For those nostalgic for the glamour and timeless class of decades past, this month will bring a swanky night on the town worthy of Frank, Dean and Sammy. The annual Rat Pack Reunion will come to New World Landing Friday, Oct. 24 offering guests an evening of dinner, dancing and a roast and toast of four individuals who have contributed mightily to the Pensacola community—all while raising much-needed funds for Council on Aging of West Florida.
The night begins at 6 pm with an Italian style dinner and musical entertainment from Sinatra tribute artist Tom Tiratto will get attendees on the dance floor. Dress is formal and guests are encouraged to take their fashion cues from the retro Rat Pack era—skinny ties and dinner jackets for the men and 60s style dresses for the ladies.
“The Rat Pack Reunion Gala is a star-studded event,” says event chair Jenn Cole. “Guests dressed in their finest will enjoy an Italian feast and dance the night away to the sounds of one of the very best Sinatra tribute bands in the country!”
The guests of honor in this year’s Rat Pack are Larry Morris, Jack Nobles, Tom Pace, Jr., and Jim Rigsbee.
Larry “Moose” Morris has worked for many years with Levin, Papantonio and in 1991 he began working to help Mike Papantonio with asbestos litigation that became one of the first cases in the field of law now known as mass torts. Morris has given back to the community by serving on boards including the Northwest Florida Artificial Kidney Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Gator Booster Board of Directors, and he currently serves on the Caring 4 Florida board. He and his wife, Lynn, have also been active in the First United Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday school for adults and teens off and on for 30 years.
Jack Nobles is a seventh generation lifelong Pensacola native. He spent 35 years in the banking business but many know him from his 15 years in city government after being elected in 1994. During this time Nobles says he was proud of his hand in projects including expanding the downtown library, remodeling the Saenger Theatre, and expanding the airport in Pensacola.
Tom Pace, Jr. is perhaps best known from his time spent on the water in his 17-year career as a professional windsurfer. The three-time US national windsurfing champion also spent five years with the Windsurfing Association as a member of the executive committee and later worked as a television broadcast analyst, covering windsurfing and corporate sports. Pace cherishes his Gulf Coast home and the local waterways where he grew up learning to swim, run boats and fish, but he says it’s the people here that make him most proud of his community.
While the final honoree Jim Rigsbee is not a native to Pensacola, he moved here from Atlanta in 1999 after researching the area and deciding to launch his new business venture here. The charm of the Old East Hill and the downtown area drew him to open Duh for Garden and Home in early 2000 and later that year he partnered with Quinn Stinson to further expand the retail business concept. Rigsbee has also given back to his adopted home through philanthropic contributions as well as contributing to hurricane relief.
These four community leaders have made huge strides in both business and civic roles and they will be toasted and lightly roasted for the enjoyment of attendees. There are also auctions and other opportunities to donate to the cause while dancing the night away. A new addition to this year’s event will extend the fun to those who may not be able to attend the actual Rat Pack Reunion but still want to contribute to the cause.
“We’re so excited this year to be adding the Rat Race,” says Cole. “Throw on your skinny ties and come out for a 5K beach fun run with an after party at Casino Beach Bar.”
The inaugural Rat Race will take place Oct. 18 at 9 am on Pensacola Beach. The event will include a 5K fun run or one-mile “walk and roll” and a party to follow at Casino Beach Bar & Grille with food and beverages. With a hefty lineup of entertainment, music, dinner and dancing, the Rat Pack Reunion 2014 will offer an amazing night for attendees while also bringing support to programs that help the community’s senior citizens. Tickets to the Rat Pack Reunion are $100 and can be purchased through ratpackreunion.com, where updates and information are also regularly posted.