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A Year Late, Floriade Blossoms

April 29, 1993|MARY LOU LOPER

With the white tent and tall wispy flowers on the dinner tables, it looked like a Long Island summer party. But this was Wilmington.

Standing before a handsome crowd of 400 Saturday evening at the Banning Residence Museum, Kacey McCoy said, "This is an uplifting evening for those of us who participated in last year's dress rehearsal." She referred to the Floriade III premiere party that was canceled amid the riots.

Said Floriade III chair Pamela Clyne, "It's a pleasure to see a Floriade." McCoy and Clyne had tearfully closed up last year's event and headed back to Los Angeles on the freeway with fires on both sides.

Some who made reservations last year showed up for the black-tie affair this year without reservations, causing hitches in seating and a few raised eyebrows.

But never mind. Flowers soothe, and the ladies all wore their prettiest flowered long and short gowns to accompany the masses of flowers inside the museum and its barn.

Everyone was marveling at Stanley Kersten's sweet pea topiaries in the dining room, Marc Frederics' upstairs hallway, Susy Niven's Sun Valley antiques creating a stableboy's room in the barn and Tom Buckley's cart with Alice Avery's priceless antique dolls at the reins.

Honorees Henry and Caroline Singleton headed a busload of pals from Bel-Air. Jane Dart Campbell flew down from Pebble Beach, floral designer Manisse Newell from San Francisco and Ross and Virginia Roberts from Hillsborough.

Nancy Call (whose great-grandfather Phineas Banning launched the San Pedro harbor and built Banning House) dispensed huge hugs. Her daughter Nancy Call McCullough gleefully recognized family furniture that now decorates Banning House. "Oh, this settee was Gagi's and Baba's (her grandparents). I used to jump on it as a child."

Among the many: Frani and Dan Ridder, floral designers Barry Ferguson of Oyster Bay and Jacob Maarse of Pasadena, Tink Cheney, Betty and Maury Leonard, Katrina Shattuck, Diane Avery, Bob and Joan Banning, Dick and Bitsy Hotaling, Peter McCoy, Shannon Clyne, Fred and Suzanne Rheinstein, Phoebe and Joe Vaccaro, Warren and Alyce Williamson, Stanton and Ernestine Avery and Walt and Kathy Rose.

ON TRACK: "Destination L.A.," the Junior League's fund-raiser, sounded as if 100 trains were roaring into Union Station Saturday evening. It was only the amplified sound behind the stack of '40s-style suitcases at the arched entrance.

One bus brought a crowd from Manhattan Beach, another arrived from Westwood. Each group seemed amply stocked with Champagne.

Molly Hobin with Bill Breck of San Francisco and Mary and Brent White stepped off the Manhattan Beach bus, Molly Shea and Hugh Evans III and Ann Newton and Trevor Grimm off the Westwood bus. President Nickey Sawyer and her husband, Philip, and event chair Lisa Weber and husband David were waiting as word circulated that the league had just been named winner of the BMW Community Impact Merit Award at the St. Louis Assn. of Junior Leagues International conference for its work in preventing teen pregnancy.

Helping raise $100,000 were Peter and Carrie Tilton, Kevin and Erin McKenzie, Sally and Barry Smith, Peter and Bonnie Best, Maureen and Martin McDermut, Maileen and Gary Philips, Claire and Gil Shea, league president-elect Ann Zimmerman and husband Gary, and Katy and Dr. Mike Wall.

SPOTLIGHT: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney, the three-term Wyoming congressman, has been in town. Lester (former U.N. Ambassador) and Carolbeth Korn hosted an off-the-record dinner at Hillcrest Country Club including former Ambassador to Mexico John Gavin with wife Connie; former Ambassador to Finland Rock Schnabel with wife Marna; former Under Secretary of Commerce Donna Tuttle; Donald Rice, president of Teledyne Inc., with wife Susan, president of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn.; actress Deborah Raffin Viner with husband Michael Viner, chairman of Dove Audio.

Two nights later, the USC School of Public Administration awarded Cheney its Julian Award at the annual Ides of March dinner at the Beverly Wilshire. Event chairman was BankAmerica Corp. Chairman Richard M. Rosenberg.

Ed and Ruth Shannon, who had hosted Cheney in early April when they rounded up and branded cattle at their Texas ranch, were in the audience, as were such leaders as the school's dean, Jane Pisano; Forrest Shumway; Sam and Ilene Gold; USC President Steven Sample and Senior Vice President Dennis Dougherty; USC football coach John Robinson; Bob and Dolores Hope.

OFF, RUNNING: The coterie of pink herons were in their infield corner; flowers bloomed; the Goose Girl cavorted, and spirits were high for the opening of Hollywood Park last week.

In the Turf Club, Hollywood Park Operating Co. Chairman R. D. Hubbard and wife Joan Dale and president Donald Robbins and wife Allison watched over the sleek thoroughbreds and lunched and joshed with a prominent crowd including Warren Williamson, an HP director, with wife Alyce and her Art Center 100 pals, who marched down to the winner's rectangle to watch Zignew win the Art Center 100 Race 4.

ESCALATION: A carousel of lights beamed on the ceiling, turning the Beverly Wilshire ballroom Saturday into galaxy ambience for the ARCS Foundation (Los Angeles chapter) ball honoring George F. Smoot, an astrophysicist with the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory who was recently lauded for his confirmation of the Big Bang theory.

Chair Judith Miller and president Charlotte Meier put sea horses and shells on the dinner tables. Art Linkletter interviewed Smoot.

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