HughE Dillon: Auto Show Black-Tie Tailgate

The annual car showcase kicks off at the Convention Center.

The Philadelphia Auto Show rolled into town over the weekend. This year when they said it was bigger and better, they meant it. After decades of being held on multiple floors in the older section of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the show was held in the brand-new addition. Keeping with tradition, the show kicked off with a Black-Tie Tailgate gala with more than 3,000 guests dressed in tuxes, gowns and cocktail dresses; they enjoyed food by Starr Catering and music by the Jellyroll Band. The Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Philadelphia Auto Show, and this year’s event benefited the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Below: Kathy Laufer tried to convince her husband, Chris Laufer, chief marketing officer of Omni Hotel, that the 2012 Escalade Hybrid was much more practical for carting around their kids—especially in the summer with their surfboards—than their current BMW.

Below: Tamar Goldberg Olitsky and Stephen Olitsky hosted an incredible black-tie preview party at the Auto Show in the FC Kerbeck & Sons section, to raise money for CHOP. CHOP directly funds the research efforts to find more effective treatments, and hopefully a cure, for their daughter Shaina, who suffer from ulcerative colitis. Thanks to the Olitskys and their friends, they raised more than $25,000 for the cause. If you would like to make a donation to their cause you have until February 6th.

Below: Jerry Blavat entertains the folks in the VIP Frank Kerbeck lounge on Friday night. On Saturday night, he hosted Ben E. King, Darlene Love, Chris Montez, Shirley Alston Reeves and The Trammps at the Kimmel Center for his 10th Anniversary Extravaganza.

Below: Gregory Dexter, Alexander Hankin, Kasey Stelweck, Brett Robbins and Dan Robbins. I wish you could see Alexander’s Louboutin sneakers; they have spikes on them. Don’t make him mad!

Below: Bram Reynolds, Global Spectrum, Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media, and Melanie Johnson, city representative. Congratulations to Skai Blue Media and their new office location in Midtown Village.

Below: Sabina Nicola, Christina Castagna, Amber Rosenberry, Jennifer Caffrey, Irene Sosnowski and Kathleen Gallagher. Always good sports, the girls all got into a little Smart Car for me last year.

Below: Sam and Colette Gabriel. Sam builds auto dealer complexes. I should have asked them if they’ve received any of the Utley’s baby gifts since they live in the Haddonfield house that is always rumored to be theirs. This Friday, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers will be at the Auto Show from 6 to 8 p.m. for a Q&A.

Below: Tom Bently, CEO at Bentley Homes, Leslie Padilla, Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick and Karen Hepp, and Brian Sullivan. Looks like Karen’s husband, Brian, successfully played Cupid a year ago when he introduced her best friend, Leslie, to Tom. Lately, Tom’s hands have been full as he is currently building Philadelphia magazine’s 2012 Design Home.

Below: Lisa Patterson and Ron Patterson, who owns a ’69 Chevelle SS, Jessica Scully, James Conway, Ron Christy, Greg Englesbe, who only buys from FC Kerbeck & Sons and owns a Rolls-Royce, Masarati, and a Range Rover, and Jessica Englesbe.

I headed over to the Lexus dance floor where the band Jellyroll kept the crowd on its feet. Below: I captured a spirited air guitar and drum set by Ronald and Joann Dasent, who were playing along to a cover of Journey’s epic masterpiece “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Below: 6 ABC was out in full force as I caught glimpses of Adam Josephs, Kenneth Moton and Jeff Skversky early in the night. Later, I ran into Shirleen Alcott, Katherine Scott, Brian Taff and Mara Webb. Brian and Mara were recently engaged with a very Philadelphia proposal along Boathouse Row. They were walking along Kelly Drive when he had them “pop” into one of the boathouses. She said “we’re going to get arrested,” and then he got down on one knee and proposed. They then went upstairs to waiting family and friends. Whew! Glad that worked out.

Below: Still looking flawless at the end of the night, Christine Harris seems to be thinking I sure wish I could jump in this Volkswagen and jet home because my feet are killing me. Check out the Philadelphia Auto Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center until February 5th. Opening weekend attendance was 71,269, making it the largest opening weekend since 2004, and the second-best opening in the event’s 110-year history.