The Biltmore Ball: Gala Dazzled With Spanish Flair

Philanthropic, social, civic and business influencers from around the Miami area turned out in Spanish flare to celebrate The Biltmore Ball.


CORAL GABLES, FL — Philanthropic, social, civic and business influencers from around the Miami area turned out in Spanish flare to celebrate The Biltmore Ball, which benefits the Coral Gables Community Foundation. Presented by Paul and Swanee DiMare, the romance, rich heritage and architectural allure of Spain set the scene for the evening’s distinguished honorees. The evening also marked 26 years of foundation accomplishments.

“We are delighted to celebrate these pillars of our community; we thank our gala chairs Sissy DeMaria and Mary Young and all of our sponsors who have helped make this gala such a success,” said John O’Rourke, Chairman of the Coral Gables Community Foundation Board of Directors. “This year, in a strategic partnership with The Biltmore Hotel, we have renamed our signature event to ‘The Biltmore Ball,’ extending our reach and visibility. It’s an honor to have such overwhelming support which, in turn, is helping us do more for our neighborhood and our neighbors in need.”

Co-chaired for the third year by Sissy DeMaria and Mary Young, the black-tie fundraiser on Friday Oct. 20 marked a time-honored tradition for the City Beautiful, which benefits the pivotal outreach efforts of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. The gala raised funds for worthy Gables High School students pursuing dreams of a college education among other passionate projects championed by the foundation.

Guests were serenaded by Spanish guitar during the cocktail reception and treated to a Baila Flamenco performance presented by Cosentino and the Spanish Office of Tourism. Guests also bid on special vacations and gifts, including stays at a mountaintop villa in Costa Rica courtesy of NPI; the Rosemary Cottage on exclusive Fisher Island; a sprawling castle in Alladale, Scotland; the Al Capone suite at the Biltmore Hotel as well as stunning diamond earrings by Montica Jewelry.

Within the grand ballroom, adorned in tapestries of brilliant reds and golds, guests experienced a culinary journey to the Iberian Peninsula by The Biltmore Hotel’s culinary team. Spanish delicacies were prepared by 35-year industry veteran and award-winning executive chef, David Hackett; executive pastry chef Oliver Rodriguez, and Michael Vietta, who has been with The Biltmore for nearly a decade.

Manny Medina and the Medina Family received the Willy Bermello Legacy Award presented by Greenberg Traurig; Jon & Nancy Batchelor were recipients the Arts & Culture Award presented by Trish & Dan Bell; Swanee & Paul DiMare were awarded the Jerry Santeiro Community Award; Tom and Marie-Ilene Whitehurst were honored with the Philanthropy Award presented by Paul and Swanee DiMare; Mike Lowell received the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute; Dave Lawrence was honored with the Education Award presented by MG Developer and Bacardi received the Landmark Award presented by The Biltmore.

“It’s a tremendous point of pride to unveil the latest edition of our gala — most especially in tandem with The Biltmore Hotel,” said Mary Snow, executive director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. “This year’s event will pay special tribute to Coral Gables, serving as a celebration of our city’s distinctive heritage and worldly roots.”

“The Biltmore Ball: Memories of Madrid” was presented by Paul and Swanee DiMare, Platinum Sponsors Southern Audio Visual, Codina Partners, Trish and Dan Bell, Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, Greenberg Traurig and MG Developer; Gold Sponsors Kreps DeMaria Public Relations and Marketing, Bacardi and Coral Gables Trust; Valet Sponsor Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables; Live Entertainment Sponsor Cosentino; Cocktail Reception Sponsors Mike & Bertha Lowell; Photography Sponsor EWM; Media Sponsors South Florida Luxury Guide, CULTURED Magazine and Miami Herald; and In-Kind Sponsors Pantry Liquors, Spanish Trade Commission and Spanish Tourism Office.

Photo gallery courtesy Coral Gables Community Foundation