They saw red, and they were happy about it

MARYLAND SCENE

Around Town

October 05, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,Special to the Sun

When it rains, it pours. And, this time, we're not talking weather. We're in the thick of Baltimore's fall party season, and the wing-dings are coming at us fast and furious.

Like the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning hoop-la at the Enoch Pratt Library. Executive director Ruth Ann Norton wasn't the only one there seeing red. Everyone was. After all, the party theme was centered on the color. Ruth Ann says the whole room had a red glow -- thanks to red lighting, red tablecloths, red centerpieces of roses and Shasta daisies, and red party favors of feather boas, beads, and yo-yos. To cap it off, the evening's repast had the rosy theme going. Salad with strawberries, tomato tart, salmon, and a martini bar that specialized in cosmopolitans.

"We were drowning in red," Ruth Ann says with a laugh, "but it was great!" She adds that most of the 335 folks who turned up were also turned out in various shades of the color.

But one thing that didn't end up in the red was the evening's bottom line. The get-together raised at least $55,000 for the coalition.

Most folks probably wouldn't be too crazy about having their dance party referred to by the slang term "belly rub." But in the case of the Humane Society of Baltimore County, you couldn't find a better fit. That's because the Humane Society's recent party, "Black Tie and Tails," included human and canine guests. All enjoying dinner and dancing at the Sheraton Hotel in Towson. Humane Society executive director Frank Branchini says the night's guest list included about 200 people and between 50 and 75 dogs (You try counting them!). Just like last year's premiere of the dual species bash, the dogs were very well behaved, according to Frank. He says one of the evening's highlights was the dance performance by Susan Brogan and her dog Jazz and Lynn Franklin and her pooch Sam. Frank says the four are members of a freestyle dog dance club, Chesapeake Rock N' Rovers, that actually holds competitions. Not only were the "dancers" loads of fun to watch, but Frank says there was one spectator, a large yellow Labrador, who seemed fascinated by the dance and kept edging closer and closer to the dance floor. Frank says watching the Lab watching the dancers added to the show. The party added some $40,000 to Humane Society coffers.

Talk about a spectacular scene. If you were out at Shawan Downs last Saturday, you know. Sunny weather enhanced the gorgeous sight of green, green, green hills and valley, picture-perfect rows of white tents and picket fences, and -- in the middle of it all -- magnificent steeds running a steeplechase course. This was the third year of The Legacy Chase, and the crowd of 10,000 shows that the race is taking its place alongside other Maryland equestrian traditions like the Hunt Cup.

Co-founder Charlie Fenwick says this year was the largest crowd ever. He says folks are realizing this is a concrete event, what with 980 horses competing this year for $137,000 in purse money.

Founding member Greg Barnhill says they don't know yet what the "purse" is for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the race's beneficiary this year. But he points out that the day is becoming a real family event, with one row of tents, called the "Legacy Fair" (new this year), offering all sorts of kids and family activities. Too much to do, too little time.

"You had to make a point to stop and watch the races," Greg says, "because there were so many people there to catch up with."

National Coalition of 100 Black Women

The Martin's West ballroom was filled with more than 800 guests for the "14th Annual Torchbearer Awards Breakfast." With that kind of turnout, the Baltimore Metropolitan Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women could have turned it into a fund-raiser. But, instead of using the annual event to raise money, the group prefers to use the morning to raise spirits by acknowledging some Baltimore- and D.C.-area women for their community service. This year, 16 women claimed that honor. The celebratory mood is why all the volunteers wore dazzling white suits and dresses, as they helped guests find their seats.

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