What's the recipe for a great party? Combine food and drinks from some 50 area restaurants with nonstop music from several blues bands. Blend well at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park. Pour in a couple thousand guests. Serve at slightly cool temperatures, garnished with a sliver of moon over the Domino Sugars sign. Voila! You have "Maritime Magic 2008," Living Classrooms' annual bash.
"This is the best party in Baltimore. Everybody comes," said Donyel Hood, marketing director for Merritt Athletic Club. She and friend Kara Kash-
ner, a SC Johnson account representative, were just a couple of the many 40-somethings that helped give the party an enviable edge.
"[Living Classrooms] has the youngest party crowd of any fundraiser; the most hip, the most fun of the year," said Lisa Schatz, owner of the trendy Fells Point clothing store Cupcake.
Some of Baltimore's seasoned partygoers, such as architects Steve Ziger, Jamie Snead, Ashley Homes chief operating officer Deni Tabor, Constellation Energy's public affairs managing director Mary Dempsey, and Verizon's Vice President of Government Affairs Paul Wood mixed it up with folks newer to the city's fundraiser scene, such as Howard County utility worker George Gibson and his pals from Under Armour: e-commerce planner Brandy Chrissey, executive assistant Aleah Scheick, and allocation analyst Quinten Watkins.
"It's pretty casual. It's not too stuffy. So, we always have a good time," said Shannon Wolf, R2Integrated director of Web client services.
For friend Steven Kruskamp, 1st Mariner Bank e-commerce marketing officer, the party's appeal was simpler: "All the food. And the beer!"
Good parties yield great sound bites
Here are some interesting overheard remarks:
* At the Women's Board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital's "Best Dressed Sale Preview Party" at the Evergreen Carriage House. It was a conversation between event co-chair Lisa Barnhill and supporter/model Mary Kay Nabit about one particular "gently used" donation:
LB: "I have to get this. Isn't it the cutest little dress?"
MKN: "I know. It was mine."
* At the Hilton Baltimore Grand Opening Celebration, when Olympic superstar Michael Phelps made an unannounced surprise appearance. Hilton director of multicultural sales Anita Nunez said, "He looked really good, but I'd rather see him with his Speedos on."
* At the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's "Harbor Gala - Under the Sea" at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel. The big surprise for St. John Properties senior vice president Jerry Wit? Not the sand paintings, tarot readings or the decor of hanging beachballs and reallifeguards. But, his conversation with M&T; Bank executive vice president Woody Collins. "I'm so impressed," Wit said. "In all the events I've gone to over the years, I've never had the evening's honoree go around and thank everyone like that."
* At "Stompin' for the Cure!", a fundraiser at Boordy Vineyards for the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute. M&T; Bank assistant vice president Michael Geppi said to event chair Vickie Rosellini, as she agreed to share his winning bid for the evening's most unusual auction item - a fully dressed hog. "My wife's gonna kill me if I try to put all 180 pounds in our freezer."