Five Not-To-Be-Missed Sarasota Events

Sarasota social butterflies, gadflies and fly guys, we have a treat for you! Here’s a rundown of the most crucial Sarasota events you absolutely, positively must not miss .  .  .  .  .  . straight from the woman who knows best: our dear friend and consummate social guru, Gayle Guynup.

Not only are these THE parties at which to see and be seen .  .  .  .  .  .  but they all benefit wonderful organizations that enrich Sarasota and strengthen the community. We’ll be at all five of these events with bells on (and shoes, and costumes, and black ties)!

Mark your calendars, my dears! (And remember to block off a bit of time with your favorite Nuovo stylists for hair and makeup!)

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A post shared by Christie Brinkley (@christiebrinkley) on Nov 9, 2018 at 1:47pm PST

Christie Brinkley was the special guest star at last year’s Wine, Women & Shoes!

Five Not-To-Be-Missed Sarasota Events

By Gayle Guynup

As someone who formerly covered social events for a living — attending more than 250 events annually for the local daily newspaper — the question I was asked most often was, “What events should I absolutely, positively not miss?”

While this is a very subjective question, there are certain occasions that you just know will be the most talked-about events of the year. So here is my short list of Sarasota events that I will not be missing in 2019-2020.

  1. The grand opening of the Sarasota Art Museum — A long (and I do mean long) awaited event, set for December 7 under a tent at the museum itself (the former Sarasota High School). This grand gala (at $500 a ticket), hosted by Ringling College of Art + Design, is sure to bring out the community elite who are eager to see the transformation of the iconic building into a new cultural/educational hub of our community.
  2. The UnGala Gala — The Evolution, set for October 19 at the Ringling Museum of Art. The big question is, at $375 a ticket, is this really an UnGala or another big gala? For those of you with short memories, the first UnGala was held in 1986 as the antithesis to all the big black-tie galas, enjoying a 24-year run. We will all have to wait until October to see just how the UnGala has evolved in the 10 years since it was last held.
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A post shared by Style Magazine (@stylemagazinesarasota) on Apr 21, 2018 at 7:07pm PDT

  1. I am combining two events here, both hosted by and benefiting Forty Carrots Family Center. The first, of course, is Wine, Women & Shoes, the most over-the-top luncheon of the year, (yes, it’s a luncheon, though it can last about seven hours if you go to the after-party) planned for November 15 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. And then there is the Firefly Gala (pictured above) set for March 28, 2020, also at The Ritz-Carlton. As this is the last year of this popular event, look for some big surprises. As for the entertainer, as always, it is under lock and key until the big announcement at Wine, Women & Shoes. Word is, they’ve saved the best for last.
  2. One of my favorite events is a relative newcomer to Sarasota’s social scene, The Muse Luncheon, benefiting the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and planned for January 21, 2020 at Michael’s On East. The brainchild of Debbi Benedict, the luncheon has featured luminaries Oskar Eustis, artistic director of New York’s Public Theater and, last year, Ali MacGraw of Love Story, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” fame. (Photographed below with Debbi!) Both were incredible. So, who is this year’s celeb? I am sworn to secrecy—but I suggest you get your tickets early.
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A post shared by Debbi Benedict (@debbi_benedict) on Jan 22, 2019 at 1:16pm PST

  1. I could fill this last slot with about 20 events, and though I hate to double dip on my choices, I have to pick Ringling College of Art + Design again, this time for their Evening at the Avant Garde—where costumes rule the day. Every year, 400+ guests get into the spirit of the evening with elaborate, fanciful and sometimes ghoulish costumes, as guests await the always creative arrival of RCAD President Larry Thompson, and his wife, Pat. Fun, fun and more fun planned for the Ringling College campus on March 21.

See you there!

Want the deets on ALL philanthropic soirees to see and be seen in Sarasota? Visit Gayle at the Gulf Coast Impact online magazine!