On Monday, September 16, Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida and in-kind Ball donor InterContinental® Miami celebrated the 25th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball VIP Kickoff Party at the InterContinental® Miami in anticipation of this season’s  MASTERPIECE XXV-themed gala on Saturday, November 2, a creative interpretation of Game of Thrones. Host Robert Hill, General Manager of InterContinental® Miami and Gala Host was joined by Shareef Malnik, Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and Gala Chair of the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball, and Norman Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida – the trio affectionately known as the “Three Amigos”– to honor the Ball’s donors and supporters.

Gala Chair Shareef Malnik announced that four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Steven Tyler with the Loving Mary band will headline The Ball, and that T.I. will perform at the Ball’s after party, the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Nightclub presented by E11EVEN MIAMI. Actress and documentary film director Gabrielle Anwar will return as the Celebrity Emcee for the 9th year. Malnik also announced that members of the Chairman’s Challenge Society have once again underwritten expenses associated with the Ball.

The cocktail soiree featured opulent food stations by InterContinental Miami Executive Chef Jhonnatan Contreras, decorated in a medieval theme with moat displays accented by ice statues of wolves, fortresses, copper cooking pots, wooden wheelbarrows, and market stalls. Dishes included the Field & Forest stall’s Farro Exotic Mushroom, Baby Carrot Salad, Caramelized Fennel & Apricot Salad, Roasted Beets with Goast Cheese Foam, Shaved Brussel Sprouts & Leek Spring Roll, and Zucchini Flower Stuffed with Cashew Cheese; the Sushi and Seafood station’s Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, Oysters, Spicy Salmon Roll, California Roll, and Vegetable Roll; and a variety of sweets in the dessert “cave,” whose entrance was guarded by an elaborately carved chocolate dragon.

Guests enjoyed specialty cocktails and wine served by a wait staff in renaissance costumes as they were treated to a special DECO Productions dance performance choreographed by New Century Dance Company. Attendees of the evening soiree included hosts Ball Chairman, Board Chair and Founder of Chairman’s Challenge Society Shareef Malnik; President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida Norman Wedderburn; InterContinental® Miami General Manager and Gala Host Robert Hill; actress and documentary film director Gabrielle Anwar; Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho; Ball creative directors Maxwell  Blandford and Clif Loftin; socialite/philanthropists Stanley and Gala Cohen; Joseph Perez; Dennis Crowley; Eugene Frenkel; Danielle Rubinstein; Jodi Siravo; Brian Exelbert; Dr. Art Diskin; Drew Mandala; Robby Elias; Ramona Messore; Michael Capponi; Stephanie Sayfie; Yvonne Hila and Bret Beach; Linda Levy Goldberg; and Fabian Basabe.

The evening concluded with an endearing speech by Nicole Ciovacco, mother of 6-year-old Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida Wish kid, Evan Ciovacco. Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in infancy, Evan’s dream was to go to Orlando Theme Parks as he has spent most of his life visiting doctors to battle his condition. His wish, granted by Greg Salsburg, was to go on a 7-day vacation with his family, where he met all his favorite characters, received fast-passes to all parks and attractions, and had breakfast and dinner with Mickey and friends. With tears in her eyes, Nicole described how Evan’s wish gave the Ciovacco family the will to move forward, become stronger and realize the importance of carving out family time. Nicole concluded her testimony by thanking Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida and the donors for making Evan’s dream a reality and giving him an extraordinary experience when he was facing one of the toughest challenges of his young life.


The highly anticipated 25th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball  will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., headlined by four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Steven Tyler with the Loving Mary band. Also performing will be Alisan Porter, NBC’s The Voice 2016 winner. Actress and filmmaker Gabrielle Anwar will return as celebrity emcee of The Ball, which is chaired by philanthropist Shareef Malnik, Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida and hosted by Robert Hill, General Manager of InterContinental® Miami and Gala Host. Loosely inspired by Game of Thrones, the theme of this year’s Ball is “MASTERPIECE XXV” and will welcome guests to an epic journey in a fantastical realm of the cultural arts broken down into ten noble houses: House Queen and House Ziggy Stardust (music); House Valentino and House Westwood (fashion); House Casablanca and House Fellini (film); House Fosse and House Ailey (dance); and House Basquiat and House Carvaggio (art). One house will win the Code of The Oculus. 

The lavish, star-studded Ball hosts more than 900 VIPs, socialites, fashion mavens, celebrities and notable philanthropists, including Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik, whose donation of $1 million remains the highest single contribution. The evening supports Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida’s sole mission: Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Past celebrity guests have included Gabrielle Anwar, Paula Abdul, Pamela Anderson, Sharon Stone, Wayne Newton, Kim Kardashian, Richie Rich, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons, Don King, Christian Slater, Scottie Pippen, Mike Piazza, Marcus Schenkenberg, Venus Williams and Serena Williams; and musical performances by Lenny Kravitz, John Legend, Marc Anthony, Diana Ross, Adam Lambert, Joan Jett, Alisan Porter, Melanie Amaro, Wyclef Jean, Macy Gray, Natalie Cole, D.J. Irie, and Snoop Dogg.

For ticket or table purchase, please call 954-967-9474 ext. 318.

The official Nightclub afterparty, the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub presented by E11EVEN MIAMI,Downtown Miami’s 24/7 ultra club, and hosted by operating partner Ken DeGori will be held immediately following the Ball at the InterContinental® Miami featuring T.I. as the headliner, featuring special performances by E11EVEN THEATR11CS, along with a special performance by America’s Got Talent alum Yoli Mayor as the opening act for the runway fashion show by Saks Fifth Avenue at Brickell City Centre.

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