A Taste of Ybor
Boy Scouts of America's Gulf Ridge Council supporters climbed three flights at the Cuban Club for bites and bids at A Taste of Ybor auction Nov. 9. Make that plural: silent, live and Chinese auctions. For the latter, guests bought 20 tickets for $20, dropped them into boxes beside desired items and hoped one of theirs was the lucky draw.
Auctioneer Tony Morejon pitched vacations and an elephant footprint, one of 50 created at Busch Gardens for Republican National Convention bigwigs. This one sold for $700 to Gregg Hilferding.
The 300 guests helped themselves to food stations wrapping one wall, donated by Jimmy Johns, Spaghetti Warehouse, Carne Chophouse, Bernini's and La Teresita, among others. They danced to Dave Perri Band, attempted the salsa with instructor Grace Badillo and puffed hand-rolled cigars on the balcony, all while raising $40,000 for Boy Scouts in eight counties, and character education offshoot Learning for Life.
A creative mashup — original music blasted by Zulu Wave and original fashions from local designers — rocked the Peace Couture runway, staged by Vertical Tampa Bay with Mod Productions on behalf of the Spring of Tampa Bay.
Wicked Betty Designs dressed up black and white satin, lace, vinyl, tulle and feathers. Spathose sculpted purses of palm spathe. Sandra Hagen channeled Chanel a la Edward Scissorhands. Monstrusite styled Moulin Rouge and kinky boots. And the finale: vintage chic from La France and the latest from the Spring's own thrift shop. Between each collection, original artwork, all for sale, spelled out horrifying domestic violence stats.
The Nov. 9 party of mostly 20- and 30-somethings started and ended on the second floor of the Italian Club, beginning with boutiques and nail artists and ending with the band Guiltmaker.
"And everyone donated their time tonight," said grateful CEO Mindy Murphy, thanking designers, choreographers, models, hair and makeup stylists, and musicians.
Salvation Army Tree of Lights luncheon
Elfon John and the cast of Holiday Inc. kicked off the season of giving and the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign with joyous selections at the 19th annual Tree of Lights luncheon. Behind them, a giant video backdrop at the Tampa Convention Center alternated between snowscapes and testimonials from some of the 17,000 homeless residents. (Don't miss the holiday musical Dec. 13-22 at the Jaeb Theater at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.)
More musical entertainment at the Nov. 9 benefit came from Cambridge Christian School's Christmas carolers, led by Matt Stenberg. Belinda Womack sang the national anthem.
Majs. Dan and Dawn Heard, area commanders, asked for help to provide meals, housing, life skills, nursing home visits and emergency assistance of all kinds.
Hadassah Centennial Gala
Never underestimate the power of organized women, especially 360,000 Hadassah members, one of the largest women's volunteer organizations in the world.
"We're like a Zionist junior league," said Joyce H. Karpay, a four-generation Hadassah family, and emcee of the Centennial Gala on Sunday at the Tampa Airport Marriott.
A schmoozy crowd of 200-plus danced between courses and guest speakers, including national board member Maureen "Miki" Schulman, who described Jerusalem's newly completed Davidson Tower Medical Center, "open to all — Arabs, Jews and Christians," with five underground floors in case of attack.
Former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink tallied women's recent political advances as well as her impressions of Israel after a visit. Guests applauded a parade of past presidents and honored dermatologist Rob Norman for humanitarian work.