Carolyn Johnson, chairwoman of the 39th annual Candy Cane Ball, said she felt like "part of history."
Kathryn Kalanz, co-chairwoman of the gala's silent auction, said she felt like sitting down. "Without a phone in my ear," added Kalanz with a laugh. "I've made so many calls working on this auction, my 1-year-old son thinks Mom has a phone attached to her head!"
From either an historic or a practical view, the benefit was a success for the Junior Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Newport Beach.
Nearly 350 guests, at $225 per couple, zipped and tucked into their holiday finery Saturday and headed for the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach to bid on auction items and savor a sumptuous dinner of seafood bisque, endive salad and beef filet. And to dance.
"This year, we wanted to emphasize fun ," said Cathy Grant, auxiliary president. "We hired a different band and decided not to have a live auction. We don't have to do everything the same every year."
Certainly not. In fact, guests (who filled the dance floor until the band called it quits at 1 a.m.) were hard put to find even one candy cane amid the shimmery silver and gold decorations.
"After all these years," Laurie McNeill said, "I think we're a little burned out on candy canes."
Silent auction items included an assortment of jewelry, vacation getaways and furs. (Top bidder of the night was Rich Callaghan, who parted with $5,900 for a full-length ranch mink coat.)
But the most talked-about item was a decidedly unglamorous trash can filled with essentials for earthquake preparedness--blankets, flashlights and such. "Quake Safe" went home with Judy and Richard Bauer, raising $470.
Estimated net proceeds of $50,000 will be used for the programs sponsored by the league to benefit needy children.