Thank you for voting Sojourn - The Best Black-Tie Fundraiser in Tampa Bay for the third consecutive year!“This annual benefit for WEDU features the culture, cuisine and wines from a different country each year. The dinner, dance and auction have the style, class and all-star attendance that make it a winner.” - Tampa Bay Magazine May/June 2011 (2011, 2010, 2009 Best Black Tie Event)

Sojourn™, WEDU’s signature “friend-raising” event, virtually transported more than 480 distinguished guests and community leaders on a journey to South Africa. Taking place at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club on February 12, the sixth-annual event, which has been consistently voted “Best Black Tie Fundraising Gala in Tampa Bay,” was deemed “the best Sojourn to date” by all who attended.

Guests were treated to a kaleidoscope of fascinating culture, natural wonders and rich history while never leaving St. Petersburg. The reception featured wine and hors d’ouevres, allowing guests to mix and mingle freely, bidding on the many luxurious items available on the World Auction tables. A variety of local artists were on hand displaying their creations in the Artist’s Colony. The crowd was also treated to roaming Moko Jumbie stilt walkers and handsome Zulu Warriors greeting guests at both entrances to the ballroom.

Performers from local Lifeforce Cultural Academy’s Dundu Dole dance troupe circled the reception area, leading guests into the ballroom with a chorus of joyful South African song and drumbeats. A collective gasp was heard as people made their way to their tables amidst the breathtaking décor provided by conceptBAIT. Dundu Dole continued to entertain throughout the evening with traditional South African dances and music. Guests enjoyed an incredibly-delicious and unique wine-paired gourmet dinner that this event has built its reputation on.

South African Consul General, Ambassador Nomvume P. Magaqa, was the evening’s guest of honor. She graciously addressed the attendees, commenting that the décor made her homesick and praising the well-thought out program. In a follow up letter sent after the gala, she remarked “The event was well organized and presented in a wonderful manner with a pleasant aura around it. The decorated venue particularly captured well the African themes. The event was a success and I met many wonderful people.”

Sojourn™ is the largest annual fundraising event presented by WEDU, your primary PBS station serving 16 counties of Florida’s Suncoast. Proceeds from Sojourn™ are applied to advancing WEDU’s award-winning educational, enriching and thought-provoking programming and community outreach initiatives.

Event Photos