From surprise birthday parties to celebrity encounters, these are the most notable social happenings of last week.
90 years young
Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber didn’t know what to expect on Feb. 8 when he walked through the doors of Michael’s Wine Cellar, but the look of shock on his face said it all when, after giving his son Michael Klauber a hug, he turned around to find 70 of his loved ones ready to celebrate his 90th birthday with him.
Klauber’s closest family and friends gathered to surprise him with the party, which had two themes that are close to his heart: South Africa and the Monkey Bar from his former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort.
The cellar was decked out to look like the old bar, featuring monkey wallpaper and candleholders. Guests also worked together to raise $25,000 before the party to send Klauber to Londolozi Game Preserve in the country that his son has made him a fan of after several wine-related trips for business.
All the appetizers and wines served were from or inspired by South African food and wine in honor of Klauber’s grand birthday surprise. After enjoying the appetizer and “monkey” bars, guests watched slideshows of photos from Klauber’s life and heard stories from family members.
There were many treats in store for guests at the Orchid Ball: une soirée en fleurs Feb 11, but perhaps the crowd favorite was that guests got to “paint” their own dessert. Attendees were given a “dessert artist’s canvas” featuring a Champagne cake with a gold fondant frame with seven edible colors and two paintbrushes. Some dessert artists choose to decorate the cakes with edible paint in the moment or take them home and decorate them later.
Celebrities — they’re just like us … Ann Curry charmed audience members during her talk at the Tidewell Hospice Signature Luncheon Feb. 10 by letting them know that she wore a black dress with the word “love” on it to honor the “sea of kindness” (AKA hospice supporters) before her. In the VIP luncheon, one attendee asked her where she got the dress and Curry couldn’t remember, so she reached for the tag, turned around and invited the questioner to see for herself
… Like father, like son … There were many surprises at Murf Klauber’s birthday party on Wednesday, Feb. 8, but perhaps the second best was that three Klauber men showed up unknowingly in [almost] matching attire. Murf Klauber arrived in a vibrant red blazer that would be the perfect shade in between his son Michael Klauber’s magenta blazer and Michael’s son Max Klauber’s hot pink blazer … Generous garden-lovers … As if the more than 600 guests at Orchid Ball weren’t giving enough, a few philanthropists upped the ante during the annual paddle raise. The Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation teamed up with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to “sweeten the pot,” as Roger Capote put it, with a $25,000 increase if the paddle raise reached $100,000. That inspired the Rita B Lamere Foundation to add an additional $10,000, all benefiting Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ children education programs.