Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

Humane Society's 'Nordic Nights,' Tampa Hispanic Heritage gala and 20 years of Dress for Success highlight week's events.
Published October 15 2018

Tuxes & Tails

Nordic Nights’ frisky guests cut loose like a pack of excitable puppies barking up the Humane Society of Tampa Bay at the annual Tuxes & Tails gala. The glittery, wintery motif featured celebs parading homeless pets on the runway; a silent auction as vast as the tundra; and Event Show Productions’ Viking dancers, LED-lit snow angels and a hula hooper spinning 20 rings simultaneously at the Tampa Convention Center on Saturday.

Honorary co-chairwoman Lisa DeBartolo joked that she might send Sheriff Chad Chronister, her sister/co-chair Nikki's husband, table to table if the animal lovers didn’t donate to help her replace a 50-year old building with the new DeBartolo Family Animal Shelter. They did, generously, cheered on by auctioneer Gabriel Butu and emcees Cynthia Smoot and Russell Rhodes of WTVT-Ch.13.

The celebration continued at the after-party on the RiverWalk with many of the 1,100 supporters staying to dance in "snow" flurries, drink shots on skis and snuggle some of the 40 dogs and cats adopted that night.

Tampa Hispanic Heritage Woman and Man of the Year Gala

Adri Colina and Tony Morejon are exactly who and why Tampa Hispanic Heritage Inc. has honored a Man and Woman of the Year since 1988. Saturday's gala saluted Colina for devoting decades to the City of Tampa’s administration and her dear friend Morejon for 24 years as Hillsborough County’s Hispanic Affairs Liaison. Both Cuban-Americans share their love of Latino culture as longtime hosts of local Spanish language TV shows. It was an emotional night for Mayor Bob Buckhorn, too, as 400 guests in the Hilton Tampa Downtown ballroom expressed said "gracias" for his support.

USF scholarship student Francisco Flores thanked the group for helping to fund his degree, as emcees Paul LaGrone, WFTS-Ch. 28, and Telemundo’s Cristina Puig pointed out that president Odette Figuernelo and vice president Aileen Rodriguez were recipients some 20 years ago. The 50-50 raffle winner, Linda Felicione Gonzalez, made more scholarships possible by donating her half right back.

Tampa Bay Dress for Success

For 20 years, Dress for Success Tampa Bay has offered career guidance to women referred by homeless and domestic violence shelters, immigration services and job training programs, among other organizations. The nonprofit's leaders told more than 500 guests at its 20th anniversary luncheon how it has helped more than 25,000 local women with resumes, interviews and professional attire. Co-chairs Penny Vinik and Renee Vaughn hosted the event at Armature Works on Oct. 10.

Women helping women, said keynote speaker Lauren Dungy impressed by the worldwide network. Twenty clients, representing 20 years, dressed in fashions they got to keep from HSN, and earned a standing ovation as "Rise Up" blasted through the ballroom.

Contact Amy Scherzer at or (813) 226-3332. Follow @Amy_Scherzer.