In 1976, all of the guilds supporting Childrens Hospital of Orange County held a small fund-raiser in the newest hotel at that time, the Registry.
A decade later, 240 members and guests of three guilds of CHOC, Jack and Jill (Tustin) Cinderella (Newport Beach) and the Small World Guild (Irvine) united at the Registry Hotel for an evening to celebrate "Together Again."
The Friday night black-tie "gourmet dinner extraordinaire" raised $10,000 for CHOC's outpatient clinic while commemorating the 10th anniversary of the newly renovated Registry Hotel.
Trumpeters in blue velvet costumes heralded arriving guests before they were greeted by event chairwoman Carol Palermo, Guilds coordinator Helen Wardner and Registry Hotel General Manager John Mavros and his wife Melanie.
"It looks like the Ritz-Carlton," said Newport residents Betty and Bill Vincent, as they entered the lobby. Rightly so, since it is Frank Nicholson, interior designer of the deluxe Ritz-Carlton, who is responsible for the posh new interior of the Registry.
Food was the focal point of the evening, and executive chef Jean Marie Pougnet took the opportunity to show off his culinary best.
The main lobby was only the starting point of elaborate food stations set up along the way to the main ballroom. Teddy bears--CHOC's logo--carved into ice sculptures graced tables filled with blini and caviar, colossal shrimp and smoked salmon. An artful cascade of lobsters was displayed on the hors d'oeuvres table outdoors.
Try as he might, it was difficult for catering director Lothar Bullesbach to tame the lively crowd--as they danced to the Big Band sound of Lynn Willis--to announce and describe each of seven courses. At one point, Willis even used a cow bell.
"Oh, well," shrugged Palermo at the lack of cooperation by some of the guests, "Lothar is a good sport. I guess if they want to know what they ate, they'll just have to read the menu."
After dinner, Mavros was presented with a crystal bucket as a memento of the evening from the "golden triangle" of guilds, and Doug Ward, community relations director for CHOC, praised the volunteers for their support.
"Since 1964, the 14 guilds throughout the county have donated $5 million to the health care of children in Orange County and surrounding areas.
"At present there are 155 beds and we are in the midst of an expansion program to serve the 40,000 patients that are seen each year. . . ."
Because of their efforts, CHOC can provide for any child who needs medical care, regardless of his or her family's ability to pay.
Receiving a standing ovation was 1984 Olympic winner Edwin Moses.
No one was more surprised than the members of the Arthur Fiedler chapter of the Orange County Performing Arts Center when their Saturday afternoon benefit--a tour of the $4-million Villa Imperiali estate--exceeded all expectations.
"We pre-sold 575 tickets," said chairwoman Luella Guthrie as she watched an unending flow of guests arrive, "but I know it's well over 700 with the tickets we've sold at the door."
Ways and means chairwomen Eleanor Duquesnel and Barbara Soros, in conjunction with Merrill Lynch Realty, made the arrangements for the party and tour of the 16,000-square-foot mansion that overlooks all of the county from its perch atop the north Tustin hills. The palatial home--a landmark to north county residents--is owned by Sandy and Leo Imperiali, who own the ColorTile chain of stores.
Those who could crowd by the pool and garden were treated to a parade of fashions from I. Magnin, and later, a look at furs and some incredible jewelry.
The whopping turnout netted $5,000 for the Center, but caused massive parking problems at the villa, located at the end of a long, narrow road. When the parking reached its absolute peak, an announcement was made that the show would be repeated and that those who had already seen it should go claim their car from the valet. "They weren't supposed to stay the entire afternoon," said one person assisting at the event.