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Lighting up the night

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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 13, 2002

PRESERVATION ROW: The 800 block of S Newport Avenue glowed for the 11th annual Candlelight Tour to benefit Tampa Preservation Inc.

Florida's idea of winter (67 degrees) delighted 400-plus people strolling between four historic Hyde Park homes decked out for Christmas on Saturday night.

Patricia and Jim Smith, owners of Hyde Park's oldest house, the former Morrison House, pointed out the attic room where Butterfly McQueen of Gone with the Wind fame lived during the years her mother cooked for the Morrison family. Rob and Sadie Pariseau's home, built in 1911, still has six working fireplaces. A contemporary art collection surprised many at Dada and Bob Glaser's 92-year-old home. Kiki Caruson and Glenn Erikson's 1909 American foursquare house was where Bill McElmurray grew up. Much of that restoration work was done when the late Jan Abell lived there.

Music and food were offered at each stop, organized by TPI president Robin Gonzalez and Cindy Ramm. A last minute added bonus: owner Mary Virginia Wilson opened up the Leiman-Wilson House on the next block at 716 S Newport Ave.

* * *

RUSHING THE RUNWAY: Think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like to strut on the field? Their wives stole the show at the annual Hallelujah Holiday fashion show to benefit the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Fans filled Avila Country Club to see team wives model fashions from Georgette's of Old Hyde Park on Dec. 6. (Tomorrow is the grand opening of Georgette's shoe salon in her expanded boutique.)

Jamiko Sapp, wife of defensive tackle Warren, floated down the runway in what one observer likened to a Halle Berry Academy Awards dress. Pregnant Bashi Saunders, due in May, modeled. She's wife of former Buc Cedric, now director of player development. Missing this year: Claudia Barber, due to morning sickness, and Linda Lynch, who delivered her third child two weeks ago.

Other models included Damaris Quarles, wife of linebacker Shelton; Jeanne Bisaccia, wife of special teams coach Rick; Laura Howell, wife of safety John; Carol Idzek, wife of assistant general manager John; Linda Oben, wife of left tackle Roman; Jane Parker, wife of strength and conditioning coach Johnny; Terry Valero, wife of tight ends coach Art; and Gayle Webster, wife of Ruston, director of college scouting.

Chairwoman Dianne Cox started the show 14 years ago when she was a close friend of Carolyn Perkins, wife of then-coach Ray. That Buccaneer connection remains tight, and last week's the show raised more than $15,000, with a $5,000 boost from sponsor JPMorgan Chase.

Guests shopped at a silent auction and from 30 vendors before the duck salad luncheon was served.

Football carried the day, but Dick Crippen, Tampa Bay Devil Rays director of community development, talked his way on to the roster as master of ceremony.

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BUILDING SWEETS: Folks wandering into Fletcher Lounge at the University of Tampa on Saturday might have thought they had stumbled into Santa's kitchen. That was the Red Cross's annual Create Your Own Gingerbread House Champagne Brunch. Those 250 busy elves paid $50 apiece to decorate gingerbread houses with candy canes, fancy icing, jelly beans, gum drops, licorice and peppermints. Most took their houses home, but others left them to be taken to the Ronald McDonald House and Shriner's Children's Hospital. Jan DeFosset won Best Gingerbread House.

Before the architectural detailing there was brunch in the Grand Salon, music by pianist/Red Cross Angel Mary McGaughy and gift shopping in Plant Hall, all included in the $50 tickets.

Chairwoman Joyce Keller, who assists UT's College of Business dean, knew how to keep a lid on expenses. Alessi Bakery donated 75 of the gingerbread houses. UT caterer Sodexho sponsored the brunch, and Aida Calafell provided the candy. Proceeds will go to the Angel Wings free transportation program, which drives people to medical appointments. Volunteers man the vehicles, but the Red Cross needs cash to keep them running.

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MINGLING AT MALLORY'S: Music and munchies mixed at the LAMPLighters Silver Christmas Coffee on Dec. 4. The LAMPLighters, an auxiliary to Metropolitan Ministries, listened to carols from the Ministries' Charter School students. They sampled hors d'oeuvres and desserts on host Mallory Lykes' veranda.

The children ate Cuban sandwiches outside by the pool, but one future hostess spotted the grown-ups' fancy ham and cheese pinwheels. She asked McMullen how to make them so she would know how "when she grew up and had a party."

Guests admired Lykes' beautiful Christmas tree and raved about the evergreen branches trimmed with ornaments in the guest shower. Of course, leftovers went right to the Ministries for a treat.

LAMPlighter Carolyn McMullen noted extra generosity this year. "The invitation requested a $20 donation, but most of the 200 ladies gave much more," she said. The money will be used to buy toys for the kids living at the Metropolitan Ministries family residence.

-- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or .

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