Black Tie Events to Attend in 2014


Black Tie Events to Attend in 2014


Date: December 31, 2013
by: Heather Merriman | Black Tie Assistant Editor


Mark your calendars, because 2014 is jam-packed with events you absolutely must attend! From fashion shows to famous comedians, masquerade balls and nights in the Rainbow Room, there's a good cause to be celebrated all season long. Buy your tickets and tables, plan your outfits and get ready to have a blast while supporting local charities.

1. 3rd annual Red Hot! Celebrating the 65th Anniversary of Suncoast Communities Blood Bank
Benefiting: Suncoast Communities Blood Bank
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18
Where: Michael’s On East
Chairs: Kelly Marsh and Heather Zangara
Tickets: $150. Call: 954-1600, Ext. 132

Put on your best poker face and enjoy cocktails, dinner, dancing and gaming at the casino-themed Red Hot! event celebrating the 65th anniversary of Suncoast Communities Blood Bank.

Ever dreamed of being the face on the side of a blood mobile? Well that dream could come true if you’re the highest bidder on the one-of-a- kind auction item. Suggested attire: “Sarasota chic with a hint of red.”

2. 25th Anniversary Catholic Charities Ball
Benefiting: Catholic Charities
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Chairs: Maria DeSanto, Bridgett Spiess, Mary Keanely-Barbetta and Julie Delaney
Tickets: $250
Call: 355-4680, Ext. 311

At the beginning of the 2014 event season is the 25th anniversary Catholic Charities Ball. This party has 24 years of experience, so you better believe it’s going to be an evening to remember as it turns 25.

Prepare to enjoy music by the Bob Gaffney Orchestra, and if you’re the highest bidder for one of the many great live auction items, you might get to drive around in a Rolls Royce for an evening, take a wild trip to Las Vegas or enjoy a week stay at Villa Ercolano in Umbria, Italy.

3. Van Wezel Foundation Gala featuring Jay Leno
Benefiting: Van Wezel Foundation
When: 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7,
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Chairs: Kathy Martella, Lucille Smith and Brenda Maraman
Tickets: $350. Call: 366-5578, Ext. 2395

Amazing live auction items (a trip to D.C. with Congressman Vern Buchanan and a Sonoma Valley winemaker tour, to name a few), comedian Jay Leno, a chance to win a 2014 Lexus IS250 F Sport — what more reason do you need to attend the 13th annual Van Wezel Foundation Gala?

Expect a night of entertainment and exquisite food while supporting the foundation’s mission to “inspire a child, enrich a life and support arts education” and the fun won’t stop there — your ticket to the gala will get you into the exclusive after-party in the grand foyer following the show.

4. 15th annual Sarasota Women’s Cancer Awareness Luncheon ‘Cure on the Runway’
Benefiting: Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation
When: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12
Where: Rectrix Aerodrome Center
Chairs: Christine Sandrib and Honorary chairwoman Eileen Curd
Tickets: $150
Call: 813-745-1353

It’s always a great time when Saks Fifth Avenue teams up with an event for a cure, so grab your girlfriends and head to the Rectrix Aerodrome Center to enjoy a luxurious fashion show and luncheon in the hangar for the Sarasota Women’s Cancer Awareness Luncheon.

Have a fabulous time while learning about the work Moffitt is doing with women’s cancer research and awareness. Executive Vice President and Center Director Dr. Thomas Sellers will speak at the event, and all proceeds benefit women’s cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center.

5. Asolo Rep’s Annual Gala ‘A Night at the Rainbow Room’
Benefiting: Asolo Repertory Theatre
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 1
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Chairs: Chris Cogan, Carol Phillips, Nikki Sedecca and Nikki Taylor
Tickets: $300
Call: 351-9010, Ext. 4702

Imagine New York City, 1940: big bands, a revolving dance floor, fine dining and elite company. That’s what you should expect for Asolo Rep’s annual gala, themed “A Night at the Rainbow Room.” The ballroom will be transformed in such a way, you will think you’re on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center!

Channel the fashion of your inner 1940s self and dance the night away to the sounds of Michael Andrew & The Atomic Big Band (former headliner at the real Rainbow Room).

6. ‘Out to Lunch’ with Col. Mark Tillman
Benefiting: Designing Women Boutique
When: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 4
Where: Michael’s On East
Chairs: Bert Minot, Ann Sundeen and Chris Sancin
Tickets: $95
Call: 366-5293

Building on the success of last year’s luncheon with secret service agent Clint Hill, the women of Designing Women Boutique have brought in yet another enthralling figure in American history — Col. Mark Tillman.
Remember that day in September when President George W. Bush was in Sarasota reading to students at Booker Elementary? Tillman was the commander who had to rush him back to Washington, D.C., that day. Expect good food, lunch and enthralling intel about transporting the president on 9/11.

7. Purim Masquerade Ball honoring Robert and Esther Heller, Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy and David and Patti Wertheimer
Benefiting: The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Chairs: David and Edie Chaifetz, Dr. Joshua and Julie Green and Mort and Bunny Skirboll
Tickets: $250
Call: 552-6308

There is no better way to celebrate local philanthropists than by throwing them a masquerade ball. Grab your masks and head to the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota as the Jewish Federation hosts the Purim Masquerade Ball to honor Robert and Esther Heller, Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy and David and Patti Wertheimer for their outstanding dedication to the community.

Not only is this a new event on the scene, it’s also featuring an after-party. Want to join in on the celebration but prefer to start your evening a little later (or want the party to keep going?) … then buy tickets to the Purim after-party. Keep those masks on, party people, and enjoy an open bar, desserts and a DJ until midnight.

8. Polo Under the Palms
Benefiting: Center for Building Hope and MD Anderson Cancer Center
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 8
Where: Sarasota Polo Club
Chairs: Mary and Jamie Uihlein and Christie and James P. Uihlein
Tickets: $175
Call: 928-9296

Feeling fancy and want to see a polo match for a good cause? Head out to the polo grounds to watch the finals of the USPA sanctioned Polo Under the Palms 12-goal tournament. Continue the fun (or skip the sports and start with cocktail hour) under the white tent and spend the evening dining and dancing in support of the Center for Building Hope and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Need another reason to attend? It is the inaugural year for Little Owl Charities Inc. to host the event. The new nonprofit (which was created due to the success of the last three events) will raise money and boost awareness of organizations that pursue advances in cancer research.

9. 2nd annual Blue Ties & Butterflies
Benefiting: Child Protection Center
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9
Where: Michael’s On East
Chair: Alisa Pettingell
Tickets: $175
Call: 365-1277, Ext. 103

In only its second year as an event, the Blue Ties & Butterflies is Child Protection Center’s signature event (the inaugural event raised more than $250,000 for CPC!) — and it should be a signature event on your list to attend this spring.

New this year will be the debut of a scaled-down version of the CPC’s Pillar of Hope, which continues to be a part of all CPC events, representing the Pillar of Hope Circle marble campaign.
Artwork by Sabine J. Wiedenhofer, “Pure Tenderness,” above, is one of the auction items we are most excited about — it’s such a gorgeous piece that the event will be decorated in blues and hues that emulate it.

10. Fairytale Ball
Benefiting: Children First
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26
Where: Michael’s On East
Chairs: Paul Brannan and Heidi Anderson, Larry and Nola Hietbrink, Stan and Jo Rutstein and Matt and Lisa Walsh
Tickets: $200
Call: 953-3877, Ext. 124

Expect Michael’s On East to be transformed into a whimsical fairytale land for the Children First gala, “Fairytale Ball.”

Indulge in the storybook theme — wear your tiaras, dress up your princes and head to the ball for a magical evening supporting Children First.



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