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The Crowd: PBS SoCal shines on at 'Illumination' gala

May 04, 2011|By B.W. Cook

It was an evening of illumination.

The 2011 PBS SoCal gala on Saturday evening attracted a crowd of nearly 500 guests converging upon the Orange County Fair & Event Center's hangar building in Costa Mesa. Co-chairs of the mega successful party Peggy Goldwater Clay and Ardelle St. George themed the fourth annual gala "Illumination," and they pulled out all the stops.

Arriving at dusk for a hosted cocktail reception, guests were entertained by a series of Cirque performers including acrobats, dancers, mimes, stilt walkers and fire twirlers. There was even a human butterfly appearing in an enormous plastic bubble and coming to life via its own metamorphosis. The black-tie evening was attended by Orange County philanthropists helping to raise more than $550,000 net for PBS SoCal, formerly known as KOCE.

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At 7 p.m., the doors to the massive hangar opened to reveal a most elegant party set up in the industrial space. Rows of rectangular banquet tables seating 10 guests were lined up in several columns facing an enormous dance floor and elevated stage upon which the 35-member band of OC philanthropist and entrepreneur John Tu was assembled to entertain for the evening.

Golden Chiavari chairs were imported to help set the tone of the glittering night. Sparkling table linens underscored oversized clear glass chargers and a row of wine goblets at each setting, which were continuously being refreshed with vintage wines courtesy of American Wine and Spirits.

The tables were centered with overflowing arrangements of orange rose blossoms created by Sunny Ravenbach of White Lilac Inc., Design Studio and surrounded by elegantly wrapped glittering boxes topped with rhinestone baubles made available by Neiman Marcus as table gifts for the patrons of PBS SoCal. Neiman Marcus executives Michaele Hall and Jamie Broadhurst were on hand representing the company.

A multi-course dinner featuring an entrée of filet mignon topped with a grilled Portobello mushroom was catered by The Island Hotel in first-class style on location. Island executive Barbara Eidson supervised ensuring that every detail for the massive dinner was handled with panache.

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