Fine Wine, Culinary Masterpieces and Exotic Cars Mix as Festivals of Speed Rolls into The Ritz-Carlton Orlando. Rare motorcycles and aircraft also on display

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A collection of more than 140 exotic cars, motorcycles and aircraft were on display during two days at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and Atlantic Aviation. In addition to the display of rare and exotic vehicles, examples of lifestyle products including fine wines and spirits, cigars, jewelry, artwork, confections, writing instruments and other high-end luxury items were showcased.

A fabulous collection of exotic cars, motorcycles and aircraft was unveiled over the course of two days at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and at Atlantic Aviation. Events took place on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st. Collectors of these rare machines who attended are referring to the gathering as the "ultimate lifestyle event." In addition to the display of rare and exotic vehicles, examples of the finer things in life were also on site. Lifestyle products include fine wines and spirits, cigars, jewelry, artwork, confections, writing instruments, crystal and other high-end luxury items.

The weekend started on Saturday evening with what is referred to as a "Jet Port Reception." It was held in an aircraft hanger which was transformed into an elegant setting with special lighting and decor. Set amidst a surreal display of luxury aircraft, motorcycles & fine automobiles guest were treated to another era of luxury and refinement.

Aircraft on display included a vintage Beech 18 with leather and alligator interior, a Piaggio P-180 which is the official aircraft of the automotive manufacturer Ferrari, an L-39 East German Fighter Jet, multiple Hawker 800 XP jets, Four vintage WW II aircraft as well as others. Beyond the display of aircraft, a sampling of fabulous exotic cars and motorcycles was also on site. Vehicles included a SALEEN S7 , Lamborghini LP 640 which was flown in from Italy special for the event, 1932 Auburn Speedster, one of only three in the US Jaguar XJR-15 and a host of other rare vehicles.

Guests enjoyed a premium brands open bar that was lit with multicolor, low-voltage lighting and a themed chef attended food stations that included French, Italian, Mediterranean, Asian and other fine culinary servings. The Grande Finale was a European dessert/coffee station which was more than 30' in length and offered servings on par with that of a Four Diamond restaurant.

Also on display was lavish presentation of jewelry and other related lifestyle items. Of note was a rare 3.5 carat, Princess cut, natural Pink diamond valued at more than $1.4 million dollars. The diamond was presented by Gemologist David Berndt of Mt. Dora Estate Jewelers. Entertainment included a drawing to win a TAG HEUER watch, a strolling saxophonist, fashion model photo sessions, and other exciting events. As for the philanthropic side of things, a silent auction took place that benefited the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

On Sunday, more than 140 of the world's most exotic cars & motorcycles were placed for display at the exclusive Ritz-Carlton resort. In an attempt to create the most elegant experience possible, organizers had vehicles placed in specially chosen locations amidst the formal lawns and gardens of the resort. This "Nature Scape" design accentuated each cars design and allowed attendees the ability to stroll throughout the property while enjoying fine wines. Wine was served in elegant glassware from conveniently placed "Wine Stations." It also gave attendees the ability to enjoy culinary masterpieces presented by the resorts nationally recognized chefs in an "on site" setting. It all took place as models dressed in period clothing strolled amidst the gardens posing along side these very rare "rolling sculptures." Manufacturers product on display included Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, American Muscle cars, Ducati as well as many others. The day ended with an awards presentation recognizing those vehicles that judges choose as overall winners. "Best of Show" went to Lloyd Gillespie who showed a 1954 Jaguar XK 150. Mr. Gillespie received a crystal trophy created by the Paris based company, Lalique. He also received a Gevril watch valued at more than $5000.00.

According to festival founders Joe Sabatini, Samuel Ballinger and David Berndt, "The Ritz-Carlton provided the ultimate venue and created a unique experience for everyone. We look forward to next year to create an even more magnificent event. The festival attracted a capacity crowd and is the start of the event season for the company."

2007 Festivals of Speed events include:

St. Petersburg, March 24th and Ft. Lauderdale, Sunday April 15th.

What: Festivals of Speed at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. Orlando, Florida.

When: Jet Port Reception, Saturday, September 30th Display of exotics. Sunday, October 1st. Contact: Joe Sabatini 352-385-9450. http://www.festivalsofspeed.com

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Joe Sabatini