SOUTH TAMPA – The LampLighters annual fundraiser, Lights Fashion Hope, will have a different look this year.
The April 2 event at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts is themed “A Night on the Boardwalk.” It will feature gourmet tastings from Tampa Bay area restaurants, cocktails, novelty acts, entertainment and fashions from Neiman Marcus modeled on the center’s staircase.
Cheryl Adams, event co-chair, said the change was made because the previous partner, Saks Fifth Avenue, closed it store at West Shore Plaza. The event, which focused on the fashion show and shopping, was held there for several years.
“Neiman Marcus has really filled the void,” she said. “But we won’t have a runway; instead the models will be coming down the stairs.”
She said it also will have more of a party theme to attract men, too, with inside and outside activities – including a beer garden and cigar bar – under a tent.
“We have tied it into ‘Jersey Boys,’ which opens April 8 at the Straz, with the Atlantic City Boardwalk theme,” she said. “There will be singers doing Frankie Valle music, mimes, stilt walkers, tarot card readers.”
Laine Walker, event co-chair, said the organizers are aiming for at least 300 guests. Traditionally the event has drawn between 250 and 276.
The store closing “was the catalyst to make it different. We needed to increase the attendance and the revenue,” Walker said.
The event traditionally raises about $50,000 for the 167-member organization, where Tricia Hancock serves as president.
Hancock said the money is used to send children from Metropolitan Ministries to summer camp and provide healthy food choices at Joshua House.
This year there are twice as many children at Metropolitan Ministries to send because of the opening of Miracle Place, a new home for families in need.