The InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball is the social event of the season, and this year’s outing was spectacular. There is no other soiree that brings together Miami’s A-Listers in one room than Make-A-Wish. The cocktail portion, from 7 to 9 p.m., is a blur of air kisses, shaking hands, running into old friends (who you may not have seen since MAW the year before), gossiping and drooling over diamonds. It’s a time for men to don tuxedos and women to slither into skin-tight dresses with plenty-o-cleavage showing. And to strut through the room John Travolta style.
While the MAW Ball was ably started by Lee Schrager 19 years ago, that mantle has been taken over by father-and-son team Al and Shareef Malnik, who have truly made this cause their own. The very generous Malniks have elevated the Ball to the next level, with the help of some celebrity friends. On Saturday night, for example, we saw Don King, Brett Ratner and Helio Castronoves. And, of course, Burn Notice’s Gabrielle Anwar, who is dating Shareef. The entertainment for the evening was none other than Adam Lambert (Glambert), he of American Idol and guyliner fame.
Aside from the celebrities, the Hotel InterContinental’s ballroom was heaving with Miami’s biggest names. It’s a bit of a blur but here’s who I remember seeing and chatting up: Jay Parker, Lea Black, Ricky Elias, Tara Solomon, Nick D’Annunzio, Michael Capponi, Taylor Erickson, Jim Ferraro, Wayne Boich and Cynthia Marin, Jeanette Stark, Manny Hernandez, Jamie and Asha Elias, Mark and Amanda Tamis, Lana and Michael Bernstein, Juwan Howard, Lisa Petrillo and Bill McCue, Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, Sarah Mirmelli, Drew Mandela, Alan Randolph, Melissa Katz, Sarah Bromley, Joe Day, Jeff Kamlet and Michael Dreiling.
The theme of this year’s MAW Ball was Vaudeville and as such there were minstrel shows and traveling caravans. Imagine men balancing swords on their tongues, scantily clad women with feather fans and a band of misfits. (It was only fitting right after Halloween.) Plus a seafood buffet that would rival Joe’s, and free-flowing alcohol.
Also making the night a huge success were Robert Hill, GM of the Hotel InterContinental Miami, and Norm Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. The tally isn’t in yet, but I’m betting millions were raised between ticket prices and silent and live auction items. Last year, Al and Nancy Malnik donated $1 million to the cause to create the Malnik Family Wish Fund.
While I didn’t stay for the dinner, performance or InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub, the two hours I spent mingling and catching up with all of Miami was more than enough to get me revved up for Miami’s social season. Art Basel is around the corner and that will be a never-ending, weeklong revelry.
Party on, Miami!
Text: Copyright Jacquelynn D. Powers 2013.