|Here?s lookin? at you, UnGala|
By Stephanie Finnan
Assistant Black Tie Editor
And we?re off ? the Sarasota social season is now in session! While BT was away for the weekend, I got to experience my first UnGala Gala and it was an UnDeniably good time. From my first steps into the gates of The John and Mable Ringling Museum, I felt transformed to the exotic city of Morocco. My first impression was a vision of the film, ?Casablanca,? and when I stepped down into the courtyard, I was pleasantly surprised to see the classic movie (one of my favorites!) showing in all its glory on a big screen. Only one thing could have made it more perfect: If Humphrey Bogart himself brought me a martini from the impressive Ketel One ice bar and whisked me away to the Mediterranean seating area. Here are a few entries from the diary of a first time UnGala girl ?
5:55 p.m. I arrive through the gates to UnGala ? equipped with camera for great party pics, notepad for gathering gossip and my oh-so-cute dress ? I went for the short one in preparation of a steamy-hot night ? but every girl?s worst party fear comes true the minute I arrived: Melissa Macaskill is wearing the same BCBG dress!
6:20 p.m. A nice older gentleman directs my date and me to table 104, which we later find out is not our table.
7:00 p.m. The rain starts ? and, unfortunately, never ends. Thank goodness, all the important areas are tented!
7:15 p.m. I have my palm read by Raja. She tells me my love is very strong, I haven?t tapped all of my creativity yet, and I am going to travel a lot in life. All good news.
7:45 p.m. We return to our table, which we earlier noticed has a Wachovia Bank sign front and center. After we were asked if we ?work at the bank? for the second time, we just know we are at the wrong table (turned out we were at 104 BB).
7:48 p.m. We are directed to the correct table, which turns out to be the best seat in the house!
7:55 p.m. Kristy Sosso and Emily Stroud show me their ?good sides,? which they just discovered.
8:15 p.m. Strike up a conversation with the adorable woman seated next to me, Amy Morrison, and found out she is a host on the Home Shopping Network. Morrison has to get up at 6 a.m. the next morning to interview Chef Gordon Ramsay, from ?Hell?s Kitchen? on HSN.
8:45 p.m. My growling stomach is grateful when Mattison?s opens the buffet line of beef tenderloin, Mediterranean tajine, Moroccan salad, couscous Marrakesh and Taktaouka vegetables.
9:00 p.m. The crowd is wowed by the ladies (and their moves!) of Orlando Bellydance.
9:15 p.m. The Pidorenko?s candle business, Scentsational, made 1,450 candles for the occasion with a special UnGala scent.
9:45 p.m. Chris Pfahler shows off the beautiful necklace that she just received as a birthday present (for her birthday the next day) from her husband, Ken.
10:11 p.m. I finally jump in an opening at the dessert line and Chef Paul Mattison fires up a Moroccan crepe. Onlooker Jennifer Ahearn-Koch, Mattison?s marketing director, comments ?Wow, dessert made by the chef himself. You should sell that on Ebay!?
11:00 p.m. Andrew Vac boogies to Prince?s ?Party Like It?s 1999.?
11:25 p.m. I snap a photo of soaking wet (tux and all) Dave Levine. He takes a break in the rain to cool off after dancing and later makes the suggestion that ?every five years this event should be done in swimsuits and flip flops.?
11:30 p.m. After taking a picture of Dan Perales, he begins to spell out his name ??P? as in perfect ? ? I am actually envious that I don?t have a ?P? in my last name to use this line!
11:38 p.m. The valet line is so long that it winds down into the courtyard. I have never been so relieved that we arrived at an event so early, because we were able to sneak our car in the parking lot before valet completely taped it off.
11:45 p.m. The night comes to an end for this first-time UnGala girl, much to the relief of my tired feet ? and of course, no night is complete without a partygoer passed out (in his tux) in the parking lot.
Thank you, UnGala for an UnBelievable night!