Ladies get booted up for High Healin’ at Park Place

VERO BEACH — Ladies gathered Wednesday evening at the Park Place building for the third in a series of High Healin’ fun, fashionable fundraisers.  The Boots and Bubbles theme featured a progressive night of pampering, shopping and chocolate, with everyone shod in their favorite pair of boots. 

Most appropriately for these shoe fanciers, organizers Heidi Hartline, Maggie Creelman and Gail Lulley had chosen the Education Foundation’s Sneaker Exchange to be the beneficiary this time. The first stop on the tour was the Park Place Salon and Spa, where owner Rosemary Dronchi and her staff were treating the ladies to hand and upper body massages, hair and makeup consultations, and mini facials.  Nibbling on an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, compliments of Tango’s, and sipping from flutes of champagne, women wandered throughout the spotless and airy salon.

“I’d do anything for education,” said Dronchi.  “It’s our lifeline and our future.”

The evening also presented the perfect opportunity to introduce her terrific staff, Brenda Joffe, Chelsa Kromhout, Becky Bazyler, Cirino Bosco and Wendy Bass, and demonstrate their talents.

“I’m looking forward to getting a hand massage. This is great,” said Ashley Hodson, an attorney who recently relocated to Vero Beach to join the law firm of Robin Lloyd and Associates. Being so new to town, she was also enjoying the event as a chance to network and make some new friends.

Next it was on to Tootsies, where owner Cheryl Showerman was giving everyone tote bags and a 30 percent discount  on her sizable boot selection.  Kristen Yoshitani had gravitated to the rubberized Hunter brand “willies.”

“They’re very fashionable; everyone in New York is wearing these,” said Yoshitani.

As ladies moved down the Park Place covered walkway, so did talented Vero Beach High School musicians, Bridget Johnston, Jacob Billups and Trevor Klutz, serenading everyone with the dulcet sounds of their Bridge Band.

Some never made it past Tango’s, but who could blame them.  Wednesday is ladies night, with two-for-one glasses of wine, and the aromas emanating from the kitchen were also exceptionally tempting.

Those who did move on were treated to Kilwin’s lush chocolates, and of course the chance to compete on the red carpet for the coveted title of Best in Shoe.  Gathering outside on the lovely Kilwin’s patio, the competitors went toe to toe along the carpet, all putting their best foot forward.

After a walk-off between finalists Kathryn Vorkapich, enthusiastically modeling spiky black booths, and Becky Bazyler, strutting her stylish cowboy boots, Judges Jef Denning and Cheryl Showerman pronounced Vorkapich the Best in Shoe winner.

One hundred percent of all money raised at the event was being donated to the Education Foundation’s Sneaker Exchange program. Each school year, more than 2,000 Indian River County children in need are provided with socks and sneakers.

“We keep kids on a path of learning and keep them moving in the right direction with sneakers,” said Education Foundation Executive Director Cynthia Falardeau.   “For ladies who love shoes, this was a great fit!” {igallery 339}

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