The Specktacle, a star-studded benefit for Special Olympics, was, in fact, just that: a star-studded benefit—and a Specktacle.
Among the celebs to grace the red carpet (all 10 feet of it) were actor Kevin Porter (of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and General Hospital fame), First Coast News meteorologist/reporter Lew Turner, Jordyn Jackson and Shawn Fisher of Flagship Romance, Face of Fox 30 and American Idol season 8 contestant Sharon Wilbur, First Coast Connect producer/host Melissa Ross, county court judge candidate Ruth Ann Hepler, Jacksonville Axemen co-founder/head coach Spinner Howland, artist Yvonne Lozano, WJCT producer/director Karen Feagins, American Idol season 8 contestant AJ Neaher, Ms. Senior Jacksonville 2012 Patricia Richardson, writer/actor Moonpie and host of The Willow, The Willow. Also in attendance: an autographed photo of the most decorated gymnast in American history Shannon Miller, a pair of gloves worn by my new favorite Jaguars player Laurent Robinson and two bottles of Capt. Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Hot Sauce.
Photos by Kelsey Morrow (except for the crappy one of me and my brother taken with my iPhone). For all photos from the event, visit my Specktacle for Special Olympics album on Facebook.
As for it being a Specktacle, there were heated bidding wars in the live auction, grown men posing atop fiberglass sculptures of jaguars, microphone malfunctions, an injured sea turtle (not a real one, of course),a hot flat iron left unattended, inappropriate photos in a manila envelope and the hostess nearly falling off the stage (that would be me).
Most of all, however, it was FUNdraiser that collected more than $4,000 for Special Olympics of Duval County under the auspices Jacksonville’s Dancing With the Stars. While I am Specktacularly proud of the event, I absolutely, positively could not have pulled off it off without the assistance, support and expertise of Billy Speckman, Andy Zarka, Marlo Zarka, Kristie Allen, Debbie Rhoden, Lew Turner, AJ Neaher, Jennifer Hill, Kelsey Morrow, Chef Chriss Brown of 927 Events, European Street Cafe, Bold City Brewery and my Jacksonville Magazine family.
I also want to thank everyone who came to the event—and to those who bought tickets even though they knew they couldn’t make it, just to support the cause. And finally, a great big gracias to the folks who donated items to the auction and raffle.
Brian Bradtke of B2 Enterprises
Adam Burch of Adrenaline Alligator Adventures
Steve Christiansen of Local Haunts
Yoanna House (yoannahouse.net)
Yvonne Lozano of YCL Art
Tim & Shana Massett of Sun-Ray Cinema
Tom McManus of Suck It Up! Productions
Casey Nichols of the Jacksonville Suns
Kevin Porter of Iconic Innovations
Renzo Sheppard of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Cecily Sorensen of Firehouse Subs
Rachel Stromberg of Mad Cowford Improv
Vicki Sullivan of the Body Balance Institute
Danny VanWagnen of TheJaxStache.com
* * *
Black Sheep Restaurant
Cross Training San Marco
Eden Cross, animal communicator
Edwin Watts Golf Academy
FSCJ Artist Series
Chef Kenny Gilbert
Jacksonville Film Festival
Jake Lukic/Z Studio
Off I Go
Shannon Miller Lifestyle
SIT (Southern Inspired Treats)
St. Johns Town Center—Fashion’s Night Out
I cannot begin to thank everyone involved enough, I was overwhelmed with the turn out, overwhelmed with your support and overwhelmed with the love.
If only my snazzy kicks could have stood up under the pressure.