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Red CARpet Charity Preview Gala shows heart on Valentine's Day

| Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Dan Taylor, left, and Dan DelBianco pal around at the Red Carpet Gala in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Thursday, February 14, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Rob Cochran and his wife at the Red Carpet Gala in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Thursday, February 14, 2013. The Red Carpet Gala is a preview to the 2013 Auto Show, hosted by the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation at the Convention Center. All proceeds benefit Austin’s Playroom Project, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review

Apropos for Valentine's Day, the Red CARpet Charity Preview Gala embraced an “All You Need Is Love” theme for guests filtering into the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where Mario andNathalie Lemieux headlined the VIP celebrity cocktail reception.

Guests at the event — benefiting Austin's Playroom Project, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation — were intoxicated by that new car smell as car makers rolled out the latest models ahead of the Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

“Stay away from the Jaguars!” joked Greg Farrell, with his wife Christy.

GPADF CEO John Putzier did the honors, welcoming the likes of GPADA prez Gregg Semel, MLF prez Tom Grealish and director Nancy Angus, Rob andChristina Cochran, Bud Green, Randy andHeather Hillier, Bob and Lisa Pompeani, Tom andFrances Rohrich, David andKelly Rohrich, Bud Smail, Dan DelBianco, and Dan andRobin Taylor.

Among the standout attractions was the Simzilla motion platform, which enticed would-be racers to “test drive” a Ford Focus ST on the inner loop of the Nuremberg Ring and vie for the best lap time.

“(It will get) very competitive,” shared operator Jim Dunn.

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