01/11/18 Human Interest
Twenty Eighteen Countdown
Could Extra television tabloid host Mario Lopez, a.k.a. Slater on the NBC sitcom, Saved by the Bell, become Tampa's own "Dick Clark?" The star chatted with hundreds of fans and posed for plenty of photos at the Twenty Eighteen Countdown on New Year's Eve, counting the last 10 seconds of the year as an intense fireworks display erupted and a giant mirror ball flew up a flagpole....
01/06/18 Human Interest
Outback Bowl Gridiron Gala
Visiting Wolverine and Gamecock football fans, locals and Outback Bowl sponsors cheered for the real winner: Tampa Bay, scene of a full week of fun events, including the annual Gridiron Gala, this year rocking a Coachella music fest theme Dec. 30 at the Marriott Waterside. Two days before the University of South Carolina beat University of Michigan 26 to 19, nearly 1,800 guests tackled buffets and bars, cigars and gelato, ravioli made from scratch, and by special invitation, title sponsor Outback Steakhouse's sirloin and burgundy mushrooms....
12/29/17 Human Interest
January roared in with a bang that could only mean Gasparilla party time. February's Cattle Barons' Ball barnstormed for the American Cancer Society. March unpacked the vast Chiselers' Market at the University of Tampa. April and May packed in formal galas for hospitals and medical research. Summer was less hectic until Hurricane Irma scared us but spared us. September fundraisers were gratefully rescheduled among the fall annuals....
12/18/17 Human Interest
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Residents of Seminole Heights had many reasons to throw a festive holiday party after enduring two months of fear and anxiety while police officers searched for a serial killer targeting their central Tampa neighborhood.
Friday's (Dec. 15) neighborhood association get-together brought nearly 200 residents and friends to American Legion Post No. 111 to chat with Santa, decorate cookies and enjoy food and drinks catered by Conrad's Cafe....
12/14/17 Human Interest
Power of Giving
A very merry crowd turned out for the Ryan Nece Foundation's Power of Giving holiday party, drinking Jingle Juice cocktails and having a jolly time supporting the former NFL linebacker's student service programs. Bay area teens make two-year commitments to volunteer work, their mantra: "If not you, then who?" The students have traveled to Flint, New Orleans and throughout Tampa, gaining leadership skills and principles "to shape their life outlook," Nece said....
HARBOUR ISLAND — Downtowners, conventioneers, hockey fans, concert-goers and anyone hungry for waterfront dining are discovering American Social Bar & Kitchen on Harbour Island.
Panoramic views, accessible boat slips and walkability to Amalie Arena and the Tampa Convention Center are chief lures. Made-from-scratch soup, salads, skewers, sliders, sandwiches - plus 48 craft beers on draft and 18 specialty cocktails - make tasty bait....
A knowledgeable voice and familiar face beamed into Tampa Bay homes when Kathy Fountain delivered the 5 o'clock news and chatted with talk show guests on WTVT-Ch. 13. She created some news of her own as co-anchor of the first female team in the Tampa Bay area, "so radical at the time," she says.
But even as a rising star when hired at WTVT in May 1985, Fountain saw a bigger picture and planned accordingly....
12/07/17 Human Interest
Georgette's Holiday Fashion Show
Media personalities, a giant Christmas tree and Elvis danced down the runway; walking or strutting is absolutely not allowed at Georgette's annual Holiday Fashion Show. The boutique's 29th benefit for St. Joseph's Women's Hospital aimed this year to help buy a perinatal ultrasound machine. WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor Kelly Ring emceed the hour-long show Dec. 1 for co-chairwomen Brenda Sproat and Heidi Gonzmart and a sold-out, 700-plus audience at the Hilton Tampa Downtown....
12/02/17 Human Interest
The Fairbanks High class of 1984 graduated 67 students, including a tall, lonely boy who loved cheerleading. Since the entire population of Unionville Center, Ohio barely reached 200, it's not hard to imagine how tumbling and handsprings targeted him for bullying, said Trace Kingham, CEO (chief experience officer) of Kingham Signature Events, "but I loved performing and entertaining." He forged his mother's signature for audition permission and practiced like it was an Olympic tryout....
11/30/17 Human Interest
YMK Gasparilla debutante ball
Royal duties kept Gasparilla King J. Rex Farrior III and Queen Elly Straske busy welcoming 37 debutantes Thanksgiving Eve, but pirate emcees John Giordano and Capt. Christopher Lykes ran a tight ship and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's Debutante Ball actually ended early. Pirate fathers or sponsors wore white-tie and tails to walk the white runway with the white-gowned, white-gloved young women witnessed by 750 guests at the Hilton Tampa Downtown....
HYDE PARK — Visitors on the Old Hyde Park Home Tour will see five early-20th century bungalows, all built between 1912 and 1928, all within a few blocks of a high-tech, 21st-century mansion built to look 100 years old.
How many neighborhoods can offer that historical context?
Rounding out Sunday's (Dec. 3) line-up, is one of Tampa's oldest buildings, the Old Hyde Park Art Center, built as a two-room schoolhouse in 1899....
11/24/17 Human Interest
The Table in the Park
Downtown Tampa was the place to be Saturday night specifically Curtis Hixon Park, where the city rinked an ice tent for skaters; Tampa Theatre screened a holiday movie and MacDonald Training Center hosted its inaugural Table in the Park dinner party to support its technology training program for young people on the autism spectrum.
CEO Karenne Levy, development director Rita Hattab and event chairwoman Angela Ruth seated 160 supporters at end-to-end tables across the width of the park, serving a choice of three entrees from Tampa Bay food trucks' Dochos and Lizzie's Cucina Italiana. Minarets gleamed to the west; sky high condos lit up the easterly view and Tampa felt like the city it has always wanted to become....
11/17/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — Had she known she would be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at age 66, Hermanda de Roos O'Connor would have organized a gala or fashionable fundraiser every day of the week to fund a cure.
The social grande dame of Tampa graciously volunteered energy and style to many cultural, educational and health causes. Her hostess and cooking prowess were legendary, one friend proclaiming, "Hermanda can make water taste like champagne." She was generous with her talents, whether preparing a PTA reception or Thanksgiving dinner, a holiday feast she and husband, commercial real estate developer Myles W. O'Connor, celebrated with the same two families for 24 years....
11/16/17 Human Interest
Earth, Wind & Fire fired up the Starlight Gala with their combustible mix of rhythm, blues and jazz classics getting guests grooving on the faith-based mission of the Florida Hospital West Florida Division Foundation. Five hospitals will benefit from the $1 million raised as co-chairs Tia Young and Nancy Morrison and 800 guests danced between the tables in the Marriott Waterside ballroom Nov. 12. The vinyl record dinner plate chargers turned into gala souvenirs after a trio of salmon, chicken and filet mignon and mousse Creamsicles....
11/09/17 Human Interest
From a parking garage to a chic waterfront terrace, the Pavilion ball evolves as elegantly as its beneficiary, the Tampa Museum of Art. For the 32nd gala, "Made in Tampa Bay," co-chairs Mary Ann Ferenc and Chef Marty Blitz presented a menu as avant garde as Picasso, connecting the current exhibition, Made in Tampa: Selections from the Permanent Collection, to specialities made at their restaurant, Mise en Place. Botanica played off the homegrown theme with cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts arranged with anthuriums and orchids....