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Amy Scherzer's Diary

By AMY SCHERZER, Social Scene
Published November 9, 2007


Caribbean Cultural Association gala

Guests from Antigua, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St, Kitts, the Virgin Islands and other countries celebrated their island heritage at a festive dinner hosted by the Caribbean Cultural Association at USF Embassy Suites on Nov. 3.

As immigrants from many countries, the group shares a common goal: Strengthening Caribbean culture in the bay area through educational, social and business networking. They're especially proud of their successful math tutorial program on Saturday mornings for students of all nationalities. Guest speaker Babacar M'Bow, a Broward County cultural organizer, further motivatedthe coalition.

Emcee Angela Beckles, WEDU-88.5 FM personality, kept the beat lively, introducing Kuumba dancers and drummers and president Ron Bobb-Semple. Joe Affronti, mayor of Temple Terrace, presented awards to gala honorees activist Bob Samuels and Josette "Tornado" Toulme, founder of the Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa.


More than 4,000 mammals - actually, starving humans - swarmed Zoofari at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo on Saturday, devouring samples from 60-plus restaurants, imbibing at a dozen bars and turning the place into ... well, a zoo. They chomped down ribs from Cheddar's, munched chocolate-covered shrimp served on a bed of popcorn from the View at CK's and unwrapped Alessi's Italian Bar & Grille's asparagus and prosciutto in a martini glass Christie McHargue's favorite. Five musical groups played throughout the park before headliner Little River Band went on.

Guests also bid on artwork, including pieces by chimps, rhinos and other animals. They voted the People's Choice award to Grillsmith while the professional judges awarded Best in Show to the in-house Catering by the Zoo.

It may have been a wild, noisy night for the regular zoo inhabitants, but they'll enjoy the $188,000 raised at Zoofari.

University of Tampa Minaret Society gala

University of Tampa let some of its standout music students sing their appreciation to donors of $1,000 or more at the 34th annual Minaret Society gala Nov. 2 in the Vaughn Center. Music came from Rebecca Preston, Class of '06 on harp; Michael Lock, Class of '07 on piano; choral group Opus and the UT jazz combo.

Flashing slides of campus scenes through the years, president Ron Vaughn gave his perspective of UT's past, present and future. Noting that most of the 4,600 traditional undergrads were born after 1986, he joked that they "never rolled down a car window" and "never saw Johnny Carson on live TV."

Cruising to a Cure

Holland American donated lunch on board the MS Vandeem, and chef Robert Irvine demonstrated why his Food Network show, Dinner: Impossible is so fun to watch and why his St. Petersburg restaurants, Schmooze and Ooze, are sure to be successful.

Emcee Jen Holloway of Bay News 9 noted the brawny chef cooked his way around the world, including Princess Di's wedding cake, as 215 guests swooned at Cruising to a Cure, a benefit for the Children's Cancer Research Group at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital on Sunday.

He must lift cows, whispered one guest eyeing Irvine's biceps as he held up a hunk of steak. He also prepared crab salad with fennel and apple and Grand Marnier souffle. During lunch, Irvine bopped table to table, autographing his book, Mission: Cook!, swapping cooking tips, even giving his phone number to a pediatric patient. When his chef jacket and book were auctioned, Irvine offered the T-shirt off his back. "How much for the pants?" yelled Holloway. The items fetched $2,700.

Bobby Rosas, cancer-free for nine years, spoke about his treatment and presented research lab director Dr. Cameron Tebbi a photograph of some of the other kids he met during his treatment.


Got gossip? E-mail Amy Scherzer at or call 226-3332.Party onlineFor more party pictures, visit


I should clarify that Robin Gonzalez, Chuck Levin and Jay B. Starkey were three of four individuals, and Ellis Van-Pelt, Northern Trust Bank and Thornton Donoghue & Associates three of the four businesses, honored by Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts on Oct. 24. An item in last week's Diary was unclear that they also received top honors for their effect on the cultural scene.


Saturday: Pavilion XXII Imagine ball benefits Tampa Museum of Art; 6 p.m.; 600 N Ashley Drive; $600 and up; 274-8074.

Saturday: Victory Ball II benefits USF Suncoast Alzheimer's & Gerontology Center; 6:30 p.m.; InterContinental Westshore; $125; 974-4355.

Saturday: Dress for Success benefit fashion show luncheon, 10 a.m.; Intercontinental Hotel, $55; 541-3248.

Sunday: Island Night benefits LifePath Hospice; 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Jackson's Bistro Harbour Island; $100; 871-8111.

Wednesday: Tree of Lights Breakfast benefits Salvation Army; 7:30 a.m.; Tampa Convention Center; $60 and up; 226-0055, ext. 260.

Thursday: Empty Bowls luncheon benefits America's Second Harvest, 11:30 a.m.; Gaslight Park, 400 block of Franklin Street; $10; 254-1190, ext. 101.

Nov. 16: Night of the Iguana tasting, casino and auction benefits Make-A-Wish Foundation; 7 p.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $100 in advance; $125 at the door; 288-2600.

Nov. 16: Third annual Dessert First Dinner and Auction benefits Girl Scouts of Suncoast Council; 6:30 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 513 S Florida Ave.; $150; 262-1688


[Last modified November 8, 2007, 07:12:59]

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