NAPLES — Designed after a Zontian charity fundraiser that debuted in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 2004, the production on Nov. 19 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, was all about good eating.
The multifaceted Glass Slipper Ball included silent and live auctions, mystery gift bags and dancing to the music of the Naples-based Brett Foreman Band. But its 240 attendees immediately zeroed in on the plethora of amazing appetizers and delectable desserts displayed at stations scattered about the hotel’s outdoor Courtyard, foyer and ballroom.
First, many sped outdoors for photo ops where a “pumpkin” carriage à la Cinderella and fashioned of colored lights strung on a metal framework served as either a backdrop or a chance to sit inside the large veggie itself.
Providing a conundrum for guests were both dessert and hors d’oeuvres stations with chefs at the ready flanking the carriage and also a bar in close proximity. For many, the foods took precedence over drinks, because only cash bars with elevated pricing were available.
Billed as featuring “The Best of the Chefs,” as indeed it did, nearly 20 area eateries and food purveyors were recruited to serve up their signature creations. Since grazing from station to station was encouraged, some cleaned their small plates on the spot while others sat down at strategically placed tables to savor the flavors more slowly. And with attention focused on food, no one was watching those, like kiddies, who concentrated on sweets rather than savories. Intermittent dancing helped to renew appetites along the way.
Winner by popular vote was the Capital Grille, executive Chef Jeremy Houston. Its menu: Kona crusted filet mignon with caramelized shallot butter and lobster mac ‘n cheese.
Dessert winners were executive chef and owners Paw and Elizabeth Mikkelsen of Mikkelsen’s Pastry Shop, who served up an assortment of gourmet mini-pastries.
Emcee Haley Webb, NBC-2 meteorlogist, recognized dignitaries and prior year honorees and introduced Zonta of Bonita Springs 2010-2011 Woman of the Year Jane Wheatley. Wheatley has dedicated the past decade to alleviating hunger in the Bonita Springs area through her work with the Café of Life.
Largest live auction bids made among the eleven proffered packages were for an “Escape to Ireland”; “The Wine, Wonder and Fashions of France”; a fourstar Isle of Capri experience; and an African photo safari.
Event proceeds included income from winning bids on silent and live auction items and from admission tickets at $125 per person. However, the organization said it will not provide a total for the event, according to Zonta Club of Bonita Springs president Y’Vonne Murray. The totals will benefit the Shelter for Abused Women & Children of Naples and Abuse Counseling & Treatment (ACT) of Fort Myers programs through funding local grants to combat all forms of violence against women.
Dawn Rocco-Babon and Ginny Nobbe were organizers, and gold sponsor was Comcast.