Social Scene

A look at what's happening around town.

Published November 24, 2006

Boys & Girls Clubs 25th Steak Dinner

Two charming young ladies, fifth-graders Karine Fracica and Hayley Fisher, joined our table at the 25th annual Steak Dinner to tell us all about life at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Eating with 130 kids who play and learn at the 22 local clubs allowed guests to meet some of the beneficiaries of the $207,000 raised at the Nov. 8 event. After dinner and auctions, Busch Gardens' dancers blasted into the past, premiering an Abba revue, for 700 guests.

Past president Glenn Permuy presented a national award to attorney Joe Garcia, who attended the West Tampa club as a youngster. Garcia was honored for his involvement with the Villa Madonna, Mary Help of Christians, Brandon and soon-to-open Riverview clubs. Board member Garcia has raised more than $4-million, with 25 percent of that coming from him and his wife, Anne. Also in the spotlight was president Roy Opfer, who has opened eight new clubs and doubled the endowment since taking over 10 years ago.

University of Tampa Chairman's Ball

That big red bow you saw adorning a silver minaret announced the Chairman's Ball, a white-tie optional, red-tie preferred riverside fete celebrating the University of Tampa's 75th year. Saturday's brisk air made mink a must, (or fox or sable). Gents flocked to the gentlemen's parlor tents, a big white tent furnished with plump leather club chairs and Oriental rugs to re-create the grandeur of the Gilded Age. Ladies fluffed and freshened in the ladies' parlor tent, decorated with orchids and vintage magazines.

Students narrated horse-and-buggy carriage tours of the historic campus for nearly 300 guests. Ballroom dancers whirled to the beat of Breezin'. Vintage film clips rolled on a huge screen: fun football footage, the first graduating class, the 1948 commencement address given by Tyrone Power.

Faculty including Libor Ondras, visiting pianist Grigorios Zamaparas and the UT jazz band gave miniconcerts. UT caterer Sodexho served filet mignon in yet another adjacent tent. Cheers erupted when UT president Ron Vaughn announced the women's volleyball team had won a national championship.

"No auction, just celebration," said hosts Catherine and David Straz, chairman of the board, just before thousands of lights wrapped around 200 trees illuminated Plant Park.

Junior League Holiday Gift Market

Junior League moved its third annual Holiday Gift Market to the Florida State Fairgrounds for three days of shopping and demonstrations from its new Savor the Seasons cookbook. Co-chairs Laurie Ann Burton and Ashley Carl guesstimate 6,000 shoppers trekked to buy clothes, accessories and gourmet treats from 125 vendors. Admission was five bucks; gift wrapping was free. The Market will fund 12 major projects.

Laura and Mark Gauthier hosted 160 Gift Market patrons Nov. 3 at a New Orleans party at their new home. Guests sipped hurricanes, ate Nola Cafe beignets and swayed to a jazz band (all N'awlins transplants to Tampa since Hurricane Katrina) playing on the balcony. MetroChefs used league recipes for everything except the gumbo.

On Nov. 10, about 100 Sustainer members (age 40 and up), lunched at the Holiday Gift Market and wished "Pie" Penalver a happy 90th birthday. Pie's done just about everything since coming to work at league headquarters in the mid 1950s, including teaching kids to fish while their moms were in meetings. Three lucky leaguers won amazing door prizes: Roberta McAtee won Carolyn Corr's home in Cashiers, N.C., for a week; Karen Carmody won a stay at Marsha Lane's Redington Beach house; and Jackie Griggs's name was drawn for a week in Liz Muraro's Blowing Rock, N.C., home.


Nov. 30: H.B. Plant Museum Society Holiday Cocktail Buffet; 7-9 p.m.; University of Tampa; 258-7301.

Dec. 2: Gingerbread House Brunch benefits American Red Cross; 10:30 a.m.; University of Tampa Fletcher Lounge; $65 adults; $50 for children under 15; 348-4820, ext. 869.

Dec. 2: Heritage Recognition Night International Food and Wine Tasting & Music Festival; 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Island Walk Club House, Harbour Island; 514-5500.

Dec. 7: Tampa Bay Bucs Wives annual fashion show to benefit St. Joseph's Women's Hospital; fashions from Georgette's of Old Hyde Park; Hyatt Regency Tampa; $60; 872-0979.

Dec. 8: Home Is Where the Heart Is Holiday Stroll benefits Kids Charity of Tampa Bay; 6-10:30 p.m.; five Davis Islands homes; $150; 263-3469.