tampabay.com

Two ways to stock up for life's storms

By ERNEST HOOPER
Published May 11, 2007


It's about time someone honored me.

That's what I thought when I first heard about KrewesKare's hurricane relief party at its uniquely named site: Hooper's Hollow. I reckoned the nonprofit organization, made up of 55 area parade krewes, rightly bestowed my name on the hollow because I'm such a nice guy.

It reminded me of the first time I drank a bottle of Hooper's Hooch, which I also assumed was a tribute to me.

You know what they say about assumptions.

Hooper's Hollow, a waterfront picnic area behind the Egypt Shrine Temple and A La Carte Pavilion on Dana Shores Drive, actually honors William Hooper, who served as the Shriners' potentate in the 1980s. For all you non-Shriners, that's president, but doesn't potentate sound so much cooler?

Longtime residents know that before A La Carte Pavilion blossomed into one of Tampa's premier event destinations, that spot belonged solely to the Shriners.

In fact, A La Carte continues to lease space from the Shriners and they share Hooper's Hollow.

Last weekend, the Shriners used the grounds to honor military and law enforcement officials. In April, kids romped around the hollow for an Easter egg hunt.

Now comes the World's Largest Hurricane Party this Saturday. It runs from 1 to 8 p.m. with live bands, carnival games, beer and food from local restaurants including the Rack and Rigatoni's.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event. You can learn more at www.kreweskare.org.

Proceeds buy relief supplies for Angel Flight pilots who deliver to storm-stricken areas. Organizers also want the event to serve as a reminder to get ready for hurricane season.

Of course, when they set the date months ago, the krewes didn't realize that Andrea, a subtropical storm, would serve as a bigger reminder by appearing three weeks early.

* * *

Metropolitan Ministries helps folks endure the everyday storms of poverty. They plan to showcase how they do this with video and music at this year's annual Bridge Builders fundraiser Monday night at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

That means live singing performances by six Broadway professionals, including William Michals and Rita Harvey from last year's event, mixed with video presentations about Metropolitan Ministries' work with needy families.

It's akin to the special American Idol fundraiser Fox broadcast last month, though the agency's Tim Marks insists Metropolitan Ministries came up with the idea first.

And American Idol didn't provide its audience with the incredible dessert presentation Metropolitan Ministries' supporters will enjoy after Monday's show.

Tickets are on sale at a reduced price of $25. Call 813 229-STAR or go to www.metmin.org.

The Bridge Builders event has blossomed from a breakfast gathering to a luncheon to this year's inaugural evening affair. They're sticking to their core mission and spreading the word to a broader audience.

And that's worth singing about.

That's all I'm saying.

Ernest Hooper can be reached at hooper@sptimes.com or (813) 310-4444.