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Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

Tampa Bay's Dancing With the Stars

Sparkling in Grand Champions crowns, Austin Schonbrun and Kelle Chancellor won for their dips, flips, fancy footwork and the most $1 votes to help Tampa Bay's Dancing With the Stars waltz up $300,000 for Hands Across the Bay and its ongoing charitable work. Austin follows the lead of his sister, Amber McDonnell, last year's winner.

Julie and Steve Weintraub staged a British Invasion for 600 black-tie guests Saturday,from Pimm's Cup cocktails to fish and chips, shepherd's pie and bangers and mash, while 10 celebrities paired with Fred Astaire Dance Studio pros showed off months of practice, foxtrot to cha cha. Iliana Stoilova got the most pre-event online votes. Judges chose Don Allen and Kendall Kirkham as Best Male and Female contestants and Elizabeth Palascak won the People's Choice audience vote.

Cherie and Harvey Schonbrun were surprised to be named Philanthropists of the Year; Eric Piburn, 11, was delighted to receive the Kindness Award. Gleeful guests, domestic violence survivors and gala beneficiaries from HUG (Help US Gather); Heroes of St. Pete Police and Fire; Honor Flight of West Central Florida; Troop Rewards and Pepin Academies danced onto the stage as the votes were tallied.

3rd annual Dreamkeeper's Ball

For decades spent making Florida children healthier, safer and smarter, Betty Castor and Sam Bell received the inaugural Brian McEwen Award at the Dreamkeeper's Ball sponsored by Champions for Children. Decades? How about a century of combined life-changing leadership and legislation. The award memorializes the agency's late executive director and will now be given annually.

Guests enjoyed a more casual, but still dressy dinner by Legends Catering on Sept. 29 at the Pavilion @ Steinbrenner Field. Sharon Burton-Hicks reported on the diaper program she launched, an idea born at the last gala. Thousands of diapers have been collected and made available to Champions' clients free of charge as a benefit of program participation. One in three babies in the U.S. suffer from "diaper need" which creates financial, health and safety risks for families.

By sharing his own parenting experiences at three Champions' classes, Bay News 9's Roy De Jesus made the donor appeal really personal and really successful, doubling previous years.

Boys & Girls Clubs Steak Dinner

Kids ruled at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay's 35th annual Steak Dinner celebration, from delivering the benediction to presenting the 2018 Community Hero award to Jamie and Vic Holcomb and his mother, Virginia Kaul. Vic was only 4 when his dad died and the Interbay club became like a second home. The family have been supporters ever since, including Vic's daughter Kayla Holcomb who is an associate board member of the Metro Denver clubs.

The youngsters certainly impressed the 450 guests they joined for steak and cheesecake donated by Outback Steakhouse on Sept. 27.

"I see our future in the room," said event sponsor Brian Best, CEO of GTE Financial.

WWE superstar Titus O'Neil, a club alum himself, echoed that and invited all youth in the room to be his guests at the WWE Live Holiday Tour at Amalie Arena.

Live auction bids for seven South Africa safaris,the VIP Yankees luncheon and a Lowe's hurricane prep kit with generator, chainsaw, walkie-talkies and more helped collect more than $200,000.

Contact Amy Scherzer at ascherzer@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3332. Follow @Amy_Scherzer.

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