Philly has never met a food competition they didn’t like.
Some of my favorites this year were the 2nd Annual Oyster Shucking contest at the Oyster House (above), The Burger Brawl to benefit Meredith Elementary School. That was a ballsy challenge too as the event was the brain child of Maggie and Rob Wasserman, owners of Rouge and 500˚ where most folks believe has the best burger in town. BTW I stopped in 500˚ the other day and they now have a Turkey Burger and a burger that comes with egg on top of it. Go early as they sell out quickly. I loved the Battle For Cheesesteak Supremacy at Square 1682, but I think the best Philly Food Competition held in the City this year was the The 1st Annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards Food Truck Competition. What a fun day at the Piazza.
The Center City District’s 20th Anniversary was significant because our City is so damn clean now. Plus the guys walking around in teal are really helpful to tourist in finding their way around town. I have lived in Center City for 22 years and I know what it used to look like. Kudo’s to everyone that works at CCD, and the businesses that support it. The transformation of Center City’s clean streets began with a few key people, including the continuous leadership of President and CEO Paul R. Levy. Above Paul toasts with his guests to another 20 years of success. L-R CEO of the Philadelphia-based Parkway Corporation Joseph Zuritsky, Ron Rubin, Chairman of PREIT and Mayor Nutter in the back row.
The cause was notable and hosted by two of my favorite girls: Maria and Eliana Papadakis, pictured with Justice Sandra Schultz Newman and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell at the Marriott Downtown for the Global Conservation Gala to support conservation and the Philadelphia Zoo‘s effort to preserve habitats and endangered species around the world. Another reason this event was so special was the decor. It was the 2nd most interesting decorating event I went to this year. The lighting, the design, the details on our place settings. Just gorgeous and they really cared about conveying the theme to it’s guests.The Indonesian Cultural Club greeted guests, and a Gamelan Semara Santi Indonesian percussion orchestra helped transport guests to Indonesia. The theme was carried throughout the room as planned by Mary Love, director of events at the Zoo. Starting with a blank slate and instructions from her boss, Amy Shearer, Mary created a room that put you in the middle of a rainforest, with tropical trees projected on the walls, a large screen video wall with orangutans in their natural habitat, and lighting that completed the theme (created by Advanced Staging Productions). The decor, which included magnificent centerpieces, lamps and silk napkins were nice Southeast Asian touches done by Penncora Productions.

The Power Shift: Dedicated to strengthening the next generations of Philadelphia’s business, political, and civic leaders, The Power Shift and event co-chairs, Nicole A. Cashman of Cashman & Associates and Dr. Keith Leaphart of Replica Creative: Design + Print, with this years winners and committee. “It’s a think tank for the next generation.” Great networking event at the cocktail party too.

Social Scene Queen: Miss Pennsylvania USA – AmberJoi WatkinsIn Memoriam: Danny Bonaduce and Amy Railsback Bonaduce no longer on the social scene since the demise of WYSP. The duo can now be scene hobnobbing in Seattle as the biggest thing to hit there since Curt Cobain and the first Starbucks. But we still have Wizard World’s Comic Con every summer where you can see some of your favorite pop culture peeps like Margot Kidder from the Superman movies. So much fun going to an event like this, seeing celebs, but especially all the fans that love them.One of the most well attended events by the public, City of Hope’s “Let them Eat Cake” competition. For $40 you can eat as much wedding cake, and bring it home that you like. Plus the money goes to charity. Salivating yet? Get there early the place gets packed, then everyone’s on a sugar high and well you’ll want to leave if your me. Tip bring a bag to carry home your doggie containers.
Zarwin Baum March Madness NCAA Kick Off Party. A hard to get invitation, even though over 800 people are invited to go. Large screen TV’s are set up in a couple rooms to watch the NCAA basketball games. Held at the Top of The Tower in the Bell Atlantic Building for the past two years, guests enjoy a day of food, catered by B Smith Catering, games and networking during the 8 hour event.
Brianna and Josh Alcorn’s wedding. I caught this great shot of Brianna and her grand dad Bob Gaudio.
If you’ve ever wanted to try every vendor at the Reading Terminal Market, then “Valentine to the Market” is your ticket. So much fun to hang in the market after hours, there were DJ stations, as well as live entertainment in a few nook and crannies that had a few folks up and dancing, or lounging on couches enjoying themselves. The VIP party preceded the main event and including a cooking contest with some of your favorite chefs. Check it out this year on February 25. Buy tickets for this year’s event here.I love covering fun notable, sociable birthday parties, weddings and other events (in Center City) and sharing them with my readers. (If you hire me you get to keep the photos.) Notable you say, well if you throw a party like Carol Tamburino throws one for her little girl Sabrina Tamburino, then I’m so there (and this was just for her birthday lunch with the girls.) I love when I get to be an observer at these events especially the Tamburino-Thorne Halloween Party.Girls shopping night out.
Thanks to all these girls for allowing me to chronically their lives over the past 4 years. Looking forward to covering Erin Elmore’s big bash birthday coming up in January. Erin 3rd row on the left, celebrated with her girls at Union Trust last year.
An event near and dear to my heart, the one I have in honor of my sister Judy Wilkins and Gilda’s Club of SJ 2nd Annual Event at Flemings Steakhouse. Above my mom’s BFF Shirl, and mom (r) enjoy themselves at the event. We raised over $10,000 (including donations made online from those who couldn’t make it. THANK YOU Billy Sullivan, Flemings Steakhouse, Gloss PR, and you)The Pennsylvania Horticultural’s Azalea Garden Party was actually in the Azalea Garden this year.
The First Annual Geek Awards. A great idea conceptualized by Geekadelphia Co-Founders Eric Smith & Tim Quirino I love being that close to Mensa members. Maybe it will rub off?
The new Phillie Hunter Pence gives an impromptu strip tease at the Shane Victorino Fashion Show at the Union League, and why not he had just signed a multi-year monied contract, at the time he was living with Cliff Lee and family at 1706, and he’s dating a hot Playboy playmate Shannon James he met a few weeks earlier at the Hamels Foundation event at the Crystal Tea Room. Another fabulous event this year.
I said it went I wrote about it in June, PAWS is one of my favorite events. Great concept having sit down dinners prepared by some of the fanciest restaurants in town. I love this shot with the Chef in the back giving the thumbs up!The tickets are pricey, but not because of elitism, held at the grand Union League, but because they want to raise the most money possible to create a safe environment for the kitties and puppies of this world. For your dollar you get a lot of bang for your buck. The creme de le creme show up for this one, it’s right up there with the Academy Ball, although this year’s ball is a bit scaled down and scattered through out Center City with the creme eating at XIX and friends at Estia and the Palm.
Audrey Claire’s Cook opens on 20th Street. Great concept, a beautiful space and can be a fun night out with friends too; the cherry on the 20th Street restaurant row. If you look closely there’s Chef Georges Perrier prepping for the first night.
PIFA – Look for PIFA II in 2013. I wish they had kept the Eiffel Tower. I wasn’t concerned that it didn’t blend in with the space. It’s “art” after all. If we can have the Rocky Statue at the steps of the Art Museum, we should have been able to embrace this sculpture in the under used lobby space. The second annual Feastival took place under the glow of the Ben Franklin Bridge at Pier 9 in September. Not only was it an important fundraising event for much-needed money for the annual Live Arts/Philly Fringe, but the details that went into creating a fun, innovating, eye candy atmosphere put it first place as THE Best Event of the year. It reminds me of the now defunct grand Foundation of Architecture Gala Ball’s which were held in nearly finished buildings around the City for over a decade. They ended about a decade ago. It’s a must attend cause it’s one of those parties everyone is talking about the next day.
Hadas and Dan find each other on and are living happily ever after.
Any event I can get away and spend with friends even if it’s my own New Year’s Eve Party. Kristyn Aldrich and Megan Smith, Brownstone PR (Megan’s in today’s Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the top entrepreneurs under 30 in the city of Philadelphia.) Below is my favorite social picture I took this year taken at the Nicole Miller gets her mug on The Palm’s wall hosted by Philly Style Magazine. I called them “The Next Generation of Ones to Watch: Jesse Rendell, Nicole Paloux, Beka Rendell, Lilliana Vazquez, Patrick McGrath and Charles Paloux”
Happy New Year, and thank you my readers and especially my advertisers for making all my dreams come true. (We got over 1.4 million hits on PCC in 2011. That’s a 500,000 growth over 2010 [PS contact me for advertising opportunities] ) XOXO HughE Dillon,