Robert B. Hill, Gala Host & General Manager of InterContinental® Miami, together with Shareef Malnik, Gala Chairman and proprietor of The Forge Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Norman Wedderburn, CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida – the trio affectionately known as the “Three Amigos,” hosted the 20th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball VIP kick-off reception held at the InterContinental® Miami. Actress/filmmaker Gabrielle Anwar, who will be serving as the Ball’s celebrity emcee for the fourth consecutive year, arrived with her three children.
Deco Productions transformed the Hotel’s Chopin Ballroom into an Oz-themed fantasy, complete with a theatrical performance by dancers dressed as avant-garde witches and Oz-esque trees in towering, macabre costumes. Red designer shoes – in tribute to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, were on display, courtesy of Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour. It was announced that Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour will be the official fashion sponsor of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub, which immediately follows the Ball – presenting a fashion show of over-the-top, Oz-inspired looks by couture designers.
InterContinental® Miami Executive Chef Alexander Feher and Executive Sous Chef Jhonnatan Contreras prepared elaborate food stations with clever names such as “Munchkin Land” (sushi) and “Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers” (a plethora of sweets). Theme stations included an extensive seafood raw bar, carving station, cheese/fruits/crudites area and luxe burger grill featuring a trio of Kobe beef, chicken and quinoa sliders. Partygoers enjoyed wine by Rioja Wines, classic cocktails and champagne throughout the evening. Ruby slipper-themed mini-cupcakes courtesy of Robert Onuska, owner of Stella’s Sweet Shoppe, were given to all guests as a take-away gift. The elaborate kick-off event was fully underwritten, as it has been in all years past, by InterContinental® Miami.
But the sweetest sight of all was the smile on the face of 6-year-old Make-a-Wish Child Gelly San Juan, a cancer survivor, who attended along with parents Ramon and Jennifer, and sister and brother, Kayela and Angel.