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Greenery, Finery

Arboretum Friends Dream Up Formal Midsummer Night

July 21, 1998|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: Midsummer Night in the Garden, a romantic dinner-dance featuring carriage rides and candlelight amid the lush greenery of the Fullerton Arboretum. Saturday's gala was the first formal event staged in the 26-acre botanical oasis by its Friends support group.

Gala on the green: More than 100 party-goers sporting tuxedos or summery evening dresses wandered past a waterfall and over a bridge to the orchard lawn, where dinner was served at tables glowing with hurricane lamps. On a balmy midsummer night, guests danced to the big-band sounds of the Janet Walker Orchestra and took rides around the arboretum in horse-drawn carriages.

"Our board and the community [have] been asking us to do this for years," said Thelma Mellot, event chairwoman and president of the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum, who plan to make the party annual.

Planting a seed: The Fullerton Arboretum opened in 1979 on Cal State property once earmarked for a parking lot. "It was a big batch of old trees and mustard plants," said Jorice Maag, a supporter of the arboretum since its inception. Thanks to university trustees, concerned students, supporters and the city of Fullerton, the land is now filled with plants and trees representing different climate zones, including a rare-fruit grove. The arboretum serves as a resource for environmental, horticultural and historical education.

Faces: Dorothy Beaver, honorary chairwoman and longtime arboretum supporter; Dr. Harry Norman, CSUF's liaison with the arboretum; Ed and Naomi Zohman; Earl Mellot; Dick and Pat Hopping; Carole Bartholomew; Bar- bara Kilponen; Victoria Bahr; Joe Maag; and James Rheins.

Bottom line: The gala netted about $6,000 for the arboretum, to be used for groundskeeping and community programs.

What's ahead: The 13th Annual Arborfest, a fall family festival to be held at the arboretum Oct. 10-11. Call: (714) 278-3404.

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