It all started early on Saturday morning when my life saver and friend, Rebecca Donelson arrived with the decorations. At the last minute, the person originally scheduled to do the decor was unable to do so, so like the trouper she is, Rebecca jumped in, shopped like a maniac last week, and saved the day, along with others like Karen Solem, Lisa Rubinstein, my daughter, and other angels who also helped. It all looked so fun and festive!
Of course, the Michael's On East crew were their usual fantastic selves. I know I say this all the time, but they make the chair's job SO less stressful. I know I never have to worry with Michael's on board. The food is certainly one of the stars of the show and Saturday's spread did not disappoint! Huge lobsters galore, along with all the other lobster boil trimmings. I mean, after all, when the event is called the Artful Lobster, you know the food HAS to be good. Yummy, yum, yum!
Elizabeth Rose set up the live auction display so beautifully, as she does every year. I don't know what I would ever do without her. She makes each item look so enticing.
Speaking of the live auction....My main auctioneer man, Scott Anderson, drove the bidding up, up, up. We had terrific things like trips to Santa Fe, NYC, London, to a Bucs game, and fishing with Warren Coville, along with other things like a special stay at the historic Hermitage and dinner on the beach prepared by our favorite chef, Jeremy Hammond Chambers.
The paddle raise by Scott and HAR Executive Director, Bruce Rodgers, could not have gone better. Both the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation each gave $5,000 matching grants towards the restoration of our historic cisterns. The cost of restoring them is $30,000 and with the grants, we exceeded our goal. Then in the middle of all of that, Blaise Castellano said he would match $7,000 to install new a/c in one of the historic buildings. Whew! What a great day!
The real star of the show though, was the performance by recent MacArthur Genius Award winner, flutist, Claire Chase. The crowd was mesmerized by her talent and skill. She was a bit avant garde, in look and sound, and that's what we all loved about her. I felt like I was at a real art happening. You would have loved it! And she was just as nice and warm as she was talented. The guests were all thrilled to receive her CD as a party favor. Each year we have performance by one of our world-renown HAR fellows and it really sets our event apart from all the others.
HAR board president, Larry Bold, so kindly presented me with framed sheet music of Horizon Lines - Manasota Suite by Pulitzer Prize nominee and HAR Fellow, Laura Kaminsky, which she wrote when she was in residence at the Hermitage - what a treasure!
Another plus for attending the AL, you also get to mix and mingle with all the other artists who are currently in residence at the Hermitage. This year they included, Jeff Parker, Phil Kline, Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, and Sean Lennon Salyards.
The gorgeous weather, the beautiful Hermitage campus on the gulf on Manasota Key, the fabulous artists, the terrific live auction and generous paddle raise, the great food, and last, but not least, all the wonderful Hermitage supporters who turned out - it was all just the best. See, I told you it was a perfect day!
Others seen in the crowd and not photographed below were Steve and Dale Adler, Dan Denton, Matt and Deb DePalma, Gene and Rita Bicknell, Susan McLeod, Deborah and Walt Beacham, Sally Faron, Mark Schneider, Chris McGee and Lisa Adams, Janet and Bruce Udell, Georgia Court, Marshall Rousseau, David and Laurie Dignam, Flora Major, Allyn and Sheila Gallup, Carolyn Michel and Howard Millman, Ina Schnell, Michele Redwine, Dr. John and Rita Steele, and on and on.
Me and my daughter, Kristin Benedict Calandra
Bev Koski and Bruce Rodgers
Larry Bold, Anita Koller, Carol White Bold, and Guido Koller
Dolly Jacobs Reis and Pedro Reis
Kathy Castellano, Nelda Thompson, and Annette Dignam
Tom and Sherri Koski and Scott Anderson
Ilene Denton and Mary Denton
Me and Claire Chase
Tom Dignam and Leslie Edwards
Andy Maass, getting into the spirit with David Denton
Diana Lager and Gerri Aaron
Jo Rutstein and Hillary Steele
Nelda Thompson, a friend, and Dolly Vinton
Elizabeth Rose and Kristin Calandra
Katie Couchot and Susie Samp
Prentice and Ann Pilot and Kate and Donald Harris
Sarah and George Pappas
Gayle Guynup, Christine Jennings, Renee Hamad
Caroline Andrus, Sally Lucke Elkes, and friend
Ron and Pat Pantello
Anne Weintraub and Kelly Gettel
BJ Creighton and Aimee Cogan
Paula Clemow and Barbara Frye
A close-up of the centerpiece
The centerpiece and I see I cut off the very top where there was a cute table number - ugh!
John and Janet Hunter with Drew Morris
The Michael Ross Duo
Henry Alberico, making things run smoothly, as always!
The pretty bar with a pretty server!
One of my favorite parts, Michael's yummy cookies
Serving the lobster!
All the other good stuff like BBQ chicken and ribs