There was barely a striped candy in sight at the Candy Cane Ball Saturday night, but then the affair was the 38th annual affair for the Junior Auxiliary of the Newport Beach Assistance League. After so many years, one can understand the need to try other styles of decor, for example: faux snow settings for the auction prizes and table centerpieces dripping with silver bangles, pine and holly.
But no matter how the trappings change, this year, as always, the ball was designed to benefit the county's financially deprived children. And with opportunity drawings, a live auction and 450 people at the Hotel Meridien paying $175 per couple, event organizers counted the proceeds at $55,000.
"It's all for the children," said Carol Hoppe, a former Junior Auxiliary chairman about the group's purpose--that of supporting the Children's Dental Health Center, the Child Day Care Center and Operation School Bell, which provides free clothing to needy youngsters in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.
According to this year's chairman, Judy Bauer, members are required to give 50 hours to the various projects. "But most of us donate at least 150," Bauer said.
This year, she and her husband, Richard, owners of Bauer Jaguar, also donated profits from a 1987 Jaguar XJG Sedan to the cause.
Two women from the Butterworth family also donated time to Saturday's event. Charyl served as reservations chairman, while her daughter, Aimee, 12, worked with Tami Krabbe, 11, through the cocktail hour, showing off the auction's grand finale item: a 6-week-old Schnauzer. Aimee was particularly pleased with her task because she doesn't have a puppy of her own. "My dad's allergic to dogs," she said.
Other members, including Alexandra Uhl, strolled through the crowd selling opportunity tickets for prize packages, which included fashions, jewelry, objets d'art and weekend flings. "A man said he'd buy a thousand tickets if I'd go with him to Santa Barbara when he won the trip," whispered Uhl, adding, "I told him sure. Anything for charity." Uhl's virtue went uncompromised, however. The man in question never did place his 1,000-ticket order.
As auction chair, Pat Leamy was responsible for soliciting the prizes but said she had help from other members and, most of all, from her husband, Bob. "I couldn't have done it without him," she said.
As for Bob, he said: "I'm glad it's over. It was a lot of work."
The invitation stated "black tie optional," and for many men, formal dress proved optional indeed. More than a few were spotted in business suits perusing the auction prizes.
But like so many other women at the ball, Leamy glittered nonetheless from her knit top with giant opalescent disks to her sparkled hose. "Fancy, aren't they?" she joked.
Jeanne Basso, attending with husband Joe, dressed in sequined zebra-stripes, generously dotted with bugle beads at the shoulder.
Event chairman LissaCallaghan shimmered from pastel sequins paired with a slithery knife-pleated skirt.
More than a thrill, the car proved to be a money maker. In the auction after dinner, Dick Cannon surprised his wife, Diane, with his successful $36,500 bid for the Jaguar. (He reportedly hadn't uttered a word about his intentions to Diane before the bidding began.)
Michael and Vicki Gering purchased the puppy for $550.