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The word “inspire” never held so much depth and meaning as it did at the inaugural Inspirata Gala on January 19 benefiting the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Florida. Volunteers, mentors, and special guests gathered together at the A La Carte Event Pavilion to support the charity with an evening of laughter, and tears of joy.
The planning process began one year prior to the event when committee chairwoman Linda Miller recruited Tara Liaschenko of Link Event Professionals to design an event that would motivate guests to become Big Brothers and Sisters-mentors to children in need of older role models.
Upon entering the pavilion, partygoers were greeted by entertainers and models wearing monochromatic costumes to evoke a world that lacked creativity and opportunity. The music playing in the lobby also reflected the flavorless theme, with unsympathetic melodies and an electric violinist, Ian Wackholt, performing certain pieces repeatedly. Toward the end of the cocktail hour, guests were instructed by a Wizard of Oz-esque voice to make their way through the ballroom doors for the main event-the dream sequence.
Inside, the atmosphere abruptly changed from dull and monotonous to dazzling and extravagant. The ballroom was decorated with luminous shades of white linens, courtesy of Panache: A Classic Party Rental Company, complete with foam-core clouds shaped into the Big Brothers Big Sisters logo and suspended at various levels throughout the space. Three different centerpieces topped each table, including one with a shiny silver key floating in a floral gel-filled vase with a bouquet of fluffy, bleached ostrich feathers. The key was used throughout the event as a symbol representing the attendees as the key to, or active influencer in, a child's life.
Colorful lighting techniques courtesy of Bay Stage Lighting helped bring the excitement and creativity to life. Even the waitstaff appeared to be in a dreamlike state in matching satin striped pajamas.
After dinner, guests participated in a live auction; the evening closed with a musical performance by the Holograms, handled by Spellbound Productions. But before leaving, patrons filled up pink Chinese takeout boxes-bearing the date and title of next year's event, “Candy Land"-with treats from the candy bar.