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2020 Firefly Gala performer announced at Wine, Women & Shoes

Mr. Worldwide is making his way to Sarasota, doctors rocked out, and more this week.

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So, funny story. When I arrived here in Sarasota around four months ago (Has it only been four months? I’ve lost track of time and maybe my life), there were a few things I kept hearing from locals. Beyond “How’s the weather treating you” and “Get your sleep while you can”, the thing I was asked again and again was “Are you ready for Wine, Women & Shoes?”

Reader, Wine, Women & Shoes took place on Friday, and I was not ready. That was a lot, in the best way. Here are a few highlights from the show you might have missed.

Don’t Stop The Party

The Firefly Gala is always popular, but March 28’s event is particularly special — it’s the last one. So all things considered, the excitement for who the 2020 performer would be was particularly high.

Firefly Gala Chairwoman Ariane Dart took to the stage at this year's WWS to announce next year’s performer — the one and only Pitbull, Mr. 305 himself.

This’ll be fun. Love him or hate him, Pitbull definitely is the type of performer to get a room going, it’s definitely going to be a good time. Plus, it doesn’t get more “Florida” than the guy whose whole deal is being from Miami.

Info can be found at

Danger Zone

Wine, Women & Shoes President Heather Frank had a special guest with her on the stage — an impressively authentic Tom Cruise impersonator. Jerome Le Blanc, known as “California Tom Cruise” dressed up as Maverick from "Top Gun" and joined Bart Lowther as Goose to win over the crowd and pour drinks. Event coordinator Minta Getzen found Le Blanc after some research and, with the help of Varone Orthodontics, got him to Sarasota. 

After WWS, Getzen, her family, and Forty Carrots trustees Jenny Pendery and Nora Johnson brought La Blanc to Jack Dusty for a late lunch. Le Blanc and Getzen split some fries after a long, long day. He even did the classic Tom Cruise “Jumping on the Couch” move at Jack Dusty, and you have to respect that commitment to the bit. 

Moving Message

Even though Jamie Messenger, a domestic abuse survivor, shattered her ankle just a week earlier and was recovering from surgery, she still delivered the event's Message Moment to a moved crowd. 


Doctor Rock

The Ear Research Foundation's third Dr. Idol: Battle of the Bands event had about 300 people heading to the White Buffalo Saloon to watch medical professionals compete in the most illustrious of prizes — the chance to be top band. The fundraiser benefits the foundation's programs concerning hearing disorders and had six bands facing off. Judges awarded Dr. Jack Wazen’s band, Cassandra and the Ear-resistibles first place and the people's choice winner was Dr. Robert Koser's Good Lovin' Doctor.



Harry Sayer

Harry Sayer is the Black Tie editor for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked Black Tie for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs.