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Early splash for a big bash; the party home

By ERNEST HOOPER
Published May 27, 2004

More than 1,000 partygoers will arrive in saris and kimonos and dashikis and everything in between, because "ethnic chic" is not your ordinary attire.

The music of waltzes and tangos will fill the air, because the Florida Orchestra is not just another house band.

And the event will benefit not one, not two, but 10 charities, because it won't be just another fundraiser.

Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel have made it a point to match their generosity with originality, so it should come as no surprise that the inaugural charity ball for their Foundation for Global Understanding will be a hallmark of innovation.

It might seem folly in the height of the spring event season to talk about a fall party, but there's already a buzz about the Patels' Cultural Carousel Ball, planned for Sept. 18.

With international food, a folk festival of dance, a silent auction with unique travel packages and a public art component featuring hand-painted carousel horses, the ball will be a ball. The Patels, however, are trying to inspire more than a good time.

"Dr. P talks constantly about figuring out ways to give people more power to achieve for themselves," said Sigrid Tidmore, executive director of the foundation. "His philanthropic work really emphasizes ways to do that. You know, give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. He really believes that."

Each charity - HOPE Scholarship/USF Charter School, ChairScholars, National Conference for Community & Justice, Tampa Theatre, Renaissance Center for the Arts, Florida Prostate Cancer Network, Creative TampaBay, the Florida Orchestra, the Spring and Meals on Wheels - will be able to sell corporate tables for $1,800 without having to worry about the planning, marketing and funding of the event. And for each table, the charity gets a 50 percent match.

"What we wanted to do is talk about how a good community, a healthy community, requires an infrastructure of organizations helping each other," Tidmore said.

* * *

QUICK, NAME TAMPA'S TOP THREE party venues. If you left the Bailey House off your list, you haven't been keeping up with current events.

Okay, maybe it's a little outlandish to lump in Ron and Beverly Bailey's Harbour Island home with Whiskey Park and Blue Martini, but the Baileys are preparing to host their third major fundraising event of the season. It follows a May 1 beach bash that benefitted the Tampa General Hospital Foundation and a May 22 formal dinner for the Joshua House.

From what I can gather, guests haven't been disappointed. Of course, whenever your house has its own name - in this case, La Casa del Caballo de Mar - you know it's special. Visitors have compared it to a Bahamian resort.

Now the 13 Ugly Men, staging their third event in a month, will roll into the 13,000-square-foot home June 5 for a special fundraiser for the Florida Aquarium. The elegant South Beach soiree will include flamenco dancers, jewelry models, gourmet buffet and televisions for anyone who wants to watch Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tickets start at $250 and I'm told this may be the last Bailey bash for some time. Check www.13uglymen.com for more information.

* * *

SPEAKING OF THE 13 UGLY MEN, the charitable group is the cover feature in Applause, a new regional magazine trying to find its niche amid all the competition: Tampa Bay Metro, Tampa Bay Illustrated and Tampa Bay Magazine. Publisher Diane Wood hopes to establish her magazine by emphasizing arts and the area's "creative spirit."

* * *

f,8.5,ux0,,10.8 YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Your friends probably called you Schleprock in high school and your college football team probably lost 30 games in a row. You had no interest in hockey until the Lightning made it and your first game was Tuesday night.

Yes, the Lightning lost not because of inept play, but because you are a jinx. I don't know who you are, but I'm asking you to stay home tonight. Don't even watch TV.

That's all I'm saying.

- Ernest Hooper can be reached at 813 226-3406 or Hooper@sptimes.com

[Last modified May 27, 2004, 01:00:38]


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