds of homeless people every day. And once again, Don CeSar Hotel chef Jake Yergensen won the People's Choice, voted by the 200 guests for his Thin Mint Crunch Bar topped with a Samoa meringue frozen in liquid nitrogen. The other five competitors were every bit as delicious: Brio Tuscan Grille's Tagalong cheesecake with Trefoil crust; Ocean Prime's lemon verbena gateaux; Season 52's Samoa swirled mousse; Maggiano's Thin Mint Tiramisu and event host Tampa Airport Marriott's Tagalong Gelato.
Hearing CEO Jessica Muroff and ambassador Emma P speak, two "fierce advocates" for girl scouting, helped auctioneer Christopher Marchand rack up bids and donations.