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Once Upon a Fiesta

A benefit party by the Fullerton Public Library Foundation includes a bit of local lore and brings the children's facility closer to a happy ending.

May 08, 1997

The crowd gathered in a courtyard inside one of Fullerton's oldest buildings. The barbecue grill was set up under a fig tree that's seen more than 100 summers. One of the top organizers has celebrated 88 birthdays.

It was a charity event, but it also turned out to be a nice little nod to local history.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of its Children's Library and, of course, to raise money, the Fullerton Public Library Foundation held a Southwest Fiesta on Sunday at Villa del Sol, a business complex in downtown Fullerton.

Al Milo, director of the Fullerton Public Library, said the event took in $9,000, which will go toward funding a project to double the size of the children's library, add computer terminals and install shelving. More than $100,000 has been raised so far for the $150,000 project.

"School libraries aren't as they used to be, so the students rely more on public libraries," Milo said. "A lot of schools don't have full-time librarians, and some schools are thinking of converting their libraries into classrooms in an effort to reduce class size."

On busy days, 4,000 books are checked out at the Children's Library, which is tucked inside the main library.

For Sunday's event, the staff of Heroes Bar & Grill hauled its equipment across Harbor Boulevard into the Villa del Sol courtyard. Under clear skies, they served chicken breast glazed in a whiskey-peach sauce and chuck-wagon chili to 160 supporters. A pinata decorated each table.

Members of the local Los Yostaltepetl dance group--Juan Salvador Ramirez, 11, and his sister, Paulina, 9--performed traditional dances. It was an event to benefit kids, after all.

Speaking of benefiting kids, teen volunteers are needed during the summer. An orientation will be held June 5. For information about the library: (714) 738-6338.

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