Whirlwind of an Evening Greets Debs

Times Staff Writer

A little frost, heavy winds, thunder to light up the skies, and hail (though no brimstone)--all these natural elements certainly haven't played havoc with the debutante balls. Debs have every bit as much endurance as Denver Bronco fans, and they've been having one whee of a time this season.

Twenty-six debutantes of the San Marino Area Chapter of the National Charity League were presented in the Beverly Wilshire Ballroom, in a Victorian setting master-minded by Milo Bixby with the help of Janet Marangi. Each stepped through a forest of trees under an archway of ferns and ivy to make deep bows, then circled the dance floor, each on the arm of her father, as Ron Rubin's orchestra played the special song each girl had selected.

Then all dined on red-clothed tables with lace overcloths; the centerpieces were jeweled Victorian Christmas trees encased in glass domes. They had their family photos taken and scooted back to the dance floor.

It didn't end there. Along about 1 a.m., the young dashed off in assorted limos, Volkswagens and the family Mercedeses for the post-deb party at the home of Kris and Jane Popovich in San Marino.

Using the same white tent that had partially collapsed during the enormous winds of previous nights, the debs, their escorts and stags (all adults were eliminated) partied on and on, playing roulette and blackjack for prizes, supping at various food stations while Mike Carney's Orchestra played on. The die-hards were still at it at 5 a.m.

It all had the imprimatur of ball chairman Cherie Saxton, whose husband, James Michael Saxton, had introduced the debs at the ball.

And the frolic seemed well-deserved: Before this happy time, debs, according to tradition, devote six years to volunteer community service, aiding the Girls Club of Pasadena, the Crippled Children's Society, Kidspace, Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena Art Workshop, L.A. County/USC Medical Center, San Marino and South Pasadena libraries, and the San Marino Curriculum Lab.

Debutantes and their parents were Karen Bare, Bruce and Darilyn Bare; Jennifer Cole, Richard and Nancy Cole; Laurie Edmundson, John and Nancy Edmundson; Christine Edwards, John and Lucinda Edwards; Cynthia Frykman, Edward and Nancy Frykman; Kelsey Garrett, Marvin and Judy Garrett; Kathryn Gitzinger, Philip and Pat Gitzinger; Tricia Grant, Hugh and Paddy Grant; and Laura Graven, Lawrence and Judy Graven.

Also attending were Beth Griebe, Edward and Nancy Griebe; Annemarie Grund, Lee and Penny Grund; Corinne Havens, John and Maxine Havens; Erica Hoegee, Richard and Vicki Hoegee; Heather Holland, William and Sondra Holland; Cami Kaplanis, Peter and Joan Kaplanis; Elise Kerckhoff, John and Nancy Kerckhoff; Rebecca Mielke, Lary and Debbie Mielke; and Wendy Mills, Nelson and Margie Mills.

Also, Katherine Ownbey, Lloyd and Jean Ownbey; Lisa Pawlek, Donald and Beth Pawlek; Kimberly Popovich, Kris and Jane Popovich; Leslie Reeves, Roy and Elaine Reeves; Erin Tompkins, Emmett and Marion Tompkins; Denise Varner, Ronald and Christina Varner; Laurel Vidmar, Jake and Denise Vidmar; and Leslie Wallen, Richard and Lorna Wallen.

SANTA ANITA: It was a crossroads of "who's who" at the opening of the 51st season of thoroughbred racing at Santa Anita, traditionally dubbed the Great Race Place in Arcadia.

Lee Annenberg, who had warded off the chill at Rancho Mirage by wearing two sweaters, stayed warm in a red cashmere dress swathed with a full-length matching shawl.

Santa Anita President Robert P. Strub and his wife, Betty, greeted lots of movers and shakers at the luncheon in the Director's Room. Among them: former Atty. Gen. William French Smith and his wife, Jean; Marion and Earle Jorgensen; and Alyce and Spud Williamson.

Before the first race, the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales went through their paces to warm up the crowd. But Carlota (Lotsie) Busch Giersch and her husband, Frederic, had to stop for gas and missed it. Lotsie is responsible for the gentle giants being at Santa Anita, where they pulled the starting gates into place. Plus, she's the one who oversees the City of St. Louis entry in the Rose Parade (pulled by the horses), though this year she turned the reins over to daughters Kathleen O'Kane and Karen Reynolds.

In the crowd were Hannah and Ed Carter, Mary Louise and Arthur Crowe, Dorothy and George Russell, and Andrea and John Van de Kamp.

The social finale was the champagne party and trophy presentation in the Director's Room following the eighth race. The Malibu Stakes was won by On the Line, owned by Eugene Klein, who had scratched his own appearance earlier in the day. Trainer Wayne Lucas was there to accept the toast, honors and trophy.

Jockey William Shoemaker's wife, Cindy, had her usual table near the finish line; late in the day she was visited by the Rev. Gene Scott garbed in a full-length fur coat and hat.

The second day of the season, some returned to the Directors' Room for family parties, among them Barbara and Felix McGinnis, Nancy and Dick Call, and Cammie and Robert Strub.

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