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Society : Junior League Dons Its Yule Apparel

October 24, 1986|LINK MATHEWSON

Ignore the facts that the evening was warm and balmy and that the roses were still in full bloom at the Orange County Fairgrounds. The Junior League of Newport Harbor was celebrating Christmas Company.

A Monday night preview of the three-day event, "Winter Elegance," which ended Thursday, had Nancy Hegness, chairwoman of the event; Sheri Best, chairwoman of opening night, and Janet Harris, chapter president, greeting the crowd of 1,400 people.

The projected goal from the league's major fund-raiser of the year is $150,000. That would make $1 million that Christmas Company has raised for Orange County community programs since its beginning in 1975.

The entrance, decorated with faux snow, twinkle lights and evergreens, helped somewhat to adjust to what retired judge and congressional candidate Bruce W. Sumner, a guest that evening, called "a seasonal shock."

Hearing the magnificent carols sung by the All-American Boys Chorus, directed by Father Richard Coughlin of St. Michael's Preparatory School in El Toro, also helped to set the mood.

Along the wide aisles were 44 booths set up by merchants from across the United States. Their festively decorated stalls contained items for the home, clothes, jewelry, Christmas decorations, toys and much, much more.

As attractive as the stalls were, the Junior League members themselves were a more spectacular sight. Dressed in glamorous holiday wear, all looked as though they had just stepped out of fashion pages.

"Look at them," Junior Leaguer Michele Miller said. "They were working here all day in their sweats. They're gorgeous tonight."

Participating restaurants furnished the 17 food stations set up throughout the tent.

One restaurateur, Jim Dale, wasn't ready for Christmas in October.

"I just finished judging a sand castle contest yesterday and really can't get into this," Dale said.

Marge Godber of Newport Beach didn't think the holiday theme was too early. "I just returned from a trip to Hong Kong," Godber said, "and Christmas songs were playing in this little arts and craft shop."

The spirit of giving was evident when Debbie Bibb wanted an item that was just out of her financial reach. She was surprised when friends David and Chris McCone bought it for her.

Checking out the competition were shopping center moguls Gary Hunt of the Irvine Co., and his wife, Joanne, and Fashion Island fashion coordinator, Kitty Leslie and husband, Hal.

South Coast Plaza general manager Jim Henwood and his wife, Sharon, attended, as well as Maura Eggan, director of marketing.

An informative evening highlighting campaign plans and progress of what supporters called the only new Catholic high school under construction in the United States, Santa Margarita Catholic High School, was held for 35 area residents of San Juan Capistrano.

The reception and dinner held at the Birtcher family residence, Rancho de Dios, San Juan Capistrano, was called an evening of "information cultivation."

Campaign co-chairman of the new high school, Arthur B. Birtcher, his wife, Gaye, campaign committee member Vincent (Bo) Von der Ahe and his wife, Cathy, were hosts.

The school will be located in Rancho Santa Margarita, a new development between Coto de Caza and Mission Viejo. The projected building cost is $25 million; it is to be built on a land gift of 36 acres.

A celebratory toast was made by campaign committee member Tony Moiso at the announcement that $5 million in pledges had been received to date.

Serving south and central Orange County, the school will open in the fall of 1987 for a charter freshman class of 300 students, with 2,000 expected by 1995.

Special guests were Mrs. Mary Dorothy Von der Ahe, distinguished leadership donor; Mgsr. Michael Driscoll, chancellor of the Diocese of Orange; Sister Celine Leydon, superintendent of diocesan schools, and Michael Harris, founding principal.

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