Kids' Causes Will Get a Piece of the Auction

It's for children's sake that the Junior Auxiliary of the Newport-Mesa Assistance League staged the ball and auction at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach on Saturday. About 360 people attended the fund-raiser, which earned $50,000 for the league's Child Day Care Center, Children's Dental Health Center, Kids on the Block educational puppet program and Operation School Bell Program.

Puppy Love

Puppies make regular appearances at this ball. (Each year, Russo's Pet Shop donates a pup for auction.)

This year, a cafe au lait spotted cocker spaniel fetched $650 for the league. It's the third dog that Jennifer Brown McKay and her family have bought at the auction.

"It's for a good cause," explained McKay, an auxiliary member who talked her father, Robert Brown, into making the winning bid. "You have to know where your heart is."

Among the other items sold in the silent and live auctions: a basketball jersey worn by Erwin (Magic) Johnson, Jaguar accessories and movie passes to Edwards theaters.

"There's a cordless drill I'm interested in," joked Paul Best, who attended the ball with his wife, Nancy, the auction co-chairwoman responsible for rounding up much of the merchandise.

Sweet Temptations

In keeping with the ball's "Visions of Sugarplums" theme, the Four Seasons ballroom sparkled with garlands and topiaries adorned with ribbons and crystallized fruit.

For dinner, chefs prepared an appetizer of spinach and cheese ravioli in a rich cream sauce, a four-leaf salad with choices of cranberry vinaigrette or Roquefort dressing, and thick grilled veal chops with cherry sauce for the main course.

Dessert looked almost too pretty to eat (but most people did) with a medley of raspberry timbale, a nest of white chocolate mousse and a chocolate truffle, all surrounded by a caramel praline sauce.

Children in Need

Guests paid $225 a couple to attend the ball, which benefits children in the Newport-Mesa School District serving Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

"Believe it or not, you can find children in Newport Beach who don't have dental care or eye care and who don't have clothing," said Kelly Kohne, co-chairwoman of the ball with Vicki Stump.

Others ball participants: Laurie Veitch, chairman of the auxiliary, who attended with husband Christopher; Nancy Best and Anne Light, auction co-chairmen; and Linda Fedrick. Gary Hunt of the Irvine Co. served as master of ceremonies.

Oh, Christmas Tree: About 230 people attended the second annual "Christmas Tree Magic" luncheon and tree auction Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach to benefit the Orange County Ronald McDonald House. The event raised $12,000.

Eight decorated Christmas trees were auctioned, including one draped like a May pole in metallic streamers and surrounded by carousel horses, and a Victorian-style tree with fresh roses.

Sylvia Burnett, event organizer, began the tree auction last year to benefit organizations that help children. Each year proceeds go to a different charity.

"I love Christmastime, and Christmas is a time for children," Burnett said. "There's no better time to raise money for children."

The Ronald McDonald House in Orange serves as a home-away-from-home for families of critically ill children.

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