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Annual party to celebrate Sinatra at Ritz in Ybor

Special Correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: July 23, 2013 at 01:48 PM

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YBOR CITY - Every since Frank Sinatra died in 1998, promoter Ken Walters has celebrated the legendary crooner's music with a party.

This year's Celebrate Sinatra, open to anyone 21 and older, will be from 8 p.m. Saturday July 27 to 1 a.m. Sunday July 28 at The Ritz Ybor.

"I've been a fan of American standards music, although I wasn't nuts about Sinatra," Walters said. "However, when he died, my friends thought I should have a party."

That tradition has continued with dancing and socializing in a nightclub-type setting for the black-tie-optional event.

"We recreate the way a nightclub was in the 1950s," Walters said. "There's no silent auction, no live auction. It is simply a nightclub."

The event traditionally draws between 700 and 800 guests clad in tuxedos, dark suits, cocktail dresses and full-length gowns.

"Over the years, we have added a Latin band," Walters said. "It's a great complement to the event."

This year's celebration will feature ethnic music by Latin Lovers in the Copa Room, beginning at 8 p.m. The main stage performances begin at 9 p.m. with American standards performed by Tom Tiratto's 17-piece big band featuring Lisa Casalino, Ashley Lockee and Paul Phillips.

The event also includes a cigar bar and a gaming table with roulette and poker.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa and the Florida Orchestra.

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