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New bed and breakfast is site for brunch fundraiser
By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 25, 2000
The summer slow-down is no big news flash to habitues of the party circuit and, of late, I've been twiddling my thumbs wondering what to do on Saturday nights now that all of you gala-goers are on sabbatical until the fall. So I was delighted when Ed Caldwell called to invite me to a weekday brunch at Dickens House, his newly renovated bed and breakfast in the North Shore neighborhood of St. Petersburg.
The place was swarming with Realtors wearing enough beepers and cell phones to stock an electronics store, because the party was a fundraiser for the Arvida Realty Foundation.
The company founded the state-wide foundation in 1995. Employee contributions are matched by the company and, to date, it has distributed about $844,000 to not-for-profit groups.
Pinellas County recipients include Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, Brookwood, a Young Women's Residence, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boys and Girls Clubs, Pinellas County Education Foundation, Dunedin Fine Arts Center, American Cancer Society and the Suncoast Children's Dream Fund, which explained the presence of its executive director, Cynthia Lake, at Dickens House.
"That would make me want to cook," she said, as we admired the huge old turquoise gas range that dominates the kitchen.
The only cooking being done at the party was on the front porch, where a nice, young Englishman named Steve Hicks stood behind a battery of electric skillets preparing omelets.
Nearby, catching a breeze, were Tami Simms Powell and her mother Sharon Simms, Mary Evelyn Boyer, Ginny Lomagno, Nelah Parker and Bonnie Davis.
Inside, greeting the crowd with Caldwell were his sister Jane Phair and Myra Mueller, the regional president of Arvida.
Caldwell is understandably house-proud, having brought the 1912 Arts and Crafts-style residence back from decrepitude with years of hard labor and considerable sums of money. Not only has he transformed the place into a charming business, he has stocked it with treasures, including an old guest book crafted by the late Earl Gresh, a local woodworker.
CALENDAR CALL: The fifth annual On the Town Social Calendar will be published in late August, so please send in party and fund-raising information soon. Dates are being snapped up like jumbo shrimp at a buffet. Please send your event, including date time, place, ticket price and the name and phone number of a contact person to Lennie Bennett, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail the information to email@example.com.
Just in are these dates: PARC Black Tie on Oct. 21, Fish Head Ball on Nov. 4, Stuart Society gala on Jan. 13 and CASA Sportstacular gala on March 10.
LOOKING AHEAD July 16
Celebrity Waiters Dinner: Tampa Bay Devil Rays players and their wives host a dinner at Tropicana Field to benefit the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association -- also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Some team members will help serve the meal. Silent and live auction items include golf and fishing outings with players, trips to Major League games and, of course, lots of autographed sports items. 7 p.m. $100. (813) 879-7999
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