They could have danced all night. The premier event of our social season, the 32nd Tiara Ball, was the most fun ever. First mingling around the silent auction tables then enjoying an evening of dinner and dancing, the 330-plus guests all agreed it was a highly successful evening in so many ways.
Nancy Porter and Monica Haufler were the co-chairs. All donated funds will be given to Florida institutions of higher learning for cancer research and cancer education.
Monica Haufler captured the essence of this Marion County philanthropy saying, “We are doctors, attorneys, business owners and housewives. In short, we are all of you. We are everyday people working every day to find a cure for cancer.”
Nancy Porter shared, “Since its inception 32 years ago, the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research, Inc., was instrumental in raising more than $3,000,000 for cancer research and education in Florida.”
As is the tradition of the Ocala Royal Dames, two debutantes were introduced to society. This year, Katherine Alexandra Sokol, 2006 debutante, announced the two outstanding young women. Laura Katherine (Katie) Chappell, daughter of Chris and Joan Chappell, and Anna Ross, daughter of Jim and Melanie Ross, both looked especially lovely in their exquisite gowns. These young women have already proven themselves to be exceptional and will surely move forward with successful careers and community involvement.
Each year, the Ocala Royal Dames select one notable individual to join the coveted brotherhood as a Royal Knight. Royal Knight Lt. Col. Edward H. Johnson presented the honor to Dr. David Sokol.
“This year’s nominee has made innumerable time, talent and treasure contributions which reflect his unique background as a statistics Ph.D., an Anglican priest, author of numerous books and CDs and as a winemaker and grape grower,” stated Lt. Col. Johnson.
It was such a fun evening that guests lingered long into the night. The dance floor was filled with happy party-goers. The live auction featured many exceptional items, including dinner for 15 guests provided by award-winning Fresh Green Tomato, a round of golf for four donated by Adena Golf and Country Club and a week in Manhattan at the Manhattan Club given by Kitty Potapow.
Karen Zeedyk, president of the Ocala Royal Dames, says, “I believe if we focus on the mission and why we are here, we can accomplish anything together. I know the Ocala Royal Dames are a force to be reckoned with. I am humbled and honored to be president. Attitude reflects leadership. I believe in action. I promise excellence to the organization, and I expect it in return. I offer my best wishes and happiness to you and your families as we all look forward to a successful 2018.”
With a “Wild Safari” theme for the event, incomparable cuisine, exceptional items auctioned by Jim Payton and music provided by Justin Fredericks, every guest felt the excitement of the evening. Many thanks are given to Marilyn and Joe Smith who generously gave $10,000 for the Tiara Ball from a private foundation.