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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
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‘For the Love of a Garden’ Gala

About 250 guests spent Valentine’s Day evening at the Tampa Garden Club’s “For the Love of a Garden” gala at the club’s Bayshore Boulevard center.

The event, a fundraiser for community projects as well as the center, had a 1940s theme with music by Paul Wilborn and Blue Roses for jitterbug and swing dancing.

A cocktail buffet was provided by Ulele, the soon-to-open restaurant that’s part of the Columbia Restaurant Group. It included grilled oysters, duck and a Native American-inspired salad with squash, beans and corn.

Darby Miller was chair of the event, with Carole Guyton and Becky Savitz serving as honorary chairs. Miller said many people have found the gala to be an easy way to spend Valentine’s Day, since the event is open to anyone (couples and singles). “No need for a significant other,” she said.

Lowry Park Zoo ‘Wild at Heart’

Animal magnetism and attraction was the theme as Lowry Park Zoo sold out two nights for its “Wild at Heart” fundraiser on Valentine’s Day weekend.

The events drew 420 guests for a reception in the Manatee Circle and a seated dinner in the Safari Lodge.

Kenny Coogan, animal ambassador, greeted guests holding a barred owl while a two-toed sloth hung from a tree.

In the lodge, Melinda Mendolusky of the zoo spoke on animal behavior and was assisted by Jessica Grace and Scott Trailer. Following dinner, tours were available to see additional animals. Romantic fire pit areas were set up for those who wanted to relax with a glass of wine or sangria.

The event netted about $15,000 for the nonprofit zoo.

Pepin Family Foundation Valentine’s Day

Bright red dresses and shirts mixed with little black dresses and conservative business suits when 400 guests celebrated Valentine’s Day at the Pepin Family Foundation Valentine’s Day event at TPepin Hospitality Centre in Tampa.

The sold-out seventh annual event raised money for the Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute. The event, co-chaired by Marilyn McPhail and Lauren Pepin, already had raised more than $200,000 before the doors opened.

Final figures were not available, but there was plenty of opportunity for more fundraising with auction items that included a wedding for 100 people at the hospitality center; vacation stays at cabins in the mountains and condos on the beach; and a day on a private yacht.

This year’s theme was “In the Heart of Paris.” Red roses graced the tables, soft piano music played during dinner, floor shows followed and a DJ rounded out the evening.

Text by LENORA LAKE

Photos by LENORA LAKE, ALESSANDRA DA PRA and CHRISTOPHER THORNTON

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