+ ‘All Fired Up’
Forty Carrots Family Center’s Firefly Gala, held Saturday, March 23, was perfect for people watching and partying. Look for photos in next week’s paper, but here are some sights and sounds of the evening.
Jamie Becker was spotted looking fabulous in an oldie, but goodie — a dress that she shortened after wearing it to UnGala Gala 10 years ago … Due in June with baby No. 3 with husband, Mark, Tanya Ramos was happy to fit into the pink Lilly Pulitzer dress that daughter Hannah picked out for her mom’s birthday … Johanna Gustafsson looked smokin’ in an electric bandage dress, rocker hairdo and Pat Benatar tattoo, which were being applied during the cocktail hour … A few guests were spotted slipping the beaded napkin rings (which could easily pass as bracelets) into their handbags … Photographer Amy Martin-Friedman, from San Francisco, attended the event. She was in town to take some images for a book to be produced for Wine, Women & Shoes called, “A Day in My Shoes Sarasota.” Chairwoman Ariane Dart discovered Amy when she was working on a book in Grand Cayman … Guests of top sponsors Dart Foundation, Steinwachs Family Foundation and Ashley D. Kozel had the opportunity to meet the stars of the evening, Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar before the concert … After the sound check, Giraldo and his tour manager hit golf balls at The Concession Golf Club (they tour with their clubs) … The band and crew’s meals were catered by Morton’s Market and it was overheard that it was the best food they’ve had on the road in a year … After the show, Chef Mac deCarle prepared dinner just for Benatar and Giraldo, which they enjoyed on the tour bus … Benatar referred to the crowd as the best dressed she’s ever seen at her shows and complimented the audience’s work in support of children … A bag of pork rinds was requested in the green room … The couple doesn’t typically sign guitars, but as longtime supporters of children’s issues, they did so in support of Forty Carrots for the live auction.
+ The name game
The first folks to get a look at the new Courtyard Tower and Parks, at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, were contributors who have named areas in the new space. More than 200 guests attended a reception on Friday, March 22. According to Alex Quarles, president of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Foundation, the name that appears most frequently is Marty and Paulette Samowitz. The couple has made a total of 35 gifts, including naming the new lobby.
The triple-threat trio, of Quarles, CEO Gwen MacKenzie and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Board Chairwoman Margaret Wise, whipped out a blue ribbon and a pair of scissors. Chief Operating Officer David Verinder, foundation trustee Pat Riley and others joined in to snip it. Quarles spiffed up the hardhats that she and MacKenzie wore to Pique Nique Sur Le Baie a couple of years ago and presented one to the organization’s much-admired CEO.
Also seen at the event were Larry and Carol English, Carlo Marchetti and Flora Major, Bill and Judy Stanford, Ed and Mary Lou Winnick, Harold Ronson, Frannie Blum, Bob and Meme Kramer, Bea Friedman, Ilene Friedman and Harriet Bernbaum.
+ Catwalk for a cause
The runway was hot with 27 models strutting their stuff at Neuro Challenge Foundation’s Cause 4 Fashion event Thursday, March 21. Models wore fashions from eight local stores, including Peace of Cloth’s Alex Garfield and Lilla P’s Pauline Nakios, who both attended. Garfield even made a stop in the green room after the show to announce anyone who modeled his clothes could keep them.
Founded in 2007 by Noreen Sutherland, the foundation has dedicated itself to helping people living with Parkinson’s disease and their families. The event raised more than $100,000.
Purse with a purpose … Christine Isaac brought along a special purse to the Avant-Garde event Saturday, March 23, at Ringling College of Art and Design. Her rhinestone purse was designed from a letter her daughter, Lennon, wrote when she was 6 to tell her mom how much she loved her. The following Mother’s Day, Isaac’s husband, William, had the idea to have Judith Leiber design a purse out of portions of the letter. Lennon is now 12, but Isaac treasures the purse and always enjoys telling people the story behind the keepsake … Bravo! … The unexpected man of the hour at Sarasota Ballet’s gala Friday, March 22, was Jason Webb. Son of Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri, Jason, an intern with the ballet, was given the gala as one of his particular projects. During the event, Hillary Steele, Mary Anne Servian and Chairwoman Sydney Goldstein publicly thanked him. One partygoer even said, “Sydney waxed poetic about Jason.” Sadly for the ballet, Jason is returning to England next month to join fiancée, Anna, and the couple hopes to marry in summer 2014 … ‘Midnight at the Oasis’ kick-off … Sponsors and Selby Gardens supporters gathered to kick-off the 32nd annual Orchid Ball Thursday, March 21, at Black Bird Gallery. Chairs Wayne and Mindy Rollins hosted the event, where the talk of the evening was what to wear to this year’s “Midnight at the Oasis” event on Saturday, April 6 — a sultry and sophisticated desert experience. Seen mingling were Sarah Pappas, Billy and Nora Johnson, Brooke and Karen Misantone, Larry Bowman and Tom Luzier. For tickets or more information call 366-5731, Ext. 229.
Black Tie Affair
23rd annual Florida Wine & Balloon Festival — Balloon Glow Dinner
Benefiting: Children’s charities
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 5
Where: Premier Sports Campus, Lakewood Ranch
Head east where colorful hot air balloons will light the sky and dance on command to the music of the spheres, at the 23rd annual Florida Wine and Balloon Festival’s Balloon Glow Dinner.
Guests will enjoy a unique collection of wines — some being introduced to Florida palates for the first time. Meet and greet vintners and winery representatives as they share the inside stories of these selections. Chef Paul Mattison will pull out all the stops for a dinner worthy of this occasion. Sarasota’s multi-talented Ben Hammond will entertain with his mix of soul, rock and acoustic guitar.
Attire for the evening is “balloon chic” for the ladies (high heels not recommended) and upscale casual for the men.