The 350 supporters of the Friends of Foster Children annual fundraising Comedy Cabaret staged at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort on Dec. 1 were treated to an unexpected double treat: a warm-up performance by Eddie Brill before featured comedian Nick Griffin, a veteran of David Letterman shows.
Following cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres and buffet-style supper service enjoyed in the ballroom foyer and adjacent courtyard while bidding on nearly 70 silent auction offerings along with snapping up Smiley Faces on which children had designated their specific wishes and costs, the crowd was amply fueled to take their seats in the ballroom itself where Event Chairman Les Schultzel welcomed them and acknowledged octogenarian Stan Appelbaum, founder and president emeritus.
In general, dress was mostly in the cocktail mode with a few cover-ups in deference to the season. Jonathan Sonne was quick to remark that only in Florida in December could his wife Rebecca get away with a hot pink, short-sleeved sequined top.
Standouts: Andrea and Paul Plueddeman, foster parents who have taken in five youngsters just since February and say they want more. As Andrea, who serves as a youth pastor at First United Methodist Church explained, "We want to open a group home since there are so many kids who need love."
Professional photographer Penny Taylor has welcomed over 50 into her home over the last eight to nine years and credits FFC "with always being there for all special needs including tutoring. They're totally there to give!"
Stacey Deffenbaugh, NBC-2 News anchor served as emcee and Kathleen Pica conducted the live auction of four packages during which Schultzel ended up offering his Durango, Colo., vacation home for two separate holidays that brought $6000 each.
Music was by Kevin Smith Entertainment.
Executive Director Jennifer Weidenbruch estimated net income of $60,000, including proceeds from ticket sales at $175 per person, Smiley Faces that totaled $9,000, silent and live auction donations and sponsorship money.
Platinum Sponsor was Naples Backyard History Inc. Among Silver sponsors were Porsche of Naples with a quartet of their finest on display and Fleur de Lis Event Designs/ Natasha Alveshire event coordinator.