Tuesday, February 11, 2003


Good sports get together for good works

By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

They roasted, toasted, boasted and ate plenty well last weekend on the social circuit, making for a red-hot Saturday night despite the blustery winds whipping around everyone's tuxedo cuffs as they hurried from parking lots to parties.

Centerpiece of the evening was Super Ball, benefiting Children's Theatre and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. About 600 dressed to the teeth - lots of black ball gowns, lots of strapless, despite the chill - and paid $75 to $125 each for the third annual do at Paul Brown Stadium Club East.

Guests wandered among oversized soccer balls, baseballs and tennis balls as they mixed 'n' mingled at a cocktail hour and silent auction - it usually makes about $10,000, said Krista Katona Pille of Children's Theatre - then raided five dinner stations dishing up salads, pastas, pork and beef tenderloins and smoked salmon.

All that before working off the food to music by the Mistics. And here's how you know it was a good party: People stayed late and danced lots on the way to making the organizations an estimated $50,000.

Oh, and another way you know it's a good one: Last year's party drew 300. Word of mouth doubled it this year.

Meanwhile, up the street at the Hyatt, about 300 showed up for LifeCenter's second annual $150-a-head Up Close and Personal, a dinner and roast with such name jocks as Anthony Munoz, Johnny Bench, Dave Parker and Ted Power lobbing barbs at one another.

Sponsors and their guests got to mix it up with the jocks at a private reception where they tried to get them to talk about their roasting strategies. No luck.

The rest of the guests hung out in the foyer of the Hyatt's ballroom, chatting it up over cocktails and checking out the silent auction - a ton of sports memorabilia, most of it autographed.

Around the corner in the Banker's Club atop Fifth Third Bank's Fountain Square headquarters, ballet tech ohio rolled out the carpet for 75 guests at its third annual Love the Arts Celebrity Dinner.

Some dinner: steak Diane, sugar spiced salmon and bananas Foster. Dance tunes came from the III-D Jazz and Dance Band.

The early part of the $80-a-head evening was taken up by a silent auction with tons of gourmet baskets, beauty products, vacations and hotel packages. Good enough stuff to cause a major traffic jam in the long room where the goods were displayed.

And good enough, says board president Marvel Gentry Davis, to make lots of bucks (more than $5,000.)

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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