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Sky's the Limit at Ball to Help Kids

June 24, 1997|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: The Orange Blossom Ball, a futuristic benefit for the Orangewood Children's Foundation. Saturday's space odyssey took place at the Hyatt Regency Irvine.

Universal appeal: Organizers staged a gala for the next millennium with "Our Children Are Our Future" as the theme. More than 550 party-goers enjoyed galactic cocktails at a reception with a life-size Buzz Lightyear from "Toy Story" and a talking tuxedo-clad robot.

Guests were then transported into a space-age ballroom where centerpieces glowed with fiber-optic lighting and spotlights projected stars onto the walls and ceiling. Members of the Jacqueline Foster Showdance troupe performed to the "Star Wars" theme.

"It's like stepping into the future," said event chairwoman Mary MacIntyre Hamilton, accompanied by her husband, Dr. Harry Hamilton.

Future of fashion? While clever invitations that looked like CD-ROM disks called for "future formal" attire, most guests saw the future of fashion as understated sophistication.

With the exception of Buzz Lightyear, there wasn't a spacesuit in sight. Men wore traditional tuxedos and women wore sleek gowns. Vikki Vargas, Orangewood board member, sported a sheath covered in iridescent sequins and carried a cosmic-looking Lucite purse that belonged to her grandmother. "I'm dressed for back to the future," she said.

Quote: "We have 280 children at Orangewood, and we're considered over capacity at 235. There's a never-ending stream of children who need protection," said Gene Howard, Orangewood's executive director. "We want to use some of the proceeds for prevention of child abuse so we don't have to build another Orangewood."

Bottom line: The $300-per-person event netted more than $300,000 for the foundation, thanks to a surprise $100,000 donation by honoree Dave Wilson and given in the name of his wife, Holly. (During his tribute, Wilson had just one word for the crowd when he took the stage: "Share.")

The foundation supports the Orangewood Children's Home in Orange for abused and neglected children. Proceeds will be used for programs such as sporting events, scholarships and jobs for youths.

Earthlings attending: Orangewood board chairman John Hagestad, emcee Dave Schafer, Chuck and Carleen Haggerty, Stephanie Argyros, Shirley Pepys, Lisa Sinclair, Frank Foster, William and WillaDean Lyon, Bruce and Lisa Hughes, Carol Hoffman, Ray and Sueanne Pacini, Allan and Jaci Songstad, Steve Dickey, Robert and Liane Clasen, Tom Powell, Tom Dobyns, Glenn and April McCusker, Jim and Oralee McNamara, Rick Rozar, and Judy Sweeney.

What's ahead?: Premiere showing of "Thrill Ride" at the Imax theater in Irvine on July 8 will benefit Orangewood. Tickets are $50 per person. For information call (714) 636-4781.

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