Jingle Jangle Jam
Chef Jeff Henderson's not proud of serving 10 years in federal prison for dealing drugs, but Eckerd Youth Alternative's donor audience understands the impact of broken homes and generational poverty as he described at the eighth annual Jingle Jangle Jam. Henderson is very proud of turning his crack street skills into business savvy, coached behind bars by Wall Street criminals on how to dress, eat and what to read. His spoke of his trajectory from prison kitchen to becoming the first black chef at Caesar's Palace and a bestselling author.
A powerful video of Eckerd's impact on 18,500 children led to pledges of more than $400,000 at the Dec. 9 dinner at the Tampa Airport Marriott, primarily to match them with paid mentors through the Friends of the Children program. Ending on a high note, the Heart of the Heroes band, all former foster children with the youngest, Jordan, 6, rocking the drums, sang out their message, "You Are Wanted."
H.B. Plant Museum Society Victorian Christmas Stroll Preview Party
"Dedicated" barely describes some creative Henry B. Plant Museum Society members, especially Susan and George Gage, who went above and beyond to decorate for the 34th annual Victorian Christmas Stroll preview party. The couple, recalling that guests were carted all over the former 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel in rickshaws, found one in Tallahassee on Craigslist. They rented a van, picked it up, repaired it and placed a Christmas tree into the perfect centerpiece. Other members contributed hors d'oeuvres and desserts to the buffet on Dec. 5, including venison sausage, bagged and prepared by Richard Clarke and pralines made by Robin Gonzalez. The kick-off raised $50,000 as 300 guests toured museum vignettes with trees fashioned of vintage typewriters, parasols, miniature Red Cross posters, antique ornaments and more. The Victorian Christmas Stroll runs daily through Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
39th annual Feast of the Haggis
Tartans and toasts told the proud history of the St. Andrew's Society of Tampa Bay, gathered for the 39th year to feast on a wee bit of "haggis, served warm and reekin' rich" downed with many glasses of whiskey. President McCord Fraser welcomed "native Scots, descendants and friends of Scotland" to the ceremonial dinner Dec. 5 at Palma Ceia County Club. President-elect Campbell McLean, son of one of the founders, the late William Campbell McLean Jr., carried the whisky; Chris Fraser held the ritual dirk; and chef Tom Powell showcased the haggis. Ian Greig read the traditional Burns Address, accompanied by piper Nick Campbell of the St. Andrew's Pipes & Drums band. "Old men in kilts are adorable," said member Judy Stanton.