Parties of the year: saluting the season's standout fund raisers and special events.in Sarasota, we love to party. Local philanthropists and community activists know we'll go to great lengths for a good time, and they've created fund-raising extravaganzas that outshine out·shine
v. out·shone , out·shin·ing, out·shines
a. To shine brighter than.
b. To be more beautiful, splendid, or flamboyant than.
2. most private parties. Nearly every Sarasota benefit is a standout, but some are so spectacular that they deserve special praise. So this summer we assembled a panel of party-hardy insiders to recognize the most remarkable. Every panel member compiled a long list of nominations; then we merged those lists and met together to choose the final winners.
It was a lively process, evoking warm memories--and occasional heated debate. Scores of parties came back to life, as we discussed everything from the design of the invitation to the flavor of the martinis to the exquisite favors on the dinner tables. Less glamorous but equally noted were the hundreds of hours of work that lay behind the best-orchestrated events, and most important of all, a party's success in building support--both emotional and financial--for its cause.
Before we applaud our winners, a few notes for newcomers to our peripatetic party scene. Let's start with dress. Though Sarasota is known for casual resort living, "have tux will travel" is the mantra for most gentlemen--the same ones who swore when they moved to Sarasota they'd jettison jettison (jĕt`əsən, –zən) [O.Fr.,=throwing], in maritime law, casting all or part of a ship's cargo overboard to lighten the vessel or to meet some danger, such as fire. their neckties and socks. But black-tie dressing can be a bit unorthodox here. The Colony's guiding light Muff Klauber and former Nautica exec (now Sarasota realtor) Michael Clung won't wear socks. Attorney Tom Luzier and businessman Billy Gamble forswear In Criminal Law, to make oath to that which the deponent knows to be untrue. This term is wider in its scope than perjury, for the latter, as a technical term, includes the idea of the oath being taken before a competent court or officer and relating to a material issue, which ties. And last year some of our gala gals (Margaret Wise, Jean Weidner, Mary Ann Robinson and Pasqualina Peterson among them) were so frustrated with managing bulging closets of ball gowns and sequined se·quin
1. A small shiny ornamental disk, often sewn on cloth; a spangle.
2. A gold coin of the Venetian Republic. Also called zecchino.
tr.v. separates that they opened a consignment shop. Now Designing Women on Fruitville Road recycles designer clothes and accessories for the benefit of charities that support the visual and performing arts. You should see the St. John knits!
Not all the fun involves wearing a black tie. Masks of feathers and crystals are often appropriate, especially at events for Sarasota Opera or the Ringling Museum. King Tut turned up at the Ringling School's costumed Avant-Garde gala this year, and a pet dog on a jazzy jazz·y
adj. jazz·i·er, jazz·i·est
1. Resembling jazz in form or nature; rhythmical.
2. Slang Showy; flashy: a jazzy car. leash is the correct accessory at a Humane Society event. Basic black always works, too, especially when it's black leather miniskirts and motorcycle jackets at Planned Parenthood's Safe Sax event. And, yes, Hawaiian lets stay perpetually fresh, this season at the Alzheimer's Association and at Selby Garden's Reggae on the Bay.
Because this is a town populated by high achievers and creative spirits, every year the event bar rises. And every chairman understands what young Gypsy Rose Lee Noun 1. Gypsy Rose Lee - United States striptease artist who became famous on Broadway in the 1930s (1914-1970)
Rose Louise Hovick, Lee learned from the veteran strippers: You've gotta have a gimmick. Chairs grab attention--and guests--with new ideas and themes, like Wendy Resnick's Pajama Party for United Cerebral Palsy United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), sometimes known as United Cerebral Palsy Associations, is a network of affiliated groups in the United States which works to "advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities" (from UCP's mission statement), at the end of this season. Even people who swore they were ready for a quiet summer turned out to see the beds in the ballroom at Michael's On East and the who's who of the town--in PJs and less--lounging on them.
And now--the standouts of the 2002-2003 social season!
BEST CASUAL EVENING EVENT
Safe Sax at Sunset for Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood
A service mark used for an organization that provides family planning services. of Southwest & Central Florida
Finalists: Old-Fashioned New England Clambake for New College Foundation. Smothers of Invention for the Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone (G. WIZ).
Edgy, brash and eager to flaunt flaunt
v. flaunt·ed, flaunt·ing, flaunts
1. To exhibit ostentatiously or shamelessly: flaunts his knowledge. See Synonyms at show.
2. its booty, Safe Sax is always a youth magnet. This season 600 partiers danced under the stars ar the Phillippi Mansion, sipping trendy martinis, checking out competing fashions and widening their circle of friends. As always, the party flavors included condoms, which also appeared on one guest as silvery dangle dangle Nursing A popular term for the first movement a Pt is allowed, either after surgery under general anesthesia, or 'under local', where the recuperee allows his/her feet to dangle over the side of the bed earrings.
A bit more sedate se·date
To administer a sedative to; calm or relieve by means of a sedative drug. , the Clambake is a bib-wearing waterside evening seafood picnic dreamed up 24 years ago by former pol Jim Lombard and New College Foundation events director Mary Lou Wingerter. The invitation featuring a red lobster hasn't changed in more than a decade, making that weary crustacean crustacean (krŭstā`shən), primarily aquatic arthropod of the subphylum Crustacea. Most of the 44,000 crustacean species are marine, but there are many freshwater forms. a treasured tradition, too. And applause for our children's science museum for bringing Dick Smothers and his far-out '60s' time machine into the spotlight for a night that sent many of us rummaging through storage trunks for bell bottoms, go-go boots and love beads. The Woodstock generation ruled again, if only for a few hours, and the event did groovy groov·y
adj. groov·i·er, groov·i·est Slang
Very pleasing; wonderful.
groovi·ness n. things for the museum on the bay.
BEST FORMAL GALA
Un Ballo in Maschera Un ballo in maschera, or A Masked Ball, is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with text by Antonio Somma. The opera's first production was at the Teatro Apollo, Rome, February 17, 1859. for the Sarasota Opera
Finalists: Grand Ball, An Evening of Classical Elegance, for the Florida West Coast Symphony and the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. Mistletoe mistletoe, common name for the Loranthaceae, a family of chiefly tropical hemiparasitic herbs and shrubs with leathery evergreen leaves and waxy white berries. They have green leaves, but they manufacture only part of the nutrients they require. Ball for the New College Library Association.
Venetian carnival masks, gorgeous women in couture gowns and dashing, formally attired men set the haute European tone for one of Sarasota's most lavish galas when Elisabeth Gonye and Sandra Lindqvist organized a magnificent masked ball with an Italian theme for the Sarasota Opera. Bravissimo bra·vis·si·mo
Used to express great approval, especially of a performance.
[Italian, superlative of bravo, fine; see bravo1.] !
A standing ovation also goes to the opulent Grand Ball, which gives us the chance to waltz around a magical ballroom to the sounds of Strauss. And for traditional holiday elegance, nothing surpasses the Mistletoe Ball, where many ladies come in holly-berry-red gowns of shimmering shim·mer
intr.v. shim·mered, shim·mer·ing, shim·mers
1. To shine with a subdued flickering light. See Synonyms at flash.
2. silk and satin and gentlemen often sport a sprig of mistletoe.
Corinthian Gala for Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation
Finalists: The Avant-Garde Portals to Everywhere for the Ringling School of Art and Design. The Art of Circus for Circus Sarasota.
Taking off on a vintage Florida theme, the Corinthian Gala invitation featured a collection of hand-colored postcards from the '50s that was both whimsical and wonderfully evocative. We'd wager that just about everyone who received this invitation still has it.
And you can't beat those Ringling. students. Every year the Avant-Garde invitation is highly creative, but this year was exceptional. Designed like a travel diary/sketch book, the invitation made you want to pack a bag and hit the road. The designers were Ringling seniors Doug Bell and Justin Harder. And the muscled circus performers poised misdair on a black background of The Art of Circus invitation perfectly captured the drama and energy of Sarasota's legendary art form.
BEST LUNCHEON EVENT
The Right Words with Marlo Thomas for the Women's Resource Center
Finalists: Sarasota/Manatee Moffitt Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon & Seminar for cancer care and research. Lighthouse for the Blind Fashion Show & Luncheon for Sarasota-Manatee Lighthouse programs that support the visually impaired.
As we all know, lunch is the least of it. To be great, a daytime event needs some star power, pretty people, a major mover or two associated with the benefiting charity, generous corporate underwriters and a strong committee capable of filling those tables. This trio of winners proved they could do it all. The Women's Resource Center scored a coup with Marlo Thomas, attracting a top-drawer crowd. The Moffitt luncheon is now five years old, and Eileen Curd curd
the proteinaceous part of milk precipitated by rennin. Usually contains some fat when whole milk is used. and Veronica Brady pulled all the right elements together again as upwards of 400 local women pin on pink ribbons. At the Lighthouse fashion show, Sarasota fashion designer Joan McGee filled the catwalk with beautiful, floaty Float´y
a. 1. Swimming on the surface; buoyant; light.
Adj. 1. floaty - tending to float on a liquid or rise in air or gas; "buoyant balloons"; "buoyant balsawood boats"; "a floaty scarf"
buoyant silks worn by models both professional and volunteer. Every time it was Sandy Snyder's turn, the comments from the audience were always the same: "How can that gorgeous creature possibly be a grandmother?"
BEST EVENT LOCATION
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the state art museum of Florida, located in Sarasota, Florida. It was established in 1927 as the legacy of Mable and John Ringling for the people of Florida. Florida State University assumed governance of the Museum in 2000.
Finalists: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (7 acres; 2.8 hectares) are extensive botanical gardens dedicated to research and collections of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems. . Under The Big Top at Circus Sarasota.
Art, nature and entertainment! These three locations tell the story of Sarasota and provide some of the most wondrous real estate a party planner ever had to work with.
Den of the Dragon, honoring the Koger Collection of Chinese Ceramics at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Finalists: Corinthian Ball for Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation. Big Band Valentine Bash for New College Foundation.
It's both in the big picture and in the details that a successful theme makes an indelible impression. The Den of the Dragon event masterfully referenced an important Asian collection through color, design, floral decoration, menu and table girls. The Corinthian Ball maximized nostalgia for an inviting Old Florida look and feel. At the Big Band Valentine Bash, everyone reveled in rose petals, hearts and plenty of romantic music for slow dancing. Guests honestly felt transported from everyday existence to a magical world at each of these events, and that's what it's all about.
UnGala Gala for the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Finalists: Oxygen Ball for American Lung Association The American Lung Association (ALA) is a non-profit organization that "fights lung disease in all its forms, with special emphasis on asthma, tobacco control and environmental health". . Pique-nique sur la Baie for New College Library Association.
Personal trainers and spa professionals are the heroes of the UnGala, because clients star at this romping, stomping young stuff dance under the stars. Backless gowns, buried and gleaming bods, big hair, bulging muscles, plunging necklines (wow, Hilary Carver!)--this night is hormonal heaven, with everyone exquisitely framed in moonlight in the museum courtyard.
The Oxygen Ball at the Ritz-Carlton held its own for pulchritude pul·chri·tude
Great physical beauty and appeal.
[Middle English pulcritude, from Latin pulchrit . Many of the pretty women and handsome hunks hunks
pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
A disagreeable and often miserly person.
[Origin unknown.] dancing to Powerhaus were from the Manatee medical community, with a big contingent from Lakewood Ranch, where a new chic set is gaining strength. At Pique-nique it's traditional to wear one's garden-party best and invest in an ostentatious os·ten·ta·tious
Characterized by or given to ostentation; pretentious. See Synonyms at showy.
os hat. We admired the red feather extravaganza that raven-haired Nikki feldbaum carried off so expertly. And Graci McGillicuddy's wide-brimmed chalky straw hat was understated perfection against her crisp white suit and striking platinum hair.
Going For The Gold for the YMCA YMCA
in full Young Men's Christian Association
Nonsectarian, nonpolitical Christian lay movement that aims to develop high standards of Christian character among its members.
Finalists: Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, What's on Your Plate? far cancer care and research. Evening of Excellence for the Education Foundation.
This town adores the chance to snag something you never knew you wanted at a bargain. The YMCA silent auction fills a huge room with a collection of anything you could need or desire, and the trips and jewelry in the live auction are extraordinary. This gala, one of the top in town, raised $325,000 this year.
But who can resist those tremulous tremulous /trem·u·lous/ (-u-lus) pertaining to or characterized by tremors.
Characterized by tremor. high-school students as they wait for their art to go on the block at the Evening of Excellence? It's not only touching, but as the connoisseurs who return to this Education Foundation function every year know, it's also a way to snag some impressive work. And auctioneer Jimmy Dean faced a noisy room without amplification--and even scarier, without a single bidder who had previously indicated an interest--as he asked for bids on the Mercedes at What's on Your Plate? (a Saks event that benefited breast cancer research). He was more astonished a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. than anyone when unknown newcomer Marilyn Bezner (brought by savvy banker and not-for profit supporter Veronica Brady) piped up with a generous winning bid. The next day, everyone in town was asking her name and hastily adding her to the invitation A-list.
BEST PARTY FAVOR
Jay Strongwater jeweled picture frame at Un Ballo in Maschera for the Sarasota Opera
Finalists: Silk envelope purse, self-stick tassels and red Chinese take-our box at the Den of the Dragon party for the Ringling Museum of Art. Condoms at Safe Sax at Sunset for Planned Parenthood.
No matter how rich you are or how much you don't need another trinket, everybody likes to go home with a souvenir of a glorious time. As you can see, party favors in this community range from sublime to imaginative to downright drugstore practical.
MOST OUTRAGEOUS FUN
Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil Black & White Costume Ball for the Community AIDS Network
Finalists: Off-White Party for United Cerebral Palsy, Haunted Halloween for the Sarasota Film Festival.
Seeing some of the city's most prominent folks decked our as Savannah Savannah, city, United States
Savannah, city (1990 pop. 137,560), seat of Chatham co., SE Ga., a port of entry on the Savannah River near its mouth; inc. 1789. ladies of the night (Lee Peterson), fallen nuns (Gloria "Legs" Moss), vampires and just vamps, we realized that some events need to be a little bit bad to be good.
Parties all about racy humor can be chancy chanc·y
adj. chanc·i·er, chanc·i·est
1. Uncertain as to outcome; risky; hazardous.
2. Random; haphazard.
3. Scots Lucky; propitious. , but Sarasota seems to be getting the hang of it. At the Off-White Party, a phallic phallic /phal·lic/ (-ik) pertaining to or resembling a phallus.
1. Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus.
2. ice sculpture caused everyone to pause and gawk. White smoke snaked around the dance floor while martinis flowed and guests grabbed free condoms from a glass jar. At Haunted Hollywood to celebrate the Sarasota Film Fest and Halloween, everyone did the Monster Mash and even the catering staff at Michael's donned goblin outfits to pass trays of canapes. Phil Mancini's food, worm spaghetti, looked a bit frightening, but tasted great. But then, he's our magical Merlin of cuisine.
POWER & PRESTIGE
Mark Famiglio's Unwrap Late at Night Party for the Sarasota Film Festival
Finalists: Den of the Dragon for the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Brunch on the Bay for the University of South Florida
• • [ at Sarasota.
How big is a Sarasota party when Aerosmith's Steven Tyler sings to you and then tells you he likes your jacket? The star-seekers who always crowd Mark Famiglio's after patties got more than their money's worth this year. Den of the Dragon hosted the serious state politicians, important academics, and mega donors to the arts Brunch on the Bay signals the annual turnout of business power brokers who meet, greet, talk a little shop and secretly grouse about where their logo tables are located in the tent.
BEST NEW EVENT
Smothers of Invention for the Golfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone (G. WIZ)
Finalists: Speaking of Women's Health Women's Health Definition
Women's health is the effect of gender on disease and health that encompasses a broad range of biological and psychosocial issues. for WEDU, Public Broadcasting. Off-White Party for United Cerebral Palsy.
The science museum wins for excelling in the science (and art) of staging a successful and highly entertaining fund raiser. Everything about the night with Dick Smothers was infused with lighthearted, relaxed enjoyment. Speaking of Women's Health proved that 450 local women would pay $40 to rise early on a Saturday morning, put on make-up, and arrive at the Ritz Carlton at 8 a.m. for a day of seminars, lectures, screenings and interaction with health professionals.
Just when party-goers think they might have to stifle a yawn when opening invitations, that Wendy Resnick sends a little jolt through the community. She's always thinking ahead and she's never afraid to be on the edge with something sexy and a little off center. That sums up her anything-but-bland Off-White Party.
BEST FOOD EVENT
Florida Winefast & Auction for charities that benefit children and families
Finalists: Taste of the Nation for All Faiths Food Bank through Share Our Strength. Chocolate Sundae for the UCP (Universal Communication Platform AG, Lugano, Switzerland) A software company that specialized in mobile phone services, founded in 1999 by Christian Lutz and Marwan Saba. Its offerings included SMS voting and mobile marketing tools, photo messaging platforms and custom applications for .
The Winefest offers food events from paper-plate casual to crystal-wineglass formal, all of them entertaining and all of them involving the felicitous fe·lic·i·tous
1. Admirably suited; apt: a felicitous comparison.
2. Exhibiting an agreeably appropriate manner or style: a felicitous writer.
3. pairings of wine and food. And the amount it has raised fur charity--$4.2 million to date--is staggering.
Taste of the Nation lets guests mingle at Phillippi Mansion and nibble the best of regional specialties from 20 to 30 restaurants. All the food and wine is donated by big-hearted folks in the food and spirits industries. Chocolate Sundae is a three-day celebration of chocolate that includes a multi-course dinner featuring chocolate in each course, demonstrations by celebrity chefs and a full day of signature desserts from fine restaurants from Tampa to Fort Myers.
Sarasota Film Festival for education outreach programs about the art of filmmaking
Finalists: Sarasota Winefest & Auction for charities that benefit children and families. Sarasota Reading Festival for the Selby Public Library and the Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College/USF at Sarasota.
A flourishing festival requires huge and hard-working committees, dedicated sponsors and a strong central command that operates all year round. These festivals have all that plus staying power to have grown into community traditions. The Sarasota Film Festival keeps building cachet cachet /ca·chet/ (ka-sha´) a disk-shaped wafer or capsule enclosing a dose of medicine.
An edible wafer capsule used for enclosing an unpleasant-tasting drug. , with big crowds and gracious honoree Richard Dreyfuss this year. The Winefest keeps expanding its reach, adding lots of young fans with its new Uncorked event at the Van Wezel this year. And Caren Lobo, who in five years has built the Reading Festival into a powerhouse, made her last year as head honcho Honcho
A slang term describing the leader or person in charge of an organization.
The CEO of a company could be referred to as the honcho or "head honcho."
See also: CEO, CFO, COO, Insider, Leprechaun Leader extra special with a host of great guests and special events.
Rebecca Baxter, photographer and designated paparazzi pa·pa·raz·zo
n. pl. pa·pa·raz·zi
A freelance photographer who doggedly pursues celebrities to take candid pictures for sale to magazines and newspapers. for SARASOTA's "Limelight"
Janet Hunter, free-lance special events coordinator
Marsha Fottler, style editor, SARASOTA
Sally Schule, Assistant general manager, Saks Fifth Avenue Saks Fifth Avenue is a chain of upscale American department stores that is owned and operated by Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises (SFAE), a subsidiary of Saks Incorporated. It competes in the elite luxury department store market with Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New Sarasota
Jocelyn Stevens, promotions director, SARASOTA
Margarete Van Antwerpen, community volunteer and committee member