Monday, November 7, 2011

Historic Spanish Point's Mai Tai - No Tie

I have always loved Spanish Point right from the start.  I remember probably 25 years ago taking my children there on a Sunday afternoon and listening to the costumed actors playing past residents of Spanish Point, like the Webb family and Mrs. Potter Palmer.  I even remember what I was wearing that day (black cotton knit boat neck dress with a black and white cotton fabric wrap belt and I had my hair in a ponytail.  I pretty much remember what I was wearing for every memory I have.), as I was sitting watching Mrs. Palmer and her niece, Julia, on the pergola.  I remember being enchanted by the whole atmosphere.  To me, especially at that time, it seemed like everything was so new and Sarasota had so little history.  I was delighted to find a place where history was celebrated.  Eventually I served on the board there.  It is a magical place.  I hope you go there and visit, if you haven't yet.

Saturday night was their first Mai Tai ~ No Tie fundraiser.  It was a casual event held on the White Cottage Lawn.  It's a very pretty setting over looking Sarasota Bay, just south of The Oaks.  It was a bit overcast and I was afraid it would rain, and it was also a bit breezy and I thought I may be cold, but it ended up being just perfect.

We parked at the charming gazebo where we checked in.  Actually a pedicab driver picked me up near my car and drove me to the gazebo.  He also serenaded me!  How divine!  After checking in, a tram drove us along the trail to the White Cottage.  I like nothing better than to ride on things - golf carts, trams, carriages, horses, whatever.  I have always especially liked to ride around Spanish Point.  Walking up the incline drive at the White Cottage, you come to the top and see the gorgeous view over the bay.  It is such a peaceful, graceful place, even filled with people like it was that evening.

Cocktails and conversation as the sun was setting was quite charming.  Then they had some Polynesian entertainment and got various guests up to do some hula dancing or whatever it's called.  Music was playing that sounded like either Elvis in his Hawaiian days or Don Ho.  I couldn't tell which.  All in all, I think they did the whole Mai Tai theme extremely well.

There is very little permanent outdoor lighting on the Spanish Point grounds.  They brought in some lights which were very soft and lovely, but not really enough to do a good job for the auction.  The layout of the grounds at that spot made it a bit difficult to see the auctioneer, Cliff Roles, when he was near the pergola if you were not right there.  At least half of the people were on the lawn and were paying no attention because they could not see him.  After a few low bids, Cliff was moved to stand on a bench between the garden and the lawn, which was a bit better.  I think if they have this event again, they need to address that issue, as I think it really impeded the dollar amount raised from the auction.

I can't really tell you how the food was, as I left at 8:30 just as they were starting to serve dinner and the event had started at 5:30.  I think three hours is a little too long for a cocktail hour.  They might want to open the buffet by at least 7:30 next time.  For better results, it might help to start the mainstage entertainment and the auction while it is still a little lighter out, too.  Even though it is quite romantic, that space is a little bit of a challenge to do things in, other than eating, after it gets dark.

In addition to those in the photos below, among those attending were Albert and Pauline Joerger, Art and Peggy Wood, Suzanne Janney, Susan and Charles Hines, Sen. Bob Johnson, Susan and Cliff Scholz, Doug and Shannon Holder, and Laura and Gaylon Peters.  Another thing, there were lots of younger people there, which is always a good thing!

By the way, my regular readers will notice that my photos are much improved, as I just bought a new camera on Friday and I can finally give my nine-year-old granddaughter her camera back.  As you can see, I even learned how to download them to my computer!  Yay!

Co-chairs Tom and Cindy Stuhley

At check-in Mary-Lou Moulton, Martha Rogers, Judy Rush

Jacki Boedecker and Julie Delaney

Ann Moore, Ken Babcock, Margarete van Antwerpen

Kathy and Ric Coffey and Bill and Christine Johnson

Sue Hoffman, Sharon Rolle, Joan Campo-Liga, Ollie Johnson

Donna-Lee Roden and Laura Dean

Sean and Carol Maher

Susan Featherman, Shirley Ritchey, and Betsy Marshall

Tom and Carol Williams

Polynesian entertainment

John Mercurio and Executive Director Linda Mansperger

Dr. Heidi Anderson, Dr. Paul Brannan, and co-chair Paul Hudson

Table with simple, but elegant centerpiece

Waine and Sharon Hicks

Steve Wilberding, Carlyle Veale, Teri Hansen, and Judy Veale

The brightly colored buffet table at the ready.

Scott George, Mary Evelyn Guyton, and John Mason

Sara Bagley, Donna Baker, Mary Beth Goddard

Bags of chance filled with sand and CZs and one glorious diamond.

Carol Williams and Martha Rogers

Eric and Michelle Swatek

Bob and Kathryn Carr

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