By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
Published October 28, 2005
LifePath Hospice hospitality at Island Night on Sunday helped 600 partygoers remember the vital role hospice serves for 1,500 patients a day. Rain bands from Hurricane Wilma were no deterrent for sushi, pasta, ribs, beach buckets of beer, wine samplings and casino games.
Alan Bridges hosted an afternoon patrons' party in his bachelor's penthouse at the GrandView on Harbour Island. Guests checked out the all-black master suite, theater system, pool table, pinball machines and bird's nest view before moving on to the party at Jackson's Bistro. There, Bridges hounded his 13 Ugly Men posse to bid high, including Ric Feinberg, who brought his two kids.
Philanthropist Ray Murray shouted, "Pig out," urging guests to bid on ceramic piggy banks painted by kids at the Center for Grieving Children. Murray and others bought 26 banks, plus loads of other auction items, to raise more than $160,000.
NO CAT LEFT BEHIND: The Roaring '20s Fur Ball folks are purring about adopting out nearly all of their 150 lions, tigers, bobcats, leopards and other exotic cats for $25 each at the Oct. 21 benefit for Big Cat Rescue.
Dressed as flappers and safari hunters, 500 guests sat down to a vegan dinner and Papio wines at A La Carte Pavilion instead of the usual buffet. Dessert came first for many when they discovered the decadent chocolate fountains donated by Chocolate Cascades.
Tribal urges emerged in Jana Broder's drum circle, at DanMar's casino tables and dancing to Wholly Cats. Most unusual auction item: An hour in a high-tech military flight training simulator sold for $700 to Terrance Murphy.
In all, the ball raised about $50,000 for the 45-acre refuge in Citrus Park.
Founder Carole Baskin renamed the Founders Award th e Cathy Mayeski Award because she has won it so many times. She helped choose which of the 60 volunteers should receive it this year: Jen Ruszczyk.
NAUGHTY LIGHT: The crowd was smaller than usual, about 500 tricksters, but that made Nauti-Night easier to navigate. No lines, no waiting at the bars and buffets at the adults-only costume party at the Florida Aquarium on Oct. 21. Weather worries probably kept many partiers at home, which meant the party only raised about half of its usual $25,000 goal.
National Association for Catering Executives (NACE) organized the food for the eighth year. Lobster bisque and gator gumbo from Delectables; Dempsey's crabcakes; jerk chicken from Saffron's; and creme brulee from Watercolours Steakhouse were favorites..
Bobby and the Rockets rocked, all in costume, including Bob Singerman in red tights and Richard "Liberace" Lehfeldt on keyboard. Pocket Change filled the Coral Reef with dancers.
Scott Crofoot won Best Male Costume as Willy Wonka. Nichole Amica won for her Wonder Woman impersonation. The Ruth Eckerd Hall gang won Best Group as Alice in Wonderland characters.
MAJOR LEAGUE SHOPPING: Wafts of Carrabba's garlic spinach and Outback's steaks steamed up the preview gala of the Junior League Holiday Gift Market on Oct. 20. The posh, black-tie optional bazaar officially started the shopping season with 140 local and national vendors, who paid $500 for a booth at Tampa Port Authority Terminal No. 3. About six canceled when they got wind of Wilma.
Favorites: Clearwater designer Nilla Shields' fun pants and hoodies sold by the pajama-clad staff of Brown-Eyed Girls in Belleair Bluffs. Laura York touted Hot Pops canvas pillows with Walt Majewski's portraits of children or pets sketched with permanent markers. Creme de La Creme owner Sharon Yerrid pushed Peepee Teepee, hilarious cone-shaped deflectors for changing baby boys' diapers. "Pewter Patrick" sold $50,000 in six booths and wants more space next year.
Final numbers weren't tallied earlier this week, but organizers are sure the second market topped last year's take of $292,000 - much more than the old thrift sale used to raise.
WILMA AFFECTS PAVILION: Nearly 170 Pillars of Pavilion were expected to attend the Oct. 22 New Orleans Jazz Brunch canceled because of Hurricane Wilma. The $1,200 and up patrons would have enjoyed bayou specialties donated by Outback Steakhouse's research and development team for the party at Mike and Rhonda Hogan's Bayshore Boulevard estate. Jewelry designer, Mignon Faget, was to have exhibited her pieces and donated 20 percent of sales. Instead, she sold well at the Junior League Holiday Gift Market.
Brunch chairwoman Betsy Best had to make the difficult decision to cancel four days in advance. The brunch is a new perk for top donors of the Tampa Museum of Art's Pavilion ball Nov. 5.
Adding injury to insult, Pavilion XX co-chair Barbara Ryals recently sprained her ankle falling down the stairs. She'll be wearing a fashionable walking cast at the ball when she greets John Bullard, New Orleans Museum of Art director. Bullard will gratefully accept $10,000 from Smith & Associates Realtors. He has laid off 70 of his 86 employees since Hurricane Katrina forced the closing of the museum in late August.
TODAY: Gone with the Wind - and Beyond!; VIVO Halloween Party benefits Florida Orchestra; 6-9 p.m.; Silverman residence in South Tampa; $30 for VIVO members, $35 for nonmembers; 229-6028, ext. 307.
TODAY: Freak Show, eighth annual Halloween Party benefits Hillsborough Association for Retarded Citizens and 13 Ugly Men Foundation; 8 p.m.; The Underground, 802 E Whiting St.; $25 online, $30 at the door; www.13uglymen.com or 866 530-5705.
SUNDAY: Starry Nights auction to benefit Mental Health Care Foundation; 5-7 p.m.; St. Bart's Island House Restaurant, 1502 S Howard Ave.; $55; 272-2244.
THURSDAY: Senior Citizens of the Year Awards luncheon benefits Seniors in Service; 11:30 a.m.; Higgins Hall; $50; 932-5228.
THURSDAY: Fourth annual Champion for Children Awards, Smokin' Jazz, Old Havana Nights honors Dr. Jack and Judy Guggino; 7-10 p.m.; Renaissance Tampa Hotel; $75; 902-9300.
NOV. 4: Casablanca Evening benefits Carrollwood Cultural Center; 7-11 p.m.; Emerald Greens Golf & Country Club; $100; 969-3991.
NOV. 5: Zoofari sampling from 50 restaurants benefits Lowry Park Zoo; 7 p.m.; 1101 W Sligh Ave.; $70 in advance, $80 day of event; 935-8552.