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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Spectacular, without a doubt

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AMY SCHERZER'S DIARY
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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 7, 2003


GIVENCHY, VALENTINO, MACKIE: Ebony magazine's Fashion Fair lived up to its theme, Simply Spectacular, bringing gorgeous models and stunning couture with its 45th road show. A dozen male and female models, including Tampa native Victoria Bowers, flirted, strutted and even sang high fashion at the Tampa Theatre on Sunday evening, all for the benefit of the Tampa-Hillsborough Urban League.

The style show going on in the audience kept heads turning, too. Urban league guild president Lois Davis looked chic in black and white. Always a standout: Steinmart's Eve Barnett, an Ebony fashion show model in 1977-78. Mildred Lewis sparkled in black and silver; Felicia Mason was radiant in orange satin. Gretchen Mickler applauded from the front row. Cynthia Brady, wearing white from hat to toe, sold the most tickets: 70.

As for the professional show: Picture luscious furs and minuscule swimsuits. A statuesque plus-size model drew roars of delight. Imagine a robe of clear plastic (strategically adorned) and a handpainted butterfly tunic from Hannae Mori. Men suited up in powder blue and pale pink.

Since no photography is allowed, one must see an Ebony Fashion Fair to enjoy it. Don't miss next year's.

* * *

CAPT. FRED DOBBINS was nearly upstaged by Herbert Carrington at Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's Captain's Ball. Both men got and gave hearty greetings to more than 1,500 pirates and their ladies at the Tampa Yacht Club on Jan. 30.

Carrington, 104, never really retired after 55 years of working at the club. He had an aortic heart valve implanted in 1993, which makes him the oldest living recipient, according to his cardiovascular-thoracic surgeon, Dennis F. Pupello.

The Joe Stagi band kept the ballroom dance floor packed. The Skycasters of Rochester, N.Y. rocked the tent. By coincidence, sisters Nancy Mynard and Barbara Ryals showed up in the same spangly black lace blouse. Each sister swore she didn't know the other owned the top.

Pirate Bill Young lamented barricades, remembering the good old days, "when you could give beads one on one," he said. They've stolen the parade's personality, he said.

Pirate Charlie Yent, an American Airlines pilot, and his wife, Kandy, took in their first Captain's Ball. "I'm a Tampa native but I really didn't know what this was all about," said Yent.

Pirate Randy Feldman dressed to the nines; fiancee Kelly Bockner sparkled with a five (carat engagement ring).

* * *

BEHIND THE PICKET FENCE: Mayor Dick Greco and the city of Tampa turned their Gasparilla parade tent into a mini-United Nations on Saturday afternoon. Guests Gen. Michael DeLong and Brig. Gen. Chip Diehl had seen the parade before, but the military advisers they brought along were wowed.

Visiting brass from 44 nations -- more accustomed to medals than beads -- quickly garnished their necks. Even the armed guards broke into occasional smiles.

When Greco's car passed the city's tent, his wife, Linda, jumped out, and Lt. Gen. DeLong hopped in. His surprised security detail ran alongside all the way downtown.

Catering by the Family contracted to provide all the food for the corporate tents. Owner Steve Gonzalez's crew served about 9,600 people in the 40 tents.

"Something like 3,800 hamburgers, 10,000 mini-Cubans and 15,000 chicken wings," said Chef Mitch Freibaum.

Gonzalez sported a city of Tampa Gasparilla medallion.

"I had to trade Julie Harris (the mayor's assistant) a pan of empanadas and deviled crabs for it," said Gonzalez.

Erika and Don Wallace hosted almost 400 for their private pirate fest, including all of Donnie Jr.'s class at Seaborn Day School and many supporters of mayoral candidate Frank Sanchez. Mise en Place catered the spread at the Wallaces' Bayshore Boulevard estate. Chef Michael Baugh of Let Them Eat Cake created the chocolate pirate ship centerpiece, which was way too beautiful to eat.

* * *

MAKING FRIENDS: A new support group, Friends of the Boys & Girls Club, took in $1,700 for Belmont Heights playground equipment at their first fundraiser.

Started just two months ago, the group has nearly 20 members and is seeking more, said member Corey Poe of Davis Islands.

A $10 donation got them beer and pizza at the Hyde Park Cafe. Raffle tickets sold for $5, and there were 23 prizes, including gift certificates to TuscaBella, Bern's, Improv and Side Splitters. Guitarist Ted Wray entertained at the happy hour event.

Next up: kickball tournament. Todd Aidman, chairman, is recruiting teams now.

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

DATEBOOK

SATURDAY: Tampa Museum of Art's Magna Graecia exhibition opening; 7-9 p.m.; free to members; $10 for guests; 600 N Ashley Drive; 274-8130.

SUNDAY: An Affaire of the Heart benefits Stageworks Theater Co.; 4:30 p.m.; $30 and $60; Don Vicente de Ybor, 1915 Republica de Cuba; 251-8984.

TUESDAY: Florida Orchestra soiree; home of Janet Cruz and Steve Rifkind; 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40; reserved seats, $60; 926-0099.

FEB. 14: Eighth annual "Stars, Hearts, Fashion and Fun" celebrity fashion show and auction benefitting MacDonald Training Center; Hyatt Regency Tampa; 11 a.m.; $40; 870-1300, ext. 310.

FEB. 14: An Affair to Remember cocktail and silent auction party benefits the Tampa Garden Center, 2629 Bayshore Blvd.; 7-10 p.m.; $50; 251-1174.

FEB. 21: LAMPlighters Luncheon of Light Fashion Show benefits Metropolitan Ministries and Joshua House; Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay; fashions from Saks Fifth Avenue; 11 a.m.; $60; 250-3737.

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