By Ashley Marco Posted February 23, 2012, 3:12 PM EST
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA The Love and Hope Ball returned Saturday night to Hollywood, Florida, where 600 guests at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa helped raise nearly $1 million for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. The money includes what was raised at the ball's preview party last November. Boosting the fund-raising this year was participation from Barry Gibb, front man for the Bee Gees.
According to Love and Hope executive chairwoman Sandra Levy, the event’s attendance is always considerably higher when Gibb is scheduled to perform. “We are one of the only charities in the city who have a legend like Barry Gibb as part of our committee,” Levy said. ”[He] is our International chairman, along with his wife, Linda, who has been on the committee for approximately 26 years. This year, his last song [was] 'Stayin’ Alive.' ” The singer-songwriter also donated an autographed guitar for the night's silent auction.
The evening began with a cocktail reception and full buffet presented by the resort, and the design included tables topped with black and white damask linens and small bouquets of red roses—the gala's signature symbol. Two curtains opened to reveal the dinner set up in an adjacent room, a space that decor company Xquisite Events filled with pink accents. Alternating between floral arrangements of pink roses and hydrangeas and mirrored centerpieces layered with pink roses and floating tea light candles, the dinner tables were covered in pink, tinsel-covered linens.
Debbie Taylor & Standing Ovation performed during the meal, where each guest started with his or her own jar of caviar placed inside a small, illuminated heart-shaped ice sculpture. The night concluded with a concert by Gibb.