Amy Scherzer's Diary
A party like it was 1899
By AMY SCHERZER
Published October 14, 2005
B.Y.O. CHINA: Tradition at the Henry B. Plant Museum has board members bring their fine china to the Crescent Club appreciation dinner. Limoges, Minton, Royal Doulton, Spode - only the finest for the donors who gave $1,000 or more to the museum.
The china, by the way, is returned unwashed. Museum director Cynthia Gandee doesn't want to be responsible for any chipping.
The committee for the Oct. 6 dinner went all out to re-create the 1890s when the Tampa Bay Hotel, now the University of Tampa, was in full swing.
Carnations, roses and sunflowers arranged by Botanica International Florist were described in an 1892 gardener's manual. Mise en Place pulled from menus served between 1898 and 1921, starting with Essence of Fowl or consomme, and featuring Melba toast and Peach Melba shortcake.
Dame Nellie Melba (played by Donna Anderson) sang for the 80 guests like the glamorous soprano did in the Tampa Bay Casino in the late 1890s.
"We're a lifestyle museum more than furniture, paintings and objects of art," Gandee said. "Plant Museum showcases the people who worked, performed and stayed at the hotel." Raising a glass of Australian champagne, Paul Wilborn led a toast to the diva from Melbourne known to bathe in 151 bottles of Aussie bubbly.
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RIDERS PASS REINS: Rough Riders rode in style to the Military Dress Ball on Saturday. At least 10 couples high-fived the incoming president, Bill Hogan, as he exited a Hummer limo at the Palma Ceia Country Club.
Outgoing president Randy Rumore passed the khaki uniform jacket to Hogan, now ranked lieutenant colonel like Teddy Roosevelt when he commanded the Rough Riders.
When a club president's term ends, his predecessors bestow a nickname. For Hogan, emcees Richard Terry and Ken Beytin suggested Wild Bill, Hogan's Hero or Oyster Boy.
Want previous examples? Rex "Sexy Rexy" Barbas, president in 1990, and Bob "Wet Willie" Densmore (1996). Rumore got his name, "Big Stick," from Roosevelt's famous quote, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
Rough Riders founder Charlie "The Godfather" Spicola was supposed to present an award to Larry McKinnon, Tampa police's "Officer of the Year." Sadly, McKinnon was involved in a hostage shooting the day before, so Lt. Dan Lyons accepted on his behalf.
Around midnight, many piled in the limo and headed to brunch and Bloody Marys at the Beytins'.
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ALL THAT GRACE: Earlier Saturday, Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O'Malley filled the Palma Ceia Country Club for the 13th annual Court of Ruffs and Cuffs. Members modeled costumes to parade as Grace the pirate or Grace the queen.
Current ruler Terryn Burnett, the O'Malley XIII and a Hillsborough County prosecutor, wore a gorgeous silver, purple and teal gown with 9-foot train. Lady Tashia Diaz emceed as models changed into stylish fashions from Georgette's of Old Hyde Park.
The 200 guests raised more than $4,000 at a silent auction and raffle for Camp Boggy Creek, a retreat for children with cancer, chosen by Linda Cone, the krewe's Aleta Goodson Community Service Award winner.
Strips of raffle tickets were sold by the wing span, explained Barbara Carter. "So the longer your arms, the better your chances to win."
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HOLIDAY FEVER: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the Junior League of Tampa. More than 100 merchants are booked for the three-day Holiday Gift Market Oct. 21-24 at the Tampa Port Authority Cruise Terminal No. 3.
The League makes money by renting space to the vendors and charging $5 admission. Market chairwomen Elaine Sweeney and Wendy Garraty are planning three other moneymakers: a gala Oct. 20; Happy Hour on Oct. 21 and a wine tasting Oct. 22.
They hope to raise more than $250,000, including $100,000 pledged from patrons. To thank all those patrons and sponsors, Ashley and Searing Merrill hosted A Night in Old Havana at their Beach Park home on Oct. 1.
Entertainment included a Cuban band, cigar roller, fortune-teller, casino and the highlight - NASCRAB, hermit crab racing.
"The crab wrangler was hysterical," said League President Kathleen Lopez. Her crab, Gator, had "about as much luck as the Gainesville team that day." Board member Joellyn Rocha's hubby, Robert, thought his crab, Cadillac, would be a winner. Alas, he was not. Hamstring injury?
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BIG BUCKS CARMEN: "I'm stunned," said Colette Eddy, president of Aerial Innovations Photography, after Carmen, a mannequin dolled up by her staff, sold for a whopping $5,100 at a party for her clients Oct. 6. She sent the money to the Southern Arts Federation.
"They said it was their biggest donation so far to help artists wiped out by Hurricane Katrina," Eddy said.
Saxophonist Alan Darcy strutted around the room as guests sized up Carmen and large color photos of her. Josephine Vitale and Randi Sullivan started with silent bids, then launched a live auction. Drew Courtney moderated, getting Vitale to $5,000.
Randi, a model for the Home Shopping Network, and her husband, Anthony "Sulli" Sullivan of infomercial fame, went up another $100. After winning, they took their prize out for drinks at SideBern's.
- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or blog her at sptimes.com/party.
FRIDAY: Downtown YMCA's 10th annual Art Auction and dinner; 6 p.m.; Hyatt Regency Tampa; $75; 229-9622.
SATURDAY: Hearts of Fire Gala benefits Muscular Dystrophy Association; A La Carte Pavilion; $250; (727) 577-4217.
THURSDAY: Junior League Holiday Gift Market Gala; Tampa Port Authority Terminal No. 3; $75; 254-1734.
OCT. 21: Fur Ball benefits Big Cat Rescue, Roaring '20s theme; A La Carte Pavilion; $125; 889-7244.
OCT. 21: NautiNight Masquerade benefits Florida Aquarium; 21 and older; open bar costume party; 8 p.m.; 701 Channelside Drive; $60 for members, $65 nonmembers; $70 after Sunday; 273-4568.
OCT. 22: MOSI National Hispanic Scientist of the Year gala honors Dr. Edmond Yunis; 7 p.m.; 4801 E Fowler Ave.; $75 or $140 per couple; 987-6077.
OCT. 23: Island Night at Jackson's wine tasting benefits LifePath Hospice; 5:30 p.m.; Jackson's Bistro on Harbour Island; $60 advance, $75 at the door; 871-8433.
[Last modified October 13, 2005, 08:20:12]
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