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Volume V • Issue II

events 13 The Big Gala 2020 16 2020 Mardi Gras Season KickOff Celebration 21 Meet & Mingle with Women of Impact 100 24 Polar Bear Plunge 26 Mystic Krewe of Nereids King Kake Party 31 Little Spruce Holiday Maker’s Market 33 Jack and Jill - PNS Chapter’s MLK Day Celebration 34 24th Annual Great American Chili Cook-off 36 The Pirates of Lost Treasure Oil Baron’s Ball 40 Krewe of Blues Pin & Bead Festival 42 Downtown Trolley Dinner 44 PACE Center for Girls Ribbon Cutting 49 Living the Dream 2020 & Tribute to Motown 53 Rotary Fireside Chat 55 2nd Annual Gay..la Masquerade Ball 61 Mardi Paws Fat Cat Social 66 Sunday’s Child New Membership Kick-off 71 Krewe of Gatsby Girls 6th Annual Speak Easy Ball

on the cover Rick Appleyard & Mallory Studer Photography by Kristina Wright The Big Gala 2020 at Skopelos at New World

departments 18 28 38 46 58 64 68 74

Adventure Out Coastal Cuisine Swizzle Style Give Care Share Save the Date Locale I Am Pensacola

VIP Pensacola Staff Publisher Greg Alexander Associate Publisher Verla Price Managing Editor Steve Barber Production Editor Jessica Graña Advertising Steve Barber Verla Price Penny Stricklin

Designer Priscilla Atkins Sheila McDiarmid Contributing Writers/ Photographers Greg Alexander Courtney Murray Verla Price Liesel Schmidt Kristina Wright VIP Founder Jeff Watson February 2020 | 9

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letter from the Publisher After the festivities and bustling lifestyles of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, January brought a new start and a time for all of us to reflect. Well, it did not take Pensacolians long to reflect upon the past year and start making plans for 2020 –you came on strong with events, parties, and celebrations, which we are recapping for you in this month’s issue. Also in this issue, some of the grandest events of the year are showcased, such as The Big Gala, with its Havana Nights theme –which even turned out to make our incredible cover photo. We covered some preliminary Mardi Gras events like the Krewe of Blues Pin & Bead Festival and Krewe of Gatsby Girls Speakeasy Ball, and look forward to the upcoming few weeks of the year’s biggest celebrations for Mardi Gras. We also highlight exciting growth for PACE Center for Girls with their ribbon cutting event. In Give Care Share, we feature Community Foundation of Northwest Florida, which every one of our readers will want to learn more about. There is much more in this issue that will excite you about living in Pensacola and show you the people, places, and events that make it such a wonderful place to call home. Pensacola is deeply rooted in history, and the Mardi Gras celebrations, parades, and krewes allow Pensacola to show their pride for the city’s rich history. There are many opportunities for you to get out and have fun during this exciting season. We will be at many of them with our camera crews in tow, and we hope to see you there.

Greg Alexander Publisher Greg@VIPMag.com


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VIP Pensacola at Skopelos at New World

The Big Gala 2020 photos & story by Kristina Wright


ig Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida hosted their signature black tie affair, The Big Gala, on January 17 at Skopelo’s at New World. Treasured guests were welcomed to an exciting night filled with friends, entertainment, dancing, silent and live auctions, and a beautiful plated dinner hand crafted by Gus Silivos. This year’s theme was “Havana Nights,” and Honorary Chairs were Laura and Barry Cole. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida has been the area’s leader in one-on-one youth services for more than 30 years. They match caring, adult mentors with children ages 6 through 18 who come primarily from single-parent homes. BBBS serves the Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties. The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to create and support one-on-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers and children by developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

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Brian & Cristina Williams

Dr. Huey & Helen McDaniel

Sally & Jeff Bergosh

Billy & Nancy Clark

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VIP Pensacola at The Big Gala 2020

Kathaleen Cole & Mike Thibodeaux

Hong Potomski, Amanda Harper, Martina Harper & Aimee Dumas

Benjamin & Cherylyn Murphy

Donna Hatley & Karen Fleming

Angela D’Alessandro,Trent & Briana Snellgrove 14

Tommi Lyter & Lisa Long

Robin Zimmern & Whitney Fike

Rick Appleyard & Mallory Studer

Megan Hanson, John & Kristina Gormley

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Chase Heard, Brent Lemox & Meaghan Champagne

Tonya & Robert Underwood, Sherri Zeigler

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VIP Pensacola at Seville Quarter

2020 Mardi Gras Season

photos & story by Kristina Wright


owntown Palafox and Jefferson Streets were lined with over 40 floats and Mardi Gras krewes that gathered their fleet to be blessed during the 2020 Mardi Gras Season Kick-Off Celebration on January 6. Phineas Phogg’s in Seville Quarter hosted a special VIP Reception party before the official kick-off began, where sponsors and special guests were invited to enjoy food and drinks, and have a bird’s eye view for the blessing of the krewes by Reverend Nicholas Schumm. Several members of the Escambia Sherriff’s Department, Pensacola Police Department, and Fire Department were also on hand to witness the blessings. After inside blessings and the presentation of 2019 Priscus King and Queen, the Second Line Procession was led along Palafox and Jefferson Streets to bless the floats. After procession, guests were invited to partake in the traditional King Cake, which was presented at the corner of Jefferson and Government Streets. Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc. is a volunteer-based board, run by Danny Zimmern and Amy Newman. PMGI organizes the events that Pensacola residents get excited for every year.

Shelly Nutt & Sheryl Stanovich

Jennifer Adams, Camille Farmer, Krista Silverman & Truli Hartley

Jennifer Hayden & Emily Dillon 16

Rovin Verge & Martin Moser

Michael & Angela Wierzbicki, Sylvia & Paul Thrash, Dan Harriott

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Mike Thibodeaux & Kathaleen Cole

Gary & Tina James, Michelle Durden, Bill Sears & Ron Jones

Ashley Connell & India Lowrey

Marijane McKinney, Amber Gordon, Jennifer Adams & Katrina Crowe

Mercedes Webb, Sally Barnes & Trish Purdy

Chase Heard & Josh Gilmore

Katy Hendry, Heather Reichmann & Jen Netzer

Bonnie Brock, Linda Harageones, Jayne Senkbeil & Darlene Babcock February 2020 | 17

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Rolling with a Krewe T

story by Liesel Schmidt

he flying beads, the colorful costumes, the massive floats…When it comes to Mardi Gras, there’s nothing that says it’s party time more than the parades. But without the krewes, whose names emblazon those floats and help organize the official festivities, the downtown streets that come alive each year during this Fat Tuesday festival would quietly go about their daily business, devoid of the excitement and excess. So just what is a krewe? The official term for the New Orleans clubs that organize the Mardi Gras festivities, the word “krewe” was coined by The Mystick Krewe of Comus, a group credited for New Orleans’s first parade with themed floats in 1857. In addition to the parade, they also started the tradition of wearing masks and carrying

torches to illuminate their revelries past dark. Interestingly enough, the city of Mobile, Alabama, had been hosting similar festivities since the time of French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville’s landing in Mobile, which he called Point du Mardi Gras, on Fat Tuesday in 1699. In their modern iterations, krewes are formed by various groups for various reasons, from promoting businesses or clubs to representing charities or even “just because.” Whatever the reason, they’re all there for one thing: to let the good times roll. Naturally, each city has their own unique krewes, and in Pensacola the list of krewes that parade themselves down the street each year is nothing short of impressive.

photo by Visit Pensacola

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photo by VisitPensac

photo by Visit Pensacola

Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc., the go-to source for Mardi Gras information and the organization responsible for the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade, lists more than 50 area krewes on its website. And, while the list is extensive, it isn’t exhaustive, as new krewes form every year, while other older ones break apart or disappear altogether. Despite what one would assume, there are no official rules as to what constitutes a Mardi Gras krewe, and any person or group can claim the title. Dues, bylaws, costumes, floats, and parade entries aren’t the qualifying factor, a krewe is a krewe simply because it claims to be. While some krewes are closed to new members or offer membership only by invitation, the process of joining is different with each krewe. And if you don’t find an existing krewe to join, you can always start your own, with your own rules and responsibilities; though if you want to get in on all the fun of the Mardi Gras parade, you’ll need members willing to join and contribute their time and their money. To get started, a krewe must be able to pay the entry fees to whatever parades it wishes to be part of as well as the necessary insurance and then decide whether to be a walking krewe its first year or to buy or rent a float. And while the party factor might be a great attraction, the main benefit of being part of a krewe is that they offer some sort of fellowship with other people who share a commonality. Some also provide tremendous networking opportunities, while others convey social status or

represent a cause. Many of them also make it a mission to serve the community in some way, raising money for various charities or non-profits, volunteering their time, or sponsoring events or individuals in need of help. From walking the streets in costumed formation to rolling along on a spectacular display of lights and sounds, however different one krewe might be from the next, they share the same chant of “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

February 2020 | 19

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VIP Pensacola at Hilton Garden Inn Pensacola Airport/Medical Center

Meet & Mingle

with the Women of Impact 100


photos & story by Kristina Wright

mpact 100 Pensacola Bay Area hosted their first Meet and Mingle event of the year on January 7. Lots of excitement was in the air, and the Hilton Garden Inn at the Pensacola Airport/Medical Center was filled with strong, powerful, Impact 100 members gathering together to outline the goals and direction the organization will be heading throughout the year. This event was hosted by the Highpointe Hotel Corporation and Dave Cleveland. All women over 18 were invited to learn more about 2020 membership and the transformative grants awarded by the women of IMPACT 100. Tim Evans with Pensacola Habitat for Humanity also spoke about the significance of their generous IMPACT grant, which was awarded last year. The Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 Chapter is the largest chapter in the world. IMPACT had an amazing year in 2019 with 1,166 members awarding a record number of transformative grants in the amount of $106,000- each to 11 nonprofit organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. The 2020 Membership Season for IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area is underway and members have been actively seeking continued support. The membership season will be open until March 1. IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, Inc. is an organization of women committed to improving our community by providing substantial grants to non-profit organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. IMPACT has no paid employees or staff, so 100% of each member’s annual contribution of $1,000 is pooled and awarded to non-profit organizations in increments of at least $100,000 in grants.

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Marguerite Byrd & Linda Bish

Janet Olliff & Sally Bergosh

Brigette Brooks & Tim Evans

Terri Ramos & Sue Stinson

Diane Schwartz, Kristin Longley, Alicia Ahern & Jan Pacenta

Sarah Zavoral & Theresa Del Signore

February 2020 | 21

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VIP Pensacola at Meet & Mingle

Alyssa Tucker & Kim Chope

Dona Cotton, Jacky Westover, Marie Marino & Jackie Wills

Delayna Blankenship, Malu Dunn & Shawn McCorkle

Ashley Prestwood, Victoria Mullet & Laura Rae Morette

Sue Chapin, Jackie Callahan & Marcia Brazil

Jennifer Wells, Kolleen Chesley & Monica Sanford

Jessica Duncan, Belle Bear & Madrina Ciano

Betty Anne Butler, Linda Lee Thweat & Alice Klein

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VIP Pensacola at Paradise Bar and Grill

Polar Bear Plunge photos & story by Kristina Wright


he Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce and Paradise Bar and Grill teamed up to ring in the new year and new decade with their annual Polar Bear Plunge on January 1. Over 400 people registered to be a part of the event, including a larger number of families and children to experience the festivities. Hundreds of people, many in dressed in costumes, flocked to the beach to see this long-established tradition. Participants lined up on the edge of the boardwalk behind Paradise Bar and Grill and on the count of three took a quick plunge into the water of the Santa Rosa Sound. After the plunge, guests were invited to enjoy live entertainment and partake in the traditional black-eyed peas and cornbread meal served on New Year’s Day. All proceeds went to support the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce. This year was the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce’s biggest turn out in the history of the Polar Bear Plunge. Every member who registered was given a chance to win the fifty-fifty raffle. The Polar Bear Plunge is the Chamber’s first event of the year, and kickstarts the non-profit fundraising season to support and build the foundation for the numerous events the Chamber holds throughout the year.

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VIP Pensacola at Paradise Bar and Grill

Lila & Jim Cox

My!ic Krewe of N"eids King Kake P#ty


Crowning of Queen Becky Shearman

photos & story by Kristina Wright

uests were invited to come kick off the 2020 Mardi Gras season on Pensacola Beach with the Mystic Krewe of Nereids mermaids on January 12 at Paradise Bar and Grill. DJ Boogie, Inc. and the Blue-Eyed Betty’s Band provided musical entertainment for the afternoon. Raffles were held for various prizes donated, and king cake was served as the annual themed dish for the event. Attendees were able to purchase food and drinks through Paradise Bar and Grill. Attendees were encouraged to bring their beads and wear purple, green, and gold. The 20 members of the


Mystic Krewe of Nereids come from different walks of life, but are all ladies that love the idea of Mardi Gras and sisterhood. The Mystic Krewe of Nereids is an all-female Pensacola Beach krewe that participates in the Mardi Gras and Fiesta of Five Flags parades, and other events. It was founded in 1992 and is named for the mermaids of Greek mythology. The krewe only adds three or four new members per year. Interested women are invited to participate as guests and may join as an associate member after one year.

Scott & Shelley Brummett

Sylvia & Paul Thrash

Truli Hartley & Sabrina Prince

Michelle Lamar-Acuff, Addie Murdock, Lacey Mann & Amber Ellis

Linda Carleton & Robin Sharit

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Ella Hess, Tommy Grice & Paulette Provost

Susan Robinson, Nicholas Wilson & Linda Phillips

Ebba Dam Pierre, Chuck & Donna Bryant

Peggy Henshall, Becky Shearman & Courtney Winstead February 2020 | 27

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Let the Good Doughs Roll story by Liesel Schmidt


f you’ve ever been to New Orleans, the word “beignet” is one that likely brings with it a sensory memory of addictive and fragrant squares of fried dough whose soft, pillowy texture is made even more irresistible with the addition of a healthy dusting of confectioners’ sugar. So synonymous is it with NOLA cuisine, in fact, that the beignet was declared the official donut of the state of Louisiana in 1986, though some would probably argue that this tasty confection leaves the ordinary donut in its dust. A pastry whose origins can be traced back to ancient Rome, the French style that is now so highly revered throughout the French Quarter was brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists. Despite the fact that some variations may include the use of banana, plantain, or berries, traditional beignets consist simply of deep fried choux dough that has puffed up to achieve something light and airy, their golden color offset by the snowiness of the finishing toss though sugar they receive after being removed from the oil. And while some might consider it a breakfast or brunch dish, a case could well be made that there’s no wrong time to eat a freshly fried beignet. Naturally, a well-made beignet is not to be missed; but to truly appreciate this heavenly confection at its finest, one must indulge when they are hot. Served fresh and with a cup of coffee, there’s no greater experience, no better homage to The Big Easy than the beignet. One taste, and you’ll swear your taste buds are doing the Second Line.

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New Orleans’ Style Beignets INGREDIENTS:


12 oz. lukewarm water 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 packet active dry yeast 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 1/4 tsp. salt 8 oz. evaporated milk 7 cups bread flour 1/4 cup shortening 3 cups confectioners’ sugar Nonstick cooking spray Oil (for deep frying)

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in another bowl, beat the eggs, salt, and evaporated milk together. Add egg mixture to the yeast mixture and mix together to combine. Add 3 cups of the bread flour to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add the shortening and continue stirring while adding the remainder of the flour to create a dough. Remove the dough from the bowl, then place onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead until dough has reached a smooth consistency. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray, then place dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a

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towel. Let covered dough rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours, until double in size. Pour confectioners' sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350 degrees. While the oil heats, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Gently place the dough squares into the oil and fry, flipping constantly, until they become a deep golden color. After beignets are fried, remove them from the oil and drain them for a few seconds on paper towels. Place the hot beignets in the bag of confectioners' sugar and shake, holding the bag closed to coat evenly. Serve hot with fresh coffee or café au lait and enjoy!

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VIP Pensacola at Museum of Commerce

Little Spruce

's Market photos & story by Kristina Wright


he Little Spruce Holiday Maker’s Market was held inside the Museum of Commerce in historic downtown Pensacola. Guests were invited to enjoy a charming, handmade-gift market with unique gift ideas from local vendors and artisans, beautiful booth designs, glistening lights, and warm wine. The 2019 Holiday Maker’s Market hosted approximately 30 handpicked vendors selling handmade wares available for viewing and gift purchasing. A few of the booths present were Truth Soap Co., 17th Avenue Designs who used paint chips from Graffiti Bridge to make jewelry, PokeSack from Mobile with their handmade leather bags, Chatham Knives from Bay Minette with their hand-forged knives and hunted elk handles, and PeachTree Mills from Milton with their native inspired wooden wall decor foraged from local woodland. While guests perused through the booths, live music was provided by the Blue Anchor Belles.

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VIP Pensacola at Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza Statue

Jack and Jill

PNS Chapter’s MLK Day Celebration & Food Drive photos & story by Kristina Wright


he Jack and Jill of America, Inc- Pensacola Chapter hosted their annual celebration and food drive on January 20 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza statue between Gregory and Chase Streets in downtown Pensacola. Before the parade, the Pensacola Chapter of Jack and Jill of America celebrated with its second annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day pre-parade celebration. Guests gathered to celebrate and embrace our diversity, friendship, equality, and love. Storytelling, singing, and fun-filled interactive activities for the entire family were available to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Chapter President, Carla Davis, and Tia Robbins, Historian/Community Service Chair of the local Jack and Jill of America chapter, helped to educate youth on Dr. King’s legacy for all Americans. Teniadé Broughton read aloud to the eager children listening in the audience about the story of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights struggle. Canned goods and non-perishable, non-expired food items were collected, and the chapter partnered with Souper Bowl of Caring to benefit Foodraising Friends, Inc. Chartered on January 14, 1956, the Jack and Jill of America, Inc- Pensacola Chapter is a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2 to 19, dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty.


Priscilla Stambolk & Genevieve English-Charles

Carla & Charis Davis

April Walker, Lyla, Olivia & Tinese Graham

Lauren Mair, Teniadé Broughton & Sophia Mair

Joshua Townsend, Marcus & Calise Coffee

Chip Simmons, Admiral Leroy & Tommi Lyter

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2/7/20 10:27 AM

VIP Pensacola at Seville Quarter

24th Annual photos & story by Kristina Wright


uests were invited to pull out their favorite recipe and gather “Bean Team Friends” for Pensacola’s best Chili Cook-off on January 18, in Phineas Phogg’s, sponsored by the Five Flags Sertoma Club. Chili with beans, without beans, white, red, easy to eat, or hot- every type of chili imaginable was available to taste at the 24th Annual Great American Chili Cook-off. Amateur and professional teams competed for bragging rights for the greatest chili in Pensacola, and created a fun-filled, highly seasoned event that the whole family could enjoy. Each concoction was judged on taste, smell, and consistency and trophies were awarded to the top three winners. In addition, there was a Showmanship Trophy presented (decoration and entertainment), Judges Choice Trophy, and the coveted People’s Choice trophy. Entry to the competition was $20 per team and featured three chefs per team. The event was limited to the first 15 teams. Each team prepared their chili “from scratch” at Seville Quarter. Cooking began at noon and the judging began at 4:00pm. The public tasting was 4-6pm, and all proceeds went to the Five Flags Sertoma Club.


Elaine & Brooks Davis

Lucy Stolfi & Kim Anderson

Breezie Seitz & Lorie Potter

Dorrian Neidhart & Tom Schafer

Crystal Wagner, Sabrina Selby, Dorrian Vance & Angela Hatcher

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Susan Carter, Richard Wagner & Mandy Wright

Lauren Summers, Jesse Sproles & Brandon Nelson

Capt. Tim & Jen Kinsella, Chris Heaney

Nancy Platten, Dee Manchester & Danny Kepner February 2020 | 35

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Grand Hotel

The Pirates of Lost Treasure

Oil Baron’s Ball photos & story by Kristina Wright


he Pirates of Lost Treasure hosted their Oil Baron’s Ball on January 18 at the Pensacola Grand Hotel. Entertainment for the evening was provided by the High Horse Band. Guests were invited to enjoy an evening of dining, dancing, and debauchery with the crowning of the 2020 king and queen, Dan and Vickie Powers, at the center of the evening. The Pirates of Lost Treasure Mardi Gras krewe was established in 1992 to parade and party. They host and participate in a variety of community events year-round. A small group of swashbucklers from the Key noticed the southeast flourishing with Mardi Gras krewes. Wanting to be part of the celebration, they hung a sign on the Reef’s door inviting all who were adventurous and lighthearted to apply for Piratehood. The result was a club of hearty, generous pirates that not only wanted to parade and party, but to help their neighbors. The Pirates have helped many panhandle residents who were down on their luck and still find time to put the wind back into their sails and have a good time. Their award-winning parade float that was built with their own hands makes them proud rolling down the street during Mardi Gras parades. With over 125 select members and associates, the Pirates continue to raise money for local children with their famous Secret Santa program. The Pirates blend good times and philanthropy when finding creative ways to raise money. The Pirates can also be found throughout the year at poker runs, kayak races, their annual fishing and golf tournaments, the renowned Flotilla boat parade, and manning the food booth during the annual Mullet Toss at the Flora-Bama.

Micah & Mary Walters

Noel Hall, Bobbi McNair & Molly Busby 36

Dan & Vickie Powers

Michael & Michelle Collins

Cinnamon & Barry Swiff, Ruby Burgess

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Tonie & Stan Allsopp

Charlotte Kennedy & Joe Gilchrist

Blitz Poston & Ava Sobieszek

Cindy & Joel Hudson

Amy Sudduth, David Jolly & Allison Strickland

Lynette Hale & Robert Laursen

Steve & Dana Peeterse

Mike & Elizabeth Fowler

John & Cindy Osman

Danielle Mitchell, Samantha Spillar, Jenna Geiger, Roxanne Hicks & Tammi Hill February 2020 | 37

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Cocktails fit for a King story by Liesel Schmidt


ommanding attention with their signature burst of green, gold, and purple, King Cakes are a long-standing Mardi Grads tradition, the rich, bright bread covered in flash and flair and full of celebratory fun. But there’s far more than simple sugar to this royally-robed treat, and hidden inside its cinnamon-spiced layers is a reminder of where the bread got its name, a story-teller of the tiny baby whose birth called ancient kings from afar to bring priceless gifts during the season of Epiphany. The King Cake has many iterations all over the world, but nowhere in America has this baked confection more fully taken hold than in the Gulf South, where Mardi Gras gets into full swing with parades aplenty and the region indulges in the good times in every way they can. Offering a creative take on these beloved seasonal confections are King Cake cocktails; and bars and restaurants all over the region are getting in on the fun, mixing up everything from martinis, old fashioneds, daiquiris, and shots to “King Cake-infused� vodkas, all of them evocative of the flavor profi les, and uninhibited fun, of King Cakes. Think sweet, with notes of cinnamon and vanilla. In the case of creamy drinks, some even include the use of cream cheese, an ingredient common to King Cakes. Naturally, the spirit of Mardi Gras lends itself well to these inventive spirits... after all, what is Mardi Gras without the festivity, fun, and overindulgence? And while King Cakes traditionally have the baby hidden inside, these festive libations still make good on the theme with their colorful accents and rich flavors.

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Mardi Gras King Cake Cocktail (Serves 2) INGREDIENTS:

Green, purple, and yellow sanding sugar 3 oz. King Cake flavored vodka 1 oz. Grand Marnier 1 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream 3 oz. half and half, optional Ground cinnamon DIRECTIONS:

Add a thick line of each of the green, purple, and gold sanding sugars on a plate, being sure to keep them distinct and separate from one another. Wet the rim of a martini glass, then press the rim into the colored sugar, being careful not to mix the colors. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, Grand Marnier, and Bailey’s with ice (and half and half, if a creamier drink is desired). Shake well, then strain into the rimmed glass. Dust the top lightly with cinnamon and enjoy!

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VIP Pensacola at Seville Square

Krewe of Blues

Pin and Bead Festival photos & story by Kristina Wright


Bobbie Vaughan & Jimmy Hendrix

Jennifer & Jim Richardson

Trang Huynh & Dana Hal 40

he Krewe of Blues hosted their Pin and Bead Festival and Diaper Drive on January 19. The drive is an annual event which is open to the public. It gives other krewes an opportunity to give back to the community by raising money for various charities. Some of the charities chosen were: Gulf Coast and Santa Rosa Kid’s House, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, Mana Food Bank, Pace Home for Girls, SpikesK9Fund, and more. The invitation extends to all krewes near and far, encouraging those to promote their krewe, their charity of choice, and swap pins and beads. Fantastic food and shopping opportunities were provided by local food and merchant vendors, and of course great entertainment. The Krewe of Blues Pin and Bead Festival is an opportunity for krewes to get to know one another and swap special pins and beads (one of the traditions of the Pensacola Mardi Gras) and for everyone to have a fun and exciting day meeting all the krewes. After originating and hosting “The Krewe of Blues Pin and Bead Swap” for the past eight years, and as they grow and expand, they realized the name must reflect the evolution into “A Krewe Festival.” Back again for guest participation was the annual Krewe Wars, which gives krewe members a chance to enjoy a little friendly competition to spice things up. The diaper drive portion of the festival brings in thousands of diapers to donate back into the community.

RoseIvy Carrion & Jannet Sanchez

Patrick & Luz Neil

Megan & Kinsley Chapman, Angela Peacock

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Katie McIntosh, Robin Leathers, Tina Sarra & Robin Kelly

Jessica Reeder, Maegan Leonard & Sarah Dowlatkhah

Brian & Cristina Williams

Teri Thoming, Eric Christman & Tracy Johnson

Audrey Preston & Barbara Coffee

Patsy Enfinger, Sally Barnes & Janice Krumbein

Travis Miller, Kristie Anderson, Martin Moser & Thomas Pfeiffer

Christina Windham, LaDonna Dapremont, Shannon Castro & Anna LaTour February 2020 | 41

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VIP Pensacola at Downtown Restaurants

Jennifer Wilson & Jackie Hrevus

Genivieve & Chris Kurpius

Becca & Chase McKeithen

Downtown Trolley Dinner photos & story by Kristina Wright


he First Tee of Northwest Florida invited guests to enjoy the fun and hop aboard the trolley to enjoy the finest food and beverages of Pensacola. The leisurely guided tour included five courses from Pensacola’s most passionate establishments, paired with wine from Southern Glazer’s and craft beer from Goldring Gulf Distributing. Title Sponsors for the event included BB&T Home Mortgage, Florida Insurance Agency, and Celebrity Home Builders. Four restaurants participated in the tour, including Seville Quarter, Skopelo’s, Atlas Oyster House, and Pot Roast and Pinot. The evening finished with a final trolley stop back at Seville Quarter for desserts from Jay’s Bakery. Since 1997, The First Tee has grown its network to deliver programs in all 50 United States and select international locations. In 2016, The First Tee brought character education through the game of golf to more than 5.3 million young people. The First Tee started as a way to bring an affordable junior golf program to youth and communities that did not have them. The organization soon discovered that blending the rules of the game with life and leadership skills, kids and teens learned not only how to putt, but also learned important values along the way. Their mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Daniel & Barbara Rogers 42

Sheryl & Marty Stanovich

Shane & Shannon Queysen

Renee & Russell Warren, Michael & Kim Einikeieff

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1/29/20 8:31 AM

Tonya & Greg Zimmern

Carmen KirkChharr, Donna Ward & Jo McArthur

Don’t Choose a VET.. Choose a FAMILY. Comprehensive Care Medical Surgical

Luxury Accommodation Boarding Day Care

Kit & Sue Nast

850.477.2901 4220 N Davis Hwy Bldg A Pensacola FL. 32504 olivebranchpethospital.com Kristen Van Matre, Marlo Paaaina & Stephanie Justice February 2020 | 43

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1/29/20 8:31 AM

VIP Pensacola at Pace Center for Girls

Ribbon Cutting

Amber Gordon & Christina Hawkins


Kathy Ostrander & Cindi Bear Bonner

Rachel Mock & John Kane

Pat Parmley & Brooks Davis 44

photos & story by Kristina Wright

ace Center for Girls Escambia-Santa Rosa held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their newest building on January 21. Pace girls, staff, board members, and donors stood outside the 2,076 square foot facility, named for The Bear Family Foundation’s Center for Hope, to announce that the building is officially open to serve girls with their expanded services and programs. The addition houses a designated classroom for girls in the accelerated Girls Earning Diplomas (GED) Program, a dedicated space for their newest work readiness program, Ready, Set, WORK!, as well as offices for the center’s thriving Reach Program and Transition Services. “It truly is amazing how quickly this idea became reality,” Laurie Rodgers, Pace Regional Executive Director, shares. “It was just a drawing on paper a year ago and now, we have another safe space to provide assistance and support to our ever-growing list of Pace girls.” Also open is the center’s newly remodeled commercial kitchen, allowing the center to provide freshly prepared onsite daily breakfast and lunch to Pace girls year-round. Among those present at the ribbon cutting were representatives from The Dugas Family Foundation, The Bear Family Foundation, The Peacock Family, and Santa Rosa Energy Center. These major contributors, along with an anonymous donor, committed and pledged their financial support to aid in the construction of the new building and center kitchen remodel. The Pensacola center has been providing life-changing services to girls and young women in the area since 1994 and estimates having positively impacted the lives of nearly 4,000 girls in those 25 years. At Pace, girls turn difficult pasts into promising futures by developing critical life and academic skills to support them in graduating from high school, enrolling in post-secondary education, and obtaining living-wage employment. Through the new space and variety of services available to both current and former Pace girls, the center hopes to continue increasing the number of girls served each year.

Susan Davis & Brenda Vigodski

Margie Moore & Laurie Rodgers

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Mary Marks, Victoria Mullet & Jenn Bear

Cindi Bear, Lewis Bear III & Mary Gable

Susan Finger, Elaine Davis & Jenny Rooney

Denise Ables, Judie Zitzwitz & Karen Brown February 2020 | 45

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Date Night story by Courtney Murray


ingle. Married. It’s complicated. Whatever your relationship status is, everyone deserves a night out every now and then. Enter the date night. You’ve done the hard part of picking out who you actually want to go on a date with, now it is time to choose the perfect outfit. Date nights can vary from very fancy to extremely casual, so it’s important to determine the vibe of your date beforehand. If you’re going to the movies or bowling or to grab a beer at a sports bar, definitely leave your little black dress at home. Try something sleek and casual with a little trendy twist so that you stand out from the crowd. Pair cigarette-leg dark denim with a lacy camisole and a cropped leather jacket to play up an edgy yet feminine juxtaposition. Another cute and casual look is a pair of black leggings with a textured tunic sweater and flat over the knee boots. Try out faux leather leggings if you’re feeling a little spicy. For a casual date guys can adopt a similar approach. A good fitting pair of denim in a medium to dark wash will take you a long way. They can be worn with a plaid button up or a gray Henley with a brown leather jacket thrown over top. They work well with everything from loafers to trendy sneakers to a structured boot. Investing in high quality pieces will pay off in the long run because they can be easily interchanged and worn time and time again.


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If you’re date is more caviar and champagne and less burgers and beers then it’s time to break out the big guns. With Valentine’s Day around the corner consider going bold with shades of crimson, fuchsia and petal pink. You are sure to stop your date in their tracks with a bright red dress paired with a red lipstick to match. If dresses aren’t your style there are other ways to elevate a look for your special someone. Slim fitting black pants with a stand out piece like bright pumps or a sequin tank under a sleek blazer is a great alternative dressy look. Men are the lucky ones. They can easily take those same boots or button up shirt from their casual look and use them for their fancier date ensemble. Swap out the jeans for chinos or dress slacks and you’re ready to impress. If you want to step it up a notch, wearing a jacket over a button up shirt but skipping the tie will keep you from looking too stuffy. Whether you’re going on a blind first date, meeting your match from Bumble or escaping the kids for a night with your spouse of 15 years, there is a lot of pressure surrounding planning and executing a date night. So take the pressure off your wardrobe and have some fun.

February 2020 | 47

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LOVE YOUR LIPS This Valentine’s Day



| VIPPensacola.com

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1/29/20 8:48 AM

VIP Pensacola at Skopelos at New World

Living the Dream 2020 & Tribute to Motown photos & story by Kristina Wright


he Studer Family presented the 2020 Living the Dream Pensacola event on January 19, at Skolpelos at New World Landing. Living the Dream is the signature event for the panhandle in celebrating Dr. King’s legacy, and it is a true commitment to diversity, achievement, service, and progressive leadership that nurtures a more cohesive community. This event honors individuals who either currently live in Pensacola or who are from Pensacola and are exemplifying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream. It’s also the best night of the year for great music and dancing. Over 70 nominees have been awarded this consideration, and this year’s nominees were Clara Harris, Jean Pierre N’ Dione, Madrina Ciano, Cindi Bear Bonner, Micah Roland, and Sandra Donaldson. Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by the MoTown Tribute Band. The Living the Dream event was conceived seven years ago during a conversation between Quint Studer and County Commissioner Lumon May. Since the inception of the event, 43 Pensacolians have been recognized for their work exemplifying the ideals of Dr. King’s “Living the Dream” speech. Some are doctors, some are lawyers. Some are major business leaders, and some manage small mom-and-pop enterprises. There are also community activists, nonprofit leaders, and media personalities on the list. Proceeds from the event benefit the Southern Youth Sports Association, a 501(c)3 organization that provides recreation, mentoring, education, and support for inner city youth in the Pensacola area.

Charlotte Philyaw & Reggie Parker

Mark Gillman & Jeff Nall

Brian & Harroitt Wyer

Tia & Fred Robbins

Belle & Lewis Bear

Teri & JC Lowe

Anita Welcome, Michelle Parker, Robin Reshard, Grover Robinson & Zana Woods February 2020 | 49

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VIP Pensacola at Living the Dream 2020

Terry Horne & Lloyd Reshard

Gabrielle & Danial Hemme, Robert Bender

Dickie & Geraldine Vaurigaud

Mamie Hixon, Sue Straughn & Dr. Sandra Winborne 50

Jerry Watson & Mintoria Smith

Christine & Jason Brewster

Chase Heard, Jessica Duncan & Josh Gilmore

Lucy, Eric, Carrie & Cole Stevenson

Mark & Madrina Ciano, Danny Zimmern

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Join us for…

Valentine’s Day STARTER Mobile Style Grilled Oysters

Gulf coast oysters, brown butter, parmesan, fresh herbs, lemon

SALAD Bourbon & Bacon Salad

Baby kale, bacon, pickled radish, granny smith apple, blue cheese, spiced pecans, bourbon vinaigrette


E N TRE E S Filet au Poivre

February 14

Filet mignon, smoked carrot puree, wild mushrooms, braised brussel sprouts, peppercorn cream

Reservations Starting at



Blackened Grouper Blackened gulf grouper, roasted cauliflower puree, charred onion, shaved fennel, navel orange gastrique

Reservation Required

D E S S E R T Chocolate & Espresso Cheesecake T O A S T Chocolate Covered Strawberries &

Live music

Sparkling Champagne

Destiny Howard Duo

- Back by Popular Demand -



Price includes a bottle of house wine (cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, pinot grigio 750 ml bottles) OR bottle of champagne


PER COUPLE PER SINGLE *tax & gratuity not included



Membership Discounts Apply


1/29/20 8:46 AM

Offering world-class care for the hand, wrist and elbow

Dr. James Piorkowski | Dr. Steven Kronlage | Dr. Alex Coleman

For fractures and urgent appointments call (850) 807-4200!

Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

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The Hand Center at Florida Bone and Joint Specialists 4012 N 9th Avenue Pensacola, Florida | 32503

| VIPPensacola.com

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VIP Pensacola at The Home of John Adams & Laura Magan

Rotary Fireside Chat photos & story by Kristina Wright


otarians from throughout Northwest Florida gathered on January 15 at the Gulf Breeze home of John Adams and Laura Magan for a Rotary District 6940 Fireside Chat. Guests were invited to engage in informal introductions and socializing, hosted over beverages and appetizers. The District Fireside Chat brings friends together who share a common focus: “Doing Good in the World.� Rotarians shared fellowship and learned about giving opportunities to The Rotary Foundation from Debra Lowe, Rotary Zone 34 Senior Major Gifts Officer. District Governor Innes Richards and Gretchen Rauch also spoke about giving opportunities, and other Rotarians spoke about their motivations for giving to The Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Foundation makes a difference throughout the world, boosting education, local economies, maternal and child health, providing clear water, fostering peace and conflict resolution, and fighting disease. Rotary District 6940 covers much of northern Florida and is a leading regional contributor to global and community causes.

Debra Lowe & Innes Richards

Betty Roberts & Jan Pooley

Hong & Bobby Potomski

Rick & Suki Lambert

Lynn Ericson & Kerry Ann Schultz

John Adams & Dan Sulger February 2020 | 53

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Give your sweetie relief this Valentine's Day!

Crystal Silins


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| VIPPensacola.com

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1/29/20 8:42 AM

VIP Pensacola at Museum of Commerce

2nd Annual Gay..la


Paint the Town photos & story by Kristina Wright


n January 11, Evolve ‘n Thrive in partnership with Beautiful You Studio and Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation, hosted their 2nd Annual Gay..la Masquerade Ball “Paint the Town” benefit at the Museum of Commerce in downtown Pensacola. This year’s festivities included a cocktail hour, live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a drag performance, and a DJ. This was a night packed full of fun, entertainment, good eats, cocktails, and a chance to dress up and be welcomed as you are. Performers for the drag show included hostess Vanessa Vogue, Miss Cie, Raven Samore, Monica Heart, and Amy DeMilo. Local artist Carter J was on site to create individualized caricature portraits. Throughout the night, guests also had an opportunity to bid on several items from a silent auction. The annual Gay..la is the biggest yearly fundraiser Evolve ‘n Thrive presents, and all of the proceeds go toward future events. The 2020 sponsors included Visit Pensacola and Southern Equality Fund. Evolve ‘n Thrive Events, a local nonprofit organization, creates fun and safe events for the LGBTQ community. The organization is based in Pensacola, and it aims to expand its reach throughout the Southeast United States, especially in smaller communities. The funds raised at the ball will go toward future events. “This year’s ball is going to be even bigger and better than last year’s. I am really excited about how we have grown and what is to come,” said Julie Still-Rolin, President and Founder at Evolve ‘n Thrive Events, before the ball started. Julie, a local author and event planner, founded the organization based on her own experiences of coming out in a small town, which she addresses in her latest book, Coming Out in the South.

Mia Bolden & Chris Ann Ilan

Terry Jones, Alisa, Javiana & Julie Still-Rolin

Mark Van Buren & Jo Rich

Chase Heard & Katy Hendry

Jessica Jensen, Jillian Holt & Haley Jensen February 2020 | 55

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VIP Pensacola at the Gay..la Masquerade Ball

Quentin & Caston Harveybaker

Margie & Robert Kalaluhi

Kim Miller, Tammy Hollington, Tonya Allen & Beth Reed

Nicole Simpson, Crystal Silins & Brittany House

Trish Taylor & Eric Harvey 56

Raven Samore & Boris Odom

Shae Jalisa Delano & Snowy Marie

Demis Lagoni, Francis Langlade, Dan Buryj & Craig Weber

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The New Mardi Gras™

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available through Visit Us or Call Today: 850·434·2543 myagent@travelleaders.com

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February 2020 | 57

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1/29/20 8:51 AM

story by Greg Alexander photos provided by Community Foundation of Northwest Florida


ince 2012, The Community Foundation of Northwest Florida (CFNWF) has been enriching lives and strengthening communities by serving charitable causes in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, and Washington counties. The Foundation originated in 1995 as The Greater Escambia Community Foundation and was first founded with a mission to serve only Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Initial funding came through a grant from the D.W. McMillan Foundation and commenced the process of helping support charitable organizations in the greater Escambia area. As support for the causes grew, in February 2012, the Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to change the Foundation’s name to Community Foundation of Northwest Florida. With this, the Foundation’s role expanded to serve all communities and areas of Northwest Florida. The Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that brings together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective community nonprofits throughout Northwest Florida. Since 2013, the CFNWF has been nationally accredited by the National Standards Board of Community Foundations. For more than 15 years, the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida has been assisting donors in establishing longterm charitable giving that reflects their individual philanthropic interests while positively impacting our local communities. As a resource for individuals, families, businesses, and non-profits, the CFNWF works hand in hand with professional advisors to meet the philanthropic needs of donors. One does not have to be wealthy to make a difference. You can contribute to an existing fund or new funds can be established with as little as $5000. If you are interested in learning more, visit www.cfnwf.org or call (850) 434-5890.

The CFNWF has assets of nearly $5,000,000 and currently provides management expertise for sixteen funds including: • Donor Advised Funds allowing the donor an active role in the grant-making process • Scholarship Funds that support education for deserving students • Agency Funds that are created by a non-profit agency to further carry out the charitable, cultural and educational purposes of the Agency within the general charitable purposes of the Foundation. • Field of Interest Funds allowing donors to target their contributions to fields most important to them (ie: healthcare, environment, etc.) • Endowment Funds where contributions are not spent, but instead invested with annual earnings supporting selected community needs.


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Interview with Suzie West, Executive Director Community Foundation of Northwest Florida

Our Mission is simple: To enrich lives and strengthen the communities we serve. For Good. Forever. How long have you been with the Foundation? I have been fortunate to work with the CFNWF since June, 2017. I was working with the Boys Scouts of America, Gulf Coast Council, as the District Executive when I was approached to interview for the Executive Director of the CFNWF. It’s been a great fit and I truly love what the CFNWF does for our community. What is the primary mission of the Foundation? Our Mission is simple: To enrich lives and strengthen the communities we serve. For Good. Forever. The Community Foundation of Northwest Florida is a charitable organization under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, a public charity that promotes and facilitates charitable giving. The Foundation helps individuals, families, and businesses accomplish their charitable goals and helps non-profits as a source of grants and as a vehicle for building endowments for their future. All contributions to the Foundation qualify for the maximum available tax deduction allowed by the federal tax laws for charitable contributions. How much has been awarded through the Foundation in the last year? In 2019, the CFNWF awarded over $625,000 to non-profits throughout Northwest Florida. The CFNWF received over $200,000 in national grant awards to support community non-profits in their recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael. These grant funds assisted ten

community groups in the hardest hit areas of the Panama City region. The majority of 2019 donations came from individuals and families through funds they established with the Community Foundation. What is your means of attracting/ recruiting new donors? To recruit new donors, we spend time instead of money. We work closely with financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, and those who assist individuals and families when they desire to financially help others in our communities. Members of the CFNWF Board are wonderful ambassadors of our mission and are regularly featured as speakers at local civic and community meetings. How is overhead funded? Funding for staff and overhead comes from an annual administrative fee of 1%. The fee is paid in advance each year based on the average market value of the Fund’s assets during the previous year. The minimum annual fee is $100.

to better our communities, now and in the future. How is the use of your unrestricted funds determined? All funds at the CFNWF are used to support the betterment of the Northwest Florida region. The CFNWF Board determines use of unrestricted funds to support a particular project or community need. How many individuals sit on the board? The Foundation’s governing Board of Directors is comprised of leading community citizens who live in Northwest Florida. They represent a diverse group of people who have different areas of expertise and community knowledge. They oversee the management and policies of the Foundation. Currently our board consists of eleven members who serve a two year term, with a limit of three terms (six years).

What does the future of the Foundation look like?

With so many opportunities for philanthropy, why might someone choose Community Foundation of Northwest Florida?

The Community Foundation of Northwest Florida’s future is very bright. The concept of a community foundation is pretty simple – we are a means to build, over time, substantial funds through contributions large and small and to pool many funds together in order to have a greater impact on community needs. Our region is full of generous individuals who call Northwest Florida home and regularly answer the calls of many charitable causes. As a vehicle for people of all means to make a lasting difference in their communities, the CFNWF is uniquely positioned as the one organization that can manage a pool of resources all meant to address issues that impact our region. As our region continues to grow, we will assist more individuals and families as they establish charitable funds with the CFNWF. Our main purpose is to serve the needs and philanthropic aims of these donors who wish

Simple, because you can support so many charitable organizations with one gift through the CFNWF. Essentially, the CFNWF acts as the holder of your charitable fund and provides management and investment expertise. All contributions are tax deductible to the maximum amount allowable for gifts to a public charity. Indeed, because community foundations are classified as public charities under the tax code, some donors are able to claim larger tax deductions on gifts to community foundations than they are on gifts to their own private foundations. A community foundation represents a wide variety of ideas and interests of individual donors who have united in a common purpose - the bettering of their communities both now and in the future. Whatever your charitable intentions, there are ways to achieve them through your gifts to your community foundation. February 2020 | 59

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VIP Pensacola at Skopelos at New World

Mardi Paws

First Annual Fat Cat Social photos & story by Kristina Wright


he First Annual Fat Cat Social was hosted by the Pensacola Humane Society, and held at Skopelos at New World. Guests were invited to an evening filled with musical performances by the Six Piece Suits. Purchased wristband entry provided attendees with complimentary champagne and Tito’s cocktails throughout the evening. Auctions were held for items including a stay at a downtown apartment that overlooks Palafox for the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras parade on February 22. Raffle tickets were sold for a chance to win a 1971 convertible Beetle. Food and drinks were available, in a casual elegant setting. The Pensacola Humane Society staff and volunteers provide comfort and care for unwanted or abandoned animals in our community. They operate and maintain a NO KILL shelter and adoption center for homeless animals on private donations and fundraising activities. Their staff cares for the abandoned or neglected animals until they go to good homes. They receive no city, state or federal government funding. PHS is committed to improving the lives of companion animals in our community through advocacy, adoption, education, and sanctuary. PHS is proud to serve the entire Gulf Coast, providing food, shelter, and medical care for companion animals until they can find their forever homes.

Dr. Davis & Elizabeth Mills

Tammy Usie & Jennifer Jackson-Keating

Luisa & Luis Hencker

Meaghan Henley & Tiffany Smith

Susan Simmons & Crystal Bell-Rivera

Renee Sigleil & Christy Rollins February 2020 | 61

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VIP Pensacola at Mardi Paws

Cindy & Greg Thomas

Rhonda Watson & Lauren Cappas

Chip Simmons & Tommi Lyter

Julie Danna, Betty Weber & Anne LaFrance

Michelle Lamar-Acuff, L. Thomas McClung & Cecily Chundrlek

Nicole Partridge, Ed Villar & Penny Stricklin

Jennifer Bitner & Michael McGlothlin 62

Meagan Leonard & Christie Parker

Verla Price, Tori Woods, Val & Charlie Gracia

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1/29/20 8:53 AM

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FEBRUARY 6 Love at First Bite! V Paul’s Italian Ristorante 2001 West Blount Street | Pensacola 4:00pm – 7:00pm Join the “Friends of FavorHouse” for a Tasting of Delicious Sweet Treats by local area chefs, bakeries, and restaurants. There will be a cash bar, a signature cocktail, and door prizes. Celebrate Valentine’s Day a week early! Purchase tickets at FavorHouse or FavorHouse.org.

FEBRUARY 8 Mardi Gras Boat Parade

FEBRUARY 7 Masked Mardi Gras Ball Pensacola Yacht Club 1897 Cypress Street | Pensacola 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Sunset Grille 10:30am – 11:30am 14050 Canal A Way | Pensacola Come and join the Pirates of Lost Treasure annual Mardi Gras Boat Parade. The parade leaves from Holiday Harbor Marina/Sunset Grille. This annual event features boats decorated as floats with pirates fl inging beads and other booty to those on-shore. Bring the kids, come watch the flotilla, and catch your share of goodies.

FEBRUARY 8 From Hollywood: John Williams and More This formal event, hosted by Krewe of Avant Garde, is the highlight of the Krewe’s season with live music, dinner, cash bar, and the presentation of the 2020 Court. It is an opportunity to enjoy fellowship and merriment. The event is free to member and is $35 for guests/community. Seating is limited. For reservations email estdean@cox.net.

Saenger Theatre 118 S Palafox Street | Pensacola 7:30pm The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra presents music from Star Wars and Star Trek to Jurassic Park and Lincoln, this Pensacola Symphony Orchestra concert highlights beloved movie music from Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino, the legendary John Williams and more! Tickets may be purchased online at PensacolaSymphony.com, by phone at 850.435.2533 or in person at the Symphony Office, 205 E. Zaragoza Street.



“WOW” Wonderful Outdoor Wonders

UWF Mardi Gras Parade

Pensacola Garden Center 1850 N Ninth Avenue | Pensacola 9:30am – 2:00pm

University of West Florida 5:00pm – 7:30pm

This seminar will feature horticulture experts on the topics of creating a wellplanned landscape that will attract many wildlife species, photographing your garden, easy to grow wildflowers, native azaleas, and gardening for birds. The fee of $25 includes delicious refreshments, a catered lunch, and raffle drawings, too.

The inaugural UWF Mardi Gras Parade will bring the festivities of carnival season to campus. Put on your masks and wear your purple, gold and green because whether you come early or come late, UWF will be celebrating Mardi Gras. There will be Cajun food, Zydeco music and fun for all! More than 200 UWF athletes will serve as grand marshalls for the parade to celebrate a tradition of big wins for all sports at UWF.

Detailed program and registration forms are available at PensacolaGardenCenter.com or call (850) 479-3791.

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Valentines Masquerade Ball – A Night in Moulin Rouge


DeLuna Winery 116 East Gonzalez Street | Pensacola 8:00pm – 12:00am Brace yourself for a night of dancing, fire, entertainment, and mystery. Open to singles and couples. Formal attire is requested. A percentage of proceeds from bar sales will benefit De Luna World Education, Inc.

Saenger Theatre 118 South Palafox Place | Pensacola 8:00pm CATS, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber has captivated audiences all over the world! Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater—”Memory”. CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn.

FEBRUARY 20 Chain Reaction’s Playing for a Purpose Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center 913 A I Street | Pensacola 5:30pm – 7:30pm Join our Honorary Chair Justine Simoni for Chain Reaction’s annual Playing for a Purpose event! Guests will enjoy life-size games, a silent auction, and chemistry cocktails & hors d’oeuvres. All proceeds benefit Chain Reaction.

FEBRUARY 21 Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Mardi Gras Parade Downtown Pensacola Begins Spring & Garden Streets 7:30pm The only illuminated nighttime parade in Pensacola! The crowd can expect to be entertained with marching bands, lighted floats and great throws as the Krewe of Lafitte kicks off Pensacola Mardi Gras celebrations. Visit KreweOfLafitte.com.


FEBRUARY 28 – 29

Hot Glass Cold Brew: Roaring 20s

Mardi Gras Bowl 2020 for Jr. Achievement

First City Arts Center 1060 N Guillemard Street | Pensacola 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Cordova Lanes 2111 Airport Boulevard | Pensacola 3:00pm – 6:00pm both days

Join us for a fun, “Great Gatsby” themed fundraising event featuring guest glass artist Scott Darlington! Wear your glitz and glam attire, hint of Gatsby flair, or just come as you are and enjoy the ambiance of this fun event. We will have 20s jazz music by Joe O and friends, gorgeous themed decor by Fiore, beer by Pensacola Bay Brewery, and light food fare. In addition to glass demonstrations, there will also be pottery demos, performing artists, and a gallery opening, showcasing works from FCAC’s Gallery 1060 artists, and an Art Market.

This event will feature a family friendly fun and festive atmosphere, complete with flying moon pies for all those who throw a strike! There will be music, a silent auction, raffles, and much more for the family to enjoy. All proceeds benefit financial literacy education in the Escambia and Santa Rosa County School Districts. Kids are welcome and ages 5 and under free. Call 850-477-1420 to enter your team.

Visit FirstCityArt.org to purchase tickets.

Visit www.VIPPensacola.com for more events! February 2020 | 65

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VIP Pensacola at Studer Community Institute


New Member Kick-off photos & story by Kristina Wright

Gary Rhodes & Don Ruth

Shelley Gourley & Nova Francis

Bob Hoyt & Ann Yoshhashi

Scott Brady & Cory Wilkinson 66


unday’s Child held their annual kick-off event announcing the completion of another great year in fundraising and membership on January 23 at the Studer Community Institute. The event served as the official start of the 2020 grant season. This was a members and sponsors only event, where guests were invited to enjoy light refreshments and listen to the plans for the projected year ahead and the total grant funds allocated for this cycle. President Gary Rhodes greeted the crowd and gave an update on the 2019 Grant winners. David Ard, the Grant Committee co-chair presented information about the grant processes, and some of the process improvements they’ve been working on. Treasurer Cory Wilkinson finished out the presentation with the announcement of the total funds contributed by members and the grant amounts available. To date, Sunday’s Child members have contributed $536,250 and helped fund 16 nonprofit projects serving Pensacola Bay Area citizens, and this year will help four more organizations thanks to generous support from members. Sunday’s Child is now accepting grant applications for the spring with four $25,000 grants to be awarded in June. In 2019, Sunday’s Child raised $100,000 among 168 members that were awarded to local Pensacola Bay Area nonprofit organizations that place value on diversity, inclusion, and equality. Together, members sought to create a culture and community of acceptance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) individuals in the Pensacola Bay Area through giving. The organization started out strong, armed with a mission to award grants for significant charitable and economic initiatives that promote diversity, inclusion, and equality; and were inspired by the nursery rhyme, Monday’s Child, as well as the leadership of Pensacola Impact100. In June of 2014, Sunday’s Child was organized as a Florida 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Today, Sunday’s Child members donate annually. These funds are pooled at the end of the year and divided into $25,000 to $50,000 grants, which are then awarded to eligible local nonprofits or initiatives that address a community need, while also promoting the adoption and compliance of a non-discrimination policy that is comprehensive and addresses LGBTQ individuals as well. In addition, they must show their ability in being an inclusive organization that values diversity.

Maggie Crain, Matt & John Morrow, Marsha Stanton

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Pensacola Opera Proudly Presents Il trovatore Pensacola Opera proudly presents Il trovatore, the final mainstage operatic performance of the 37th season. Verdi’s masterpiece returns to the Saenger stage March 20 & 22, 2020, after last being performed by Pensacola Opera in 1995. Conte di Luna is enamored with the innocent Leonora, but he fears a rival, a troubadour, who has been heard serenading her. A story of love and deception, don’t miss this exciting classic like you have never seen it before. Verdi’s hot-blooded thriller emphasizes

the “grand” in grand opera with exciting twists and turns in this layered story. Stage Director John Hoomes and Lighting and Projections Designer Barry Steele return to Pensacola. This opera receives an update as the setting moves to a post-apocalyptic dystopia, complete with stunning costumes, projections, and lighting crafted for the Saenger stage. “I was intrigued by a postapocalyptic setting primarily because of the limitations that setting imposes on the characters,” states John Hoomes. “Communication has broken down, warring factions have been created, food, water and fuel are scarce, and there is a desperation to survive. Into this setting we drop a dual story of love and a story of revenge. A terrific cast of new and returning artists join Pensacola Opera. Mary Evelyn Hangley joins us as the beautiful Leonora caught in a love triangle between a troubadour, played by Adam Diegel, and the powerful Conte Di Luna, performed by the baritone Dennis Jesse. All the while the gypsy woman, Azucena, performed by Renée Tatum, seeks revenge for her mother’s death.


U.S. News Ranks PSC Online Bachelor’s Degree Program Among Nation’s Best For the second consecutive year, Pensacola State College’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program has been listed among the best in Florida and nation by U.S. News and World Report. In the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs 2020 Edition” listing, Pensacola State’s online BSN program was ranked 3rd among Florida College System institutions. “I was so excited that we ranked in 2019 but I am even more pleased that we improved over last year,” said Pensacola State President Ed Meadows. In 2019, the college’s online BSN program was ranked 10th in Florida and 114th in the nation. Buffi Bailey, coordinator of the BSN program, was proud of the college’s ranking. “Our online BSN program is so successful because we understand our purpose and that is meeting the student where they are on both their professional and academic journey,” Bailey said. “Almost all of my students are full-time working nurses, so the convenience of an online platform meets their needs.” Bailey noted though small, the college’s BSN program strives to provide service to students at the lowest cost in the region.

The Pensacola State BSN program also was the first in the region to earn accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The commissions are two of only three national accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The complete “Best Colleges 2020 Edition” report was released today, Jan. 14, and is available at www.usnews.com/bestcolleges. For more information, contact Sheila Nichols, PSC’s director of marketing at 850-484-1428 or snichols@pensacolastate.edu.

WSRE Announces Change in Top Management Pensacola State College has appointed Jill Hubbs to serve as interim general manager of WSRE and executive director of the WSRETV Foundation. She joined the PBS member station in 1996 and has served as director of Educational Services and Outreach. She is replacing Bob Culkeen, who joined WSRE in 2016 and has been named president and chief executive officer of WTCI in Chattanooga, Tenn. Hubbs is a graduate of Pensacola State College and the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education. A former school teacher, she has successfully launched major early learning initiatives and teacher training programs during her 23 years at WSRE. Most recently, she led the opening of a neighborhood Imagination Station early learning activity center at Weis Elementary School. She is also the award-winning executive producer of several WSRE productions, including “Gulf Islands National Seashore: The Treasure of the Gulf Coast” and “Baseball in Pensacola.” She produced “They Were Their Fathers” in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, resulting in national broadcasts, screening events at the presidential libraries of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and last year’s week-long Reading of the Names at the Wall South in Pensacola’s Veterans Memorial Park, for which she is a founding board member. “Jill lives the mission of public television on and off the job. Her work at WSRE has positively impacted many lives in our community, particularly our children, teachers and military. Bob will be missed, and fortunately Jill is well poised to build upon his successes with a solid team at WSRE and PSC,” said Sandy Cesaretti Ray, PSC’s associate vice president of Community and Government Relations.

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2019 SAFL Champions now in the APDFL Home Games at Myrtle Grove Athletic Park @ 4 PM February 22 BYE

For ticket information: www.pensacolajets.com or Greater Pensacola Jets

February 29 Selma City Vikings


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Bayou Lacombe Cardinals


March 14

Steel City Raptors


March 21

Crescent City Kings

New Orleans, LA

March 28

Tallahassee Redskins


April 4

Emerald Coast Scorpions

Pensacola, FL

April 11

Make up weekend

April 18

Panhandle Crusaders

Pensacola, FL

April 25

Bay County Trailblazers


May 2

Louisiana Lightning

New Orleans, LA

May 9


May 16

Orlando Phantoms

May 23

Make Up Weekend

Orlando, FL

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VIP Pensacola at Court of De Luna Event Space

Krewe of Gatsby Girls

6th Annual Speakeasy Ball photos & story by Kristina Wright


he Krewe of Gatsby Girls always likes to ring in the New Year with style, and this year was no exception. The 6th Annual Gatsby Girls Speakeasy Ball was held at the Court of De Luna Event Space. Classic 1920’s black tie attire was requested as guests were invited to ring in the brand-new decade with themed drinks, decorative displays, and a special seated section for VIP members. Sponsors for the event included Florida Insurance Agency, Mosley Estate Law, The 5 Barrel Brewery, Navy Boulevard Animal Hospital, Solid Roofing, Premier Island Management, Rusted Arrow Boutique, Trident Home Loans, Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery, NAPA Auto parts, Northwest Florida Air Conditioning, Vidacann, Duh! Pensacola, and the Baggett Group at Merrill Lynch. All Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers. The Krewe of Gatsby Girls was formed in 2014, by Angela Crooke, Brennan O’Neil Rogers, and Holly Cummings. New members are nominated in June by members in good standing, and then voted on by the board. The krewe is known for their classy, elegant attire, and focuses on immersing themselves in philanthropy efforts in the community.

Chris & Erica Wysoczynski

Shelby Hamilton & Bethany Lauren

Jennifer Bolster & Ginny Rogan

Jennifer Jackson-Keating & Tammy Usie

Aileen Behny-Perlman & Jeannie Peden

John & Ginger Walden February 2020 | 71

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VIP Pensacola at 6th Annual Speakeasy Ball

Stephanie & Chris Munro

Tony B & Brittany Perez

Chris & Christina Abbot , Kristan & Mike Brinkley


Maegan Leonard & Sarah Dowlatkhah

Bennett Griffith & April King

Chad & Shirley Stacey

Krista Silverman & Angela D’Alessandro

Korey Adkins & Ronni Rhys

Kristin Gause, Nicole Stacey, Derek Gause, Lauren Fennell-Cutter & Erica Benken

Camille Farmer & Jessica Reeder

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Alicia Mendoza & Matilde Keith

Dallas Cain, Homer Jolly & Amy Goetz

Jenny & Travis Shue

Tonya Rich, Jennifer Hart & Angie Laing February 2020 | 73

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Lindsey Cannon What is your hometown, what brought you to PENSACOLA, and how long have you been here? My hometown is Panama City, just a few short hours away. My husband and I relocated to Pensacola in 2011 for job opportunities. My family on my mother and father’s side all live in Pensacola and growing up, I spent almost every holiday and weeks in the summers visiting our family in Pensacola. I have always loved the area, so when the opportunity came for us to move, it was an easy decision. Tell us about your profession. My first job out of college was as a Child Protective Investigator with the Department of Children and Families At the age of 21, I had no idea what I was getting into. What I saw in that line of work was indescribable and truly the most emotional work I have ever done. I saw so many families in pain and suffering every day and felt called to work with those children who could no longer stay safely in their home. What I also knew at that time was that I did not have the education I needed to work successfully with those children on a long-term basis. To prepare myself I knew that I needed go to graduate school. Through the support of my parents and grace of God, I was given the opportunity to go to graduate school for mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling. The program was amazing and allowed me to learn the skills I would need to return to the child welfare system and make a true impact in the lives of children and families. So here I am, 20 years later and far from that 21 year old, wide eyed girl that was just excited to have a job, still striving to make a difference for children and families. Serving as the Regional Executive Director for Children’s Home Society of Florida is an honor and a commitment I don’t take lightly. People often say to me, “I don’t know how you do what you do”. My only response is that my work is a calling, a faith journey and where I am supposed to be. I am proud to work for an organization that is forward thinking and innovative in our approach to working with families and most of all building bridges to success for children. What are some of your favorite things about Pensacola? Being on my boat on the water, Iron Restaurant and my community partnership with businesses and other nonprofits. Give us three words that best describe you. Finish this statement, I AM PENSACOLA because… I am working every day to change the trajectory of the lives of our most vulnerable children right here in our community and I want to be here to see what the next generation of children accomplish including my own.

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photo by Kristina Wright

Child advocate. Funny. Boymom.

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VIP Pensacola, February 2020  

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