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David Nelson / Society

Mardi Gras Shindig Aids Camp Oliver

February 26, 1987|DAVID NELSON

CORONADO — Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise? Eating yogurt promotes longevity?

Well, maybe. But throwing an occasional party into the mix apparently doesn't hurt one bit.

The spotlight at Saturday's "Deja Vu," the 40th annual Mardi Gras Ball given by the Juniors of the Social Service Auxiliary to benefit Camp Oliver, turned early to Teresa Hardie, the woman who over the years has grown accustomed to being introduced as the ball's most loyal supporter.

She attended the very first Mardi Gras Ball, which was given in 1948, and between then and Saturday's big bash in the Hotel del Coronado Grand Ballroom has missed precious few of these yearly romps. The applause that welcomes her annual return always doubles as a late birthday wish, and this year, the 365 ball guests congratulated Mrs. Hardie on adding the 102nd candle to her cake.

Chairman Carole Stimac's choice of "Deja Vu" as the theme treated those ball-goers who couldn't claim Mrs. Hardie's attendance record to a reprise of the four decades' worth of Mardi Gras Balls. As slides from previous balls flashed on a screen, 17 former Mardi Gras queens were introduced, including Helen Brockett of the 1952 "Bal du Carnaval," Kay Rippee of 1965's "Revelry Royale," and Barbara McClain of the "Star-Spangled Mardi Gras" that greeted the nation's bicentennial in 1976. All wore the gowns--or faithful copies thereof--in which they had been presented when they reigned as monarchs of the only local event that faithfully follows the format and traditions of the centuries-old Mardi Gras balls given in New Orleans.

Master of ceremonies Bob Arnhym moved the program along smartly so no one had to wait too long for the arrival of the Masquers and Jesters, whose spirited--and spiritous--antics always give this party its carnival flavor. True to form, the group of 30-odd husbands and friends of the Juniors auxiliary marched into the ballroom brandishing balloons and pelting the unwary with confetti. Masked and top-hatted, the group roguishly circled the dance floor while playing "Those Were the Days" on kazoos, while the orchestra admirably attempted to keep pace.

The entrance of the Masquers presaged, as always, the evening's highlight, the presentation of the queen, king and royal court. As is Mardi Gras custom, the identities of these personages remain secret until their introduction. Reigning as queen of "Deja Vu" was Barbara Orsa, and as king, Dennis Scharer. The princesses and their escorts were Sandy Collins with Mark Karlin, Marian Jacobs with John Lindsay, Donna Vance with Charles MacLaggan, and Katie Zolezzi with Walter Maund.

The waltz that came after set the tone for the rest of the evening, which featured non-stop dancing until well past midnight.

Sister Beneta Nolan, the executive director of Camp Oliver, attended as the representative of the Sisters of Social Service. The anticipated proceeds of $30,000 from "Deja Vu" will be added to the $780,000 that the Juniors auxiliary has contributed to the summer camp over the 40 years of the Mardi Gras Ball.

The guest list included Diane and J. Parkeson Miller, Gayle and William Arbenz, Karen and John Salzmann, Erminia and Tony Taranto, Angel and Kip Hanzal, Mary Jane and Bernard Urlaub, Judy and Ron Ridgway, Janet and David Wright, Julie and David Ault, Caroline Oliver, Margaret and Manuel Terzoli, and Susan and Michael Bollman.

LA JOLLA--If one's parents were imaginative enough to become engaged while riding a gondola through the canals of Venice, it seems only fitting to commemorate the event when the opportunity comes along.

Thus Marilen Sedlock, the daughter of a couple who became engaged under just such romantic circumstances, chose "Venezia" as the theme of the Bishop's School annual ball, given on campus Saturday for 250 guests. The event, as is traditional, benefited the school's faculty endowment fund.

The Venetian theme offered all sorts of happy options to the ball committee, which researched the topic thoroughly and then played it to the hilt. (The theme, as Sedlock pointed out, was more than merely romantic; because it also had not been used at a major local event before, it blessed the party with originality.) The anteroom of Ellen Browning Scripps Hall, which houses the school's dining room, became Harry's Bar for the evening, complete with the strolling Rinaldi Strings offering up "O Solo Mio," and hors d'oeuvres of Gorgonzola pizza and caponata .

La Jolla artist Jerry Heaslett painted a mural of the Grand Canal and St. Mark's Cathedral as a backdrop to the bandstand, and decor chairmen Anne Otterson and Minna Melton used silky Fortuny fabrics--which have been produced in Venice for centuries, and date to the period when the former republic traded cloth for spices--to drape the dinner tables.

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