Gala was a wonderland

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April 14, 2005|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If you went to last weekend's gala for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, you now have an idea of what Alice must have felt like after popping into Wonderland. As you entered the ballroom, you were greeted by an assortment of strange and magical creatures. A round table of hors d'oeuvres was "inhabited" by a sparkly creature in a tall hot-pink wig. As she moved, the table did, too, like a skirt around her, turning her into a living lazy Susan.

"Don't call me lazy, but you can call me Susan," the "table" announced. Meanwhile, a slinky contortionist curled and uncurled on a nearby pedestal. A mysterious looking fellow on stilts high-stepped through the crowd.

It all certainly lived up to its name -- "Cirque Du Cure Gala." Later in the evening, the 300 guests had a chance to get into the act, during one of the gala's traditions, the Fund A Cure Auction. That's when folks loudly compete with pledges that go directly to fund research for a cure for diabetes. This year, Deb Nelson -- who co-chaired the event with Duffy Weir and Terry Nolan -- says that one part of the night raised some $50,000. Now, that's a feat worthy of any cirque!

A taste of Italy

Meanwhile, guests at this year's shindig for St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation got to take a little trip without having to go any farther than the Hyatt Regency Baltimore.

The party was themed "An Italian Holiday." Partygoers got their first taste of sunny Italy in the warm greetings from hospital President and CEO John Tolmie and wife Lynn. Who needed to take photos, when a couple of caricaturists were on hand to capture the moment for guests like Bob Caret and Liz Zoltan? Also spotted in this "tour group" as they mixed on the mezzanine were party heads Kenneth and Nicole Suter, Raphael Langford and Julie Mercer, Phil Hoag and Mary Carroll Alderman, Dr. Daniel and Carol Schwartz, Mark Higdon, Ted and Nancy Herget, Michael and Lois Hodes, Dennis Rasmussen and Barbara Rookard, King and Pat Corbett, Fran Gregory, Larry LaMotte and Shirley Bigley, Linda Dwyer and Russell Smith.

Family center fete

The Hampden Family Center celebrated its 10th anniversary at Evergreen Carriage House last weekend. And, according to board member Pam Malester, there was plenty of celebrate.

"When the center opened 10 years ago, its original intention was to be open three days a week," Pam says.

"Now it's open seven days a week and has programs and services for children, adults and seniors in the community -- like student mentoring, GED classes, senior luncheons, health fairs. Ten years ago, we knew there was a need, but we didn't know how well we would be able to meet that need."

Culinary Extravaganza

Folks in the know know they can always count on the annual Culinary Extravaganza put on by Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.

About 375 people filled the ballroom at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel to sample gourmet creations by 28 area chefs. Executive Director Tom Grazio says one of the big crowd pleasers was the Maryland crab soup, courtesy Government House chef John Leszczynski. And then there were the cakes from chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes.

Guests filled their tummies while Meals on Wheels fulfilled its goal of $150,000.

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