Hands down, Sarasota Memorial Heathcare Foundation's Corinthian Gala on Saturday night was THE best event of the year - at least so far. It is going to take a very special party to top this one! To me, this is exactly what an event is supposed to look like and feel like. Frankly, I thought it was perfection. Congrats to co-chairs Kim Githler and Susan Jones.
A huge crowd of almost 700 guests attended, which is really saying something since the Van Wezel Foundation Gala with Jerry Seinfeld was also happening right down the street. It was a very big night in Sarasota!
Turning the Ritz Carlton into a speakeasy was no easy feat, but you really felt like you were reaching a very special destination when you got to the end of the hallway and were met by a flapper gal on top of a marble table greeting you. As you passed through the draped entryway with the Art Deco embellishments, you entered the 1920s piano bar for Cocktails and Cole, as in Porter, with the Abe Guard Orchestra. Then it was on to the Peacock Room for the main event and it was glorious!
The table decorations were so pretty! Some tables had white feather centerpieces, some had tall white lamps, and some had several small vases of white flowers - very charming. The band was Mark and Kathy Zauss and the Z Street Band who really kept the dance floor hopping. It was full all night!
What really added to the specialness of the event was so many guests in costume. There were feathers, boas, and fedoras all over the place! There were many also in regular gowns and tuxedos, but the mix was very nice.
In the middle of the evening, Dr. Washington Hill did a fund-a-need appeal to match Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse and the Burruss Foundation Trust pledge of $75,000 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I couldn't hear if they made it or not, but it is my guess that they did. I know all the others at my table made a nice donation and I bet lots of others did too.
There was a very cute Dancing through the Decades exhibition with dance numbers from the 20s-the present.
The food from the Ritz can be hit or miss and luckily for this gala, it was a hit! This is the second event I have been to there where they had four courses - a very interesting trend. Starting with a crab cake, followed by a salad, and then a very tasty beef Wellington, and finishing up with a decadent chocolate peanut butter cake. Good job, Ritz!
As the Peacock Room portion of the evening was winding down, they had a little Keystone Kops raid - very cute. Then the Corinthian Club After Party opened up, but I went home at that point, as my feet were killing me. The After Party special room looked fab though. I bet folks were dancing to DJ Mike Sean into the wee hours!
What a nice and useful gift bag, too - two Tervis Tumblers with the event's signature peacock feather on them and a Cole Porter songbook CD with the SMHF logo on it. It all will keep the event and the cause in people's minds for a long time to come - which is exactly what a party favor should do!
Other swells attending and not photographed below were: Phil and Julie Delaney, Paul and Jenni Hudson, Art and Peggy Wood, Dick Donegan, Dr. David and Zara Shoemaker, Beth Knopik, Sharon Black Floyd and Bill Harrison, David and Myrna Band, Dr. Craig and Donna Barcomb, Kelly Romanoff, Kelley Lavin, Jennifer and Larry Saslaw, Dr. Michael Swor, Betsy and John Kane-Hartnett, Ellen Berman, Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy, Taylor Collins, Jay Berman, Rep. Vern and Sandy Buchanan, and just so, so many more.
|Co-chairs Kim Githler and Susan Jones|
|Margaret Wise and Teri Hansen|
|Sarasota Memorial Heathcare CEO Gwen MacKenzie|
|BJ Creighton, Renee Hamad, and SMH Foundation Pres./CEO Alex Quarles|
|Kate Wickham and Marjorie North|
|Denise Mei and Michelle Butler|
|Ruth Lando and Kaye Chase|
|Bob and Dottie Garner|
|Susan Brennan and Dr. Nancy Aft|
|Jim and Shirley Ritchey|
|Kathy and Ric Coffey|
|Julie Milton and Salena Wilhoit|
|Deborah Beacham, Bob Bartner, and Nikki Sedacca|
|Veronica Brady, Tom and Cindy Stuhley|
|Tommy and Tiffany Taylor|
|Charlie Ann Syprett, Kyla Weiner, and Pam Swain|
|Pauline Joerger, Dr. Allison Silver Schwartz, and Rochelle Nigri|
|John and Fran LaCivita|
|Stephanie Hefner and Stuart Roth|
|Deb Knowles and Emily Walsh|
|George Adley and Deborah Blue|
|Elena and Dr. Joe Balzano|
|Jacqueline and David Morton with Deborah and Walt Beacham|
|Chris and Ken Pfahler and Sally Schule|
|Ron Gelbman and Laura Nelson|
|Gloria Moss and Jim Helmich|
|George Augustin and Pam Daniel shaking a leg|
|Ariane Dart and Albert Joerger|
|Eileen Curd and Flora Major|
|A Flapper greets us|
|Entrance into the piano bar|
|The dancing exhibition|
|The dance floor stayed full|
|The after party room|
|A yummy dessert - partially eaten!|