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ANN CONWAY

A Show of Gratitude for Taco Bell and the Masterful Firefighters

July 07, 1994|ANN CONWAY

Oops. Laguna Beach Festival of Arts board president Bud Schroeder said "Del Taco" when he should have said "Taco Bell" on Tuesday night during a cocktail party at Tivoli Terrace on the festival grounds.

Toasting Taco Bell for helping present a special performance of the Pageant of the Masters for firefighters who battled last October's firestorms, Schroeder goofed and got the crowd giggling.

But Charlie Rogers--Taco Bell's senior vice president of human resources--got even: "It's great to be here at the Museum of Modern Art ," he said, shooting a megawatt smile at Schroeder.

Later, Schroeder said to Rogers: "I'm really sorry about that. But maybe you got more out of it this way."

Ah, well. Taco Bell and the Pageant of the Masters both made history Tuesday. The special preseason performance for more than 2,000 guests was the first of its kind in the production's 60-year history. The pageant opens to the public on Friday.

"During the firestorms, we (at Taco Bell) were really impressed with the efforts of the firefighters," Rogers said during the reception. "And we are really passionate about this pageant. When I moved here 2 1/2 years ago from New York a lot of people told me I had to see the pageant, that it was out of this world.

"Well, I went and found out it was true."

Guests--who included Orange County Supervisors Harriett Wieder and Tom Riley and Laguna Beach Mayor Ann Christoph--mingled on the terrace under a huge sycamore tree strung with twinkle lights, sipping cool ones and nibbling at passed appetizers.

The buzz: fire prevention. "It's the summer season," sighed Christoph, "and we're encouraging people to remove excess fuel . . . plants, debris, deadwood . . . from their properties."

Residents who want to prevent fires should invite the fire department to inspect their homes, said Laguna Beach Fire Chief Richard Dewberry, who attended the event with his wife, Suzanne. "The fire department can give them ideas on what to do to make their homes fire safe," he said.

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Wieder tribute: Harriett Wieder will step down from her post as Orange County supervisor in January, but not before her pals give her a huge send-off.

Plans are underway for a black-tie tribute to Wieder on Sept. 8. Bob Fluor and Chris Deemer are co-chairmen. "(The tribute) was supposed to have taken place on June 30," Wieder said on Tuesday night. But it was postponed, she said, "because we are establishing a Harriett Wieder Charitable and Educational Foundation, and the tribute will benefit that.

"So first, we have to get an IRS clearance." The foundation will help support Wieder's pet charities, "like the Wellness Community and Interval House," she said.

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