Compiled by Mary Ann Galante, Times Staff Writer

A corporation and its money aren't easily parted.

But at least nine are spending big for the county's centennial.

That's the number of $100,000 sponsors that have been lined up so far by Orange County Centennial Inc., the private, nonprofit group that is organizing the yearlong celebration that starts Aug. 1.

Darrell Metzger, president, plans to bring in one more $100,000 sponsor and has already gained commitments from 32 (out of a hoped-for 50 companies) that will donate $15,000 apiece.

What's in it for the companies? "They'll gain recognition or exposure in any events that the centennial is financially assisting or sanctioning," Metzger said.

And they apparently see the yearlong series of educational, historical and community events as just the ticket to get their names in the public eye while promoting and supporting the county.

The companies chipping in $100,000 apiece are: Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm; the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register; C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, the Irvine Co. and the Santa Margarita Co., American Airlines and Home Express.

"It's an opportunity to capitalize on what we see as a major event for Orange County . . . with some strong marketing opportunities," declared Stuart Zanville of Knott's Berry Farm.

"From a PR standpoint, you won't necessarily see it generate additional attendance," added Disneyland spokesman Bob Roth. "It's a good-neighbor sort of thing."

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