Palm Beach Heart Ball Debuts Heart-Healthy Theme With Fruit, Vegetable Decor

By Ashley Marco February 22, 2012, 1:50 PM EST

Photo: Lucien Capehart

American Heart Association’s Palm Beach Heart Ball
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The 57th annual Palm Beach Heart Ball, the American Heart Association’s oldest heart gala in the country, strayed from its usual Valentine’s theme this year for a heart-healthy garden motif, complete with fruits, vegetables, and real trees. More than 360 guests attended the “Gardens for the Heart” event Friday at Mar-a-Lago.

“We're focusing on natural, healthy, organic,” said Samantha Whiteman, gala director for the American Heart Association. “We have trees in the actual ballroom, centerpieces made of fresh fruits and vegetables that will be donated later in the night to people in need. The smells of the garden—the whole feeling will be very outdoorsy, very natural.”


Staffers passed hors d' oeuvres and Bacardi cocktails alongside the pool during the cocktail hour, while members of the Palm Beach Symphony played. Three-tiered green sculptures of fruit baskets, filled with real apples, flanked each end of the pool, while highboys dressed in white linens were topped with centerpieces of candles and red bell peppers. 

Inside the ballroom, Bruce Sutka of Sutra International Design designed an indoor garden party. Tables draped in green linens had alternating centerpieces—some had baskets filled with fruits and vegetables, and others had miniature faux lemon and orange trees. Alex Donner and his orchestra played during the three-course dinner on a stage decorated in lush greenery.

Among the night's live auction lots was a dance with Dancing With the Stars cast member Tony Dovolani. Mar-a-Lago owner and operator Donald Trump also got involved in the bidding action and pledged $50,000 in the name of virtuoso pianist Lola Astanova.

Guests left the event with luxury gift bags that included items by sponsors Black River Caviar and Van Cleef & Arpels.

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