Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

What happens in Vegas, continues in Tampa

The room went dark as the steady pulse of Madonna’s “Hung Up” filled the air slowly, building from the faint sound of a ticking clock to the steady crescendo of its electronic heartbeat. With the flash of the spotlight, models began strutting down the catwalk to the thump of the Material Girl’s intoxicating rhythm.

For a moment, one might think they have been transported to any variety of haute couture fashion shows in New York City. But even after reality kicked in, the audience hardly seemed to mind that they were really back in Tampa at “Georgette’s Presents Viva Las Vegas 2010,” a charity fashion show held at the Hyatt Regency at Tampa City Center downtown Thursday.

All proceeds from the event benefited Hillsborough Achievement and Resource Centers (HARC), an organization that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities, and amounted to several thousand dollars.

Georgette and Tashia Diaz – owners of Georgette’s, a boutique located in South Tampa – served as producers of the seventh annual fashion show and have organized over 90 fashion shows in the Bay area together, using their experience to produce a show worthy of Vegas’ neon lights.

The guest list of celebrity models participating in the show ran the gamut of Tampa Bay personalities. Among the most notable were Kellie Lightbourn, reigning Mrs. Florida; Belinda Womack, world-renowned jazz vocalist; and Martin Gramatica, former Super Bowl-winning kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In addition to the celebrities, local professional models graced the catwalk throughout the afternoon. While it was easy to spot the professionals, the local celebrities more than held their own.

The hour-long fashion show featured an array of outfits from eveningwear to swimwear and from classic looks to edgy fashion chic. Risqu outfits exhibited the remarkable bodies of those celebrities with the more traditional modeling physique and even the older models looked fantastic in the variety of Georgette’s conservative attire.

News anchor Jen Holloway stole the show in a stunning blue evening gown that was truly elegant without sacrificing an ounce of sex appeal. However, Lightbourn made a lasting impression in a hyperbole of an outfit that could have been plucked straight out of a Vegas showgirl review.

The musical choices for the show played off the Las Vegas theme, heavily relying on either direct musical tributes to Sin City or songs that evoked the larger-than-life entertainment value found on the Strip. Modern-day Elvis remixes played alongside Maddona’s classics. And of course, no Vegas-inspired event would be complete without Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

Intertwined with the model’s runway walks were well-choreographed dance routines that added to the Vegas entertainment theme. Cirque du Soleil performers were even featured in the event, with a dance and acrobatic number that paid tribute to the circus-inspired entertainment troupe’s seven successful shows in the city.

Radio personality Jack Harris served as master of ceremonies for the event, both introducing the models and acting as auctioneer for the charity auction that followed. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio made a special appearance, but despite the best efforts of the MC and an encouraging crowd, she could not be convinced to throw on a dress and prance down the runway herself.

“Georgette’s Presents Viva Las Vegas 2010” helped bring a slice of Sin City fashion to Tampa Bay this year and will be a hard act for future extravaganzas to follow.