A Case of See-and-Be-Seen at ‘The Great Masquerade’

Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

They called it “The Great Masquerade,” but, with few exceptions, guests arrived free of masks or costumes.

“Oh well,” said chairwoman Sue Hook with a wave of her feathered ball mask.

So much for mystery in the land of see-and-be-seen.

Hook and co-chairwomen Eva Mann and Ann Stern oversaw Saturday’s gala for the Cystic Fibrosis Guild of Orange County--an elegant evening at the Newport Beach Marriott that drew 400 guests at $175 per person and 30 patrons at $250 a pop.


The benefit was co-sponsored by Mike and Cindy Parker, who donated $20,000 to the guild through Parker North American Corp. of Newport Beach, which leases bank equipment nationally.

The decor was Deco--variations on the angular profile of a masked lady who adorned the invitations, program and dining-room bandstand.

Arriving in the silent auction room, guests ordered cocktails from bars set with towering columns topped with triangular cornices, perused items on auction tables draped in black and sprinkled with glitter and helped themselves to such buffet goodies as Russian caviar, smoked salmon and shrimp tempura.

Among the half a dozen who opted for disguises was Dr. Michael Elam, pale eyes merry behind his gold-trimmed Zorro mask.

“I’m from New Orleans, you know, and when somebody says ‘masquerade’ you wear a mask,” explained Elam, who said he picked up his stylish eye wear on a recent trip to the bayou. “I should have gotten masks for everybody.”

Howard Richardson was the very spirit of Mardi Gras in a tinsel wig flowing to his shoulders and a gold mask affixed with flashing lights.

And committee member Gail Isen turned heads in a hot-pink beaded gown with matching sequined mask. “She always dresses like this--we were just on the way to the movies,” quipped Gail’s husband, Mickey.

Attracting a stream of admirers was Don Baylor of the Oakland Athletics, one of three guests of honor to receive this year’s Cystic Fibrosis “Breath of Life” award. Also honored were Red Patterson, consultant with the California Angels, and Joe Beagin, consultant with the San Diego Padres. The three award recipients were instrumental in forming the first “65 Roses Sports Club” 10 years ago, when Baylor played with the Angels. The group raises funds for research through the Angels’ organization (65 roses is the way one young patient once pronounced cystic fibrosis). Today, there are 65 Roses clubs, affiliated with professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams.

About 30,000 infants and young adults in the United States are afflicted with cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease characterized by the presence of cysts and excessive fibrous tissue in such organs as the pancreas and lungs.

Net proceeds from the evening, which included dinner and a live auction, were estimated at $157,000, according to Helen Johnson, executive director of the local foundation chapter.