Inflatable art characters were among the guests invited to the Make-a-Wish Garden Party, hosted by Al and Nancy Malnik at their Ocean Ridge estate on Sunday afternoon. Six characters created by Miami art collective Friends With You added a colorful, whimsical touch to the private event, which preceded the 17th annual InterContinental Miami Make-a-Wish Ball, taking place November 5.
The Malniks are lifetime benefactors of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, which aims to grant more than 500 wishes to children with threatening medical conditions in 2011. This was the sixth consecutive year the couple has hosted the spring garden party at their home.
The event, which ran from 4 to 6 p.m. was a casual cocktail affair, with passed hors d'oeuvres by Silver Sac Catering. Entertainment was provided by DJ Joe Dert and by the Friends With You characters—Malfi, MR. TTT, Rainbow King, Buddy Chubb, MR. TT, and Zoo-Zoo—who mingled with guests by the Malniks' oceanfront pool.
“The theme of this year’s event was 'Avant Garden,'“ said Shareef Malnik, Make-a-Wish Ball chairman. “When we looked for a partner artist that could play a large role in creating a magical and youthful environment, Friends With You was the obvious choice.”
Malnik pointed to the art collective's popularity during December's Art Basel Miami Beach as an indicator that the characters would contribute to the party's mood of hope and youthful fun. “The characters absolutely succeeded in bringing great cheer to the crowd of supporters who come out year after year.”
Another first for this year's garden party was the announcement of the celebrity M.C. for the live auction portion of the ball—Burn Notice star Gabrielle Anwar, who was in attendance.