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Southern Comfort : Supporters of the Assistance League of Santa Ana Feel at Home in 'Splendor' of Dixie

March 15, 1994|KATHRYN BOLD

The Old South rose again Saturday when the Assistance League of Santa Ana staged "An Evening of Southern Splendor" at the Tara-like estate of John and Donna Crean.

A Dixieland band, Southern fare and sweet magnolia blossoms all contributed to the themed spirit of the gala, which attracted 280 guests to the Colonial mansion in Santa Ana Heights. The $100-per-person gala was expected to net $30,000 for the league.

Heart of Dixie

From the moment guests stepped from their cars and walked up to the mansion's towering white columns and massive front doors, they were reminded of the South's glory days.

"We took our cue from the house; we went Southern with everything," said Barbara Metzger, event chairwoman.

A Dixieland band greeted guests with lively Southern music on the front porch. Inside the home, bouquets of magnolia blossoms adorned tables draped in white cloths. Janet Folcke of Conroy's Flowers in Tustin designed the all-white centerpieces and towering floral arrangements on the buffet table.

Throughout the night party-goers visited the buffet to stock up on Southern specialties. The fare, prepared by Maxwell's Catering, included chef-carved Cajun filet mignon, whipped potato souffle, corn pudding, homemade pecan torte and Georgia peach trifle.

"When Barbara and I walked up to the front of the house we were immediately reminded of 'Gone With the Wind,' " said Taffy Adams, gala co-chairwoman.

To carry out the theme, the Creans' private theater showed "Gone With the Wind" throughout the evening--that is, when a few enterprising sports fans didn't switch channels to the UCLA basketball game.

Southern Belle

The belle of the ball was honorary chairwoman Zee Allred, who was saluted by the assistance league for her community service.

"I'm embarrassed," said Allred, dressed in a fiery red pantsuit for the occasion. "What did I do? No more than anyone else."

Actually, Allred has been active in the group for more than 20 years, serving as co-chairwoman of the league's thrift shop, buyer for the gift shop and volunteering in Operation Schoolbell, which provides clothes to needy children in Santa Ana.

"She's always been very involved," Metzger said.

Assistance League of Santa Ana supports and operates a variety of philanthropies that benefit children, including the Katherine Irvine Day School, a preschool for children whose parents cannot afford quality day-care; Operation Prop (Pupil Recognition Opportunity Program), which offers scholarships to qualifying high school graduates; Operation Schoolbell, a children's dental center and a thrift shop.

Others attending were: Kathe Griswold, league president; Shae Gazzaniga, auctioneer; Jon Brown, who entertained on piano; Ken and Mary Bryant, league president-elect; Eldrid Allen, Bill and Barbara Annan, Nancy Asper, Jo Ellen Benson, Roger and Janice Bowers, Eva Callahan, Mike and Sandy Capizzi, Stanley and Kathie Cohen, Marsha Corzine, Michael and Drinda Freriks, Lynn Galt, Mary Ellen Gausewitz, Linda Illingworth, Betty Koines, Millie Mathews, Margie Quinn, Judy Rand, John and Daphne Sheffield, David and Nancy Smith, Lee and Wendee Smith and Bea Webb.

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