Not ever having been to Mardi Gras myself, I could only go by the stories I had heard. Thankfully there was no such debauchery going on at Goodwill Foundation's Count Down to Mardi Gras last night, though it was New Orleans hot in the Michael's On East ball room. For quite a bit of the evening it felt like someone had turned the heat on. It made a girl glow a bit.
Everyone quickly got into the spirit of the evening with lots of costumes, masks, boas, and beads - tons of beads! You could either bring your own, or there were masks and beads on each table. Speaking of the tables, take a look at the centerpieces below. Goodwill board chair, Charlie Lenger's company Tropex, created and donated each centerpiece. She shared with me that she would like to do that for other organizations as a way of giving back. Contact her at Tropex if you'd like to know more. Isn't she a terrific gal?
The evening's chairs were Tara Williams and Jenn McAllister. Of course guiding everything from the staff side was the very organized Goodwill Foundation VP, Veronica Brandon Miller.
The bring surprise of the night is always the naming of the Goodwill Mardi Gras King and Queen. Guess who was crowned this year and deservedly so? Goodwill CEO Rev. Don Roberts and his fabulous wife, Peggy, who is also the VP in charge of Goodwill's housing. They have given over 30 years of their lives to making Goodwill Manasota what it is today. They were the perfect choice since Don will be retiring on Dec. 31 of this year. (Bob Rosinsky will be taking over as CEO.) Don said he came to Sarasota in Feb. of 1977. I remember when Don and Peggy were dating in the early 90s and then were married. I think they were married just before Peggy became the president of the Junior League and I was on her board. Let me tell you, Don was quite a romantic back then, and I assume he still is!
A paddle raise was held. As I said in yesterday's posting, it seems to be THE thing to do at events now and is an easy way to raise money. Goodwill did theirs a bit differently. Don told about what each specific donation could buy and then people actually filled out the information on the paddle and held them up for spotters to pick up. Easy-peasy. You can see the paddle in a photo below.
The food was all done on buffet tables and had lots of authentic NOLA choices. Some of it was a little spicy for me, but I am not a very adventurous eater. The dessert was kind of a bananas foster, but ended up being very melted as it was brought out. I told you how hot it was in there.
Others who were there and not photographed below were: Gloria Moss, Drayton Saunders, Antoinette Cunningham, Gerry Radford, Charlie Ann and Jim Syprett, Anne Weintraub, Mike Pender, Bob Stanell, and Hayley Wielgus and lots of other people that I couldn't recognize behind their masks!
|Dr. Larry Thompson and Rev. Don Roberts|
|Renee Phinney, Jenn McAllister, and Rebecca Blitz|
|Peggy Roberts and Veronica Brandon Miller|
|Pat Thompson, Kathye Faries, and Sally Schule|
|Barb Lewis and Rita Kramer|
|Jeff McGrath and Michael Scott|
|Gail Bowden, Pamela Swain, and Donna Simmons|
|Nancy and Dan Bailey|
|Michelle Crabtree, Larry Davenport, and David Hess|
|Margaret and Matt Callihan|
|Giovanna McGrath and Susan Brennan|
|Judge Maryann and David Boehm|
|Veronica Brady and Rochelle Nigri|
|Dr. Arthur and Lynn Guilford|
|The table setting|
|A Mardi Gras mask|