State College of Florida Foundation, Inc. celebrated the 30th anniversary of Evening Under the Stars.
Evening Under the Stars takes place at the Venice campus of SCF and is an outdoor concert that features the SCF Big Band, The Venice Symphony and ends with an amazingly beautiful display of fireworks. It’s a really casual event and guests bring their lawn chairs and coolers. It never disappoints year after year though this year ended a bit shorter than most due to the rain that came in towards the end.
I like this photograph for capturing the colors it did among the palm fronds.
My First Visit To the Palm Ball
This year’s Palm Ball theme was Mangroves in the Moonlight. It was way more than that!
Seeing as this was my first time attending this event, I had properly prepared to get my hair, makeup and nails done. I love to keep things simple so if it’s done for me and all I have to do is slip into my gown, it makes the evening all the sweeter.
The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast hosts guests at what I think is the most elegant gala of the season, the Palm Ball. My guest and I valeted our vehicle and proceeded into the swelling crowd for a libation. As we settled in, we strolled the grounds, took a walk out onto the dock and to the top of the grandfathered-in boat dock for some amazing sunset views. As the sun set, the main tent opened. As we walked into the entrance of the event, I stopped in absolute awe of the pure beauty of this event. A plethora of unimaginably gorgeous chandeliers hung from above and the lighting was this really pretty purple. I might have lost my breath and said a special thank you before taking my seat next to my guest.
We sipped on cocktails, strolled under the moonlight and danced the night away after a scrumptious dinner of pan-seared jumbo diver scallops and craw-fish, green peas & butternut squash risotto, crispy artichoke, foie gras, nage & crispy salsify root as our first course. Our entree was thyme & garlic roasted chateau of beef, anise-scented sweet potato puree, heirloom baby carrots, toasted cauliflower, grilled trumpet king mushroom, cabernet & black truffle demi reduction. We didn’t even see the dessert because my guest took me by my hand for some dancing as the band Pocket Change played. It was one of those evenings you didn’t know you would hate to see come to an end.
My only regret on this shot is that I didn’t have my camera and had to use my cell phone. The lighting caught my eye and the subject was my inspiration so I asked him if he’d like to join me down on the dock for a few photographs. I love his overall James Bond tone wearing that Hugo Boss tux, ruffled vintage shirt and his artistically painted shoes. We were quite the pair in our Black tie, sequins, satin, paint, and Converse All Stars. His artwork is something to truly see; Tim Raines, artist www.timothyraines.com
Protecting the world we share.
Every breath connects us to the world ocean — and to each other. We share a responsibility to conserve and sustain marine resources, habitats and our ocean’s biodiversity. At Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, we empower the youngest inhabitants of our blue planet to embrace that responsibility.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium just made a huge announcement! In order to continue their mission and carry out their vision, Mote now has plans to build a massive and very impressive new Aquarium around Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota County! The new Mote Science Education Aquarium will share ocean literacy with a much greater cross-section of residents and visitors. This will more than double the size of the current Mote Aquarium and will make learning about the oceans for all much easier in this 110,000 square feet of space. Interested in helping or just learning more about coral reef, marine life, science, research? www.moteoceansforall.org
A new MTV Reality Show called Siesta Key premieres July 31st. The scene on the street was nothing short of a gallant Great Gatsby.
Maria Brady of Wedding & Event Design & Coordination and Beth Bronson-Kompothecras of So Staged Event Design + Rentals put on a black-tie fundraiser that was recently held at a gorgeous estate on Siesta Key and was by far the best event I have ever been to. The details astounded and delighted every guest. Women were adorned in bejeweled gowns and roaring twenties headpieces and gloves. Dr. Gary and Beth Kompothecras and their son Alex hosted over 150 guests at their estate home on Siesta Key to help raise funds for autism. Beth and Alex came up with the theme and had some fun planning it all for the lucky few to attend and experience.
As we arrived to the valet, we were greeted with Bellini’s in old fashioned champagne coupes and then asked to take the red carpet which was a true live red carpet. With a female model dressed fully wearing the red carpet! We followed her skirt path past a pristine, very-well cared-for 1933 Rolls Royce Silver Phantom II as old-fashioned paparazzi with the old flashbulb cameras interacted with guests upon arrival. Bellow sounds formed from a jazzy saxophone player playing busker style music. Yes, the tone had been carefully set.
Once we walked up the winding rising entry to the estate, two female models were positioned to each side of the main entry wearing gold lame evening gowns and crystal chandelier headpieces. Both were standing on high risers smiling away as they greeted each guest.
We entered and the entire home had been done in 1920’s décor style. The details simply took our breath away. Everywhere one looked, exquisitely designed décor met your eyes. Beautiful vintage furniture was strategically placed. So Staged has amazing pieces and Maria rents from Beth often. So Staged also built the larger-than-life champagne tower as guests entered their home.
The lavish event provided a menu reminiscent of a 1920s party and included favorites from that era such as ‘Classic’ Deviled eggs, Blinis with Sour Cream & Black Caviar, Baked Oysters Rockefeller, Whole Poached Salmon, and enormous Antipasto and dessert stations. The catering crew wore bowties, suspenders, and arm garters as they did in the 1920s! As you grazed the decadent array of food, a living female statue painted in metallic gold held a large white globe light and assisted in serving sliced lamb to guests.
Cigarette girls dressed in 1920’s style attire handed out candy cigarettes and chocolate cigars. The pianist played old Ragtime music and later as the champagne flowed, the music changed over to a DJ who continued the ragtime theme then onto everything popular today. The florals were done by staff from So Staged. The arrangements were chosen to go with all white Phalaenopsis orchids as they were very Gatsby like. Cameras were flashing as were the smiles. And as a one last big surprise to push the event way over the top, Maria Brady crafted and coordinated a metallic foil gold confetti drop. It was definitely New Year’s Eve on a Thursday evening on Siesta Key!
Starts with a “C”
We took a step back in time as we meandered through the charming rows of tin-roofed fishing cottages leading us to the entrance of the 35th annual Cortez Fishing Festival in the historic and quaint Cortez Village. There is lots of really fun people watching, and witnessing them celebrating this event, each other and their love of the sea, as well as all those that live in it, makes this such a unique event.
Proceeds from the two-day event go to the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) which works to keep 95 acres of mangrove wetlands shoreline on Sarasota Bay, plus a new land parcel in the middle of the FISH preserve, safe and protected from development.
We paid the admittance fee and took immediate cover from the rain inside the Florida Maritime National Museum. While we were perusing the nautical library, singing arose from the wooden rafters and landed softly upon us. We placed our books back and followed the music into the main gallery and spotted four sailors gleefully singing – no instruments, just the tapping of their feet and their alto voices. It was The Shanty Singers, some wearing their sailor hats. We couldn’t help but smile. As soon as the rain took a break, we headed outside to the now thinned-out crowd at the festival.
Crawfish, seafood gumbo, smoked fish, steamed clams, adult beverages served in coconuts and a plethora of beer were served over and over again. Attendees enjoyed country music and bluegrass bands, face painting, boat rides, marine life talks, and area artists showcasing their nautically themed works of art. This event is a gentle reminder of the simpler days and we look forward to it every year – rain or shine!
The S Curve
The Venice Symphony Pops Orchestra played, students sang, guests dined, the International Space Station flew above and fireworks decorated the evening sky. As I was photographing the event, I zoomed in on the musicians and low and behold, the S Curve was staring me right in the face.
This event is the SCF Foundation’s annual fundraising event!