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BENEFITS O.C.

Company Store

It's beginning to look a lot like the Junior League's annual holiday fund-raiser, which opened with a gala.

October 20, 1998|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: A Holiday on 5th Avenue, the Junior League of Orange County's shop-'til-you-drop Christmas Company gift show at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. The league, which raises funds to reduce the risks of child abuse and teen pregnancy, kicked off its four-day show with an opening-night gala Saturday.

They'll take Manhattan: About 1,800 guests felt as if they were strolling along 5th Avenue in December, thanks to a scaled-down Statue of Liberty, a New York City skyline and an Empire State Building ice sculpture. Many party-goers got a jump on holiday shopping, cruising boutiques stocked with everything from pewter ware to bread-dough ornaments. About 50 vendors from all over the country peddle their goods. "We have something for everyone. This is the mecca of shopping," said Jocelyn Lutter, Christmas Company chairwoman.

League of their own: The Junior League has about 1,000 members in Orange County. Among the projects supported by the league: the Boys and Girls clubs of Garden Grove and Capistrano Valley; Girls Inc., a teen program; Orangewood Children's Home; CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for children; and the Project for Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy/Impact Orange County.

Quote: "When children who have been victims of abuse are brought into Orangewood, they're often scared. Our volunteers work with them to lower their anxiety," said Stephanie Paggi, league president.

Faces: Marian Sansone, opening night chairwoman; Ronna Shipman, honoree; Gene Howard, executive director of the Orangewood Children's Foundation; and Pat Halberstadt, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove.

Bottom line: The Christmas Company is expected to net about $400,000 for league programs.

Mark your calendar: The Christmas Company will remain open to the public through Wednesday. Admission is $7. For information about fashion shows and other league events, call the league office at (949) 263-3785.

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