Posted February 15, 2006, 1:22 PM EST
FLORIDA To mark half a century of business at the Miami Seaquariumwhere Flipper made his debut and Lolita the Killer Whale now reignsin-house event coordinators Nathalie Betancourt and Carlos Perez hosted Blues by the Bay, a tented bayside evening soiree with a Blues Brothers theme, live jazz, and a splashy dolphin and killer whale show.
About 100 guests gathered to toast both the aquatic theme park and its largest star, Lolita, who happened to be celebrating her own anniversaryshe has been at the Seaquarium for 35 years. Advantage DMS created a special entrance to the tent with red carpet, a Lucite marquee, and blue lighting.
Advantage also provided decor including silhouette cutouts of musicians, a mirrored ball, and dangling musical notes. Staff clad in Blues Brothers-style suits, fedoras, and shades passed crab cakes, coconut shrimp, and chicken quesadillas catered by the Rusty Pelican. Guests nibbled and mingled as the University of Miami Jazz Band played standards.
After M.C. Mike Spencer, the Seaquarium's operations manager, thanked sponsors, a commemorative collage by artist Erika King was unveiled, which captured the park's history in bright colors. The party moved on to Lolita's performance tank, where the 7,000-pound orca sang for the crowd. She then doused them by performing several gigantic belly flops, accompanied by three dolphins that flipped and sped around the tank to the delighted cheers of the audience.
Before departing, guests received tiny stuffed Lolita dolls and Blues Brothers sunglasses as gifts.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez