R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : Summer Classic Leaves Past Contests in the Dust

A picturesque park setting, a gourmet sit-down luncheon and women in hats and flowing dresses all combined to make the Summer Classic V equestrian event at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center an elegant affair for the horsey set.

Sellout crowds of 600 guests each day attended the luncheons Saturday and Sunday as part of the five-day equestrian competition to benefit the Huntington Beach Art Center. The competition, staged by the art center foundation and GTE Directories Corp. in cooperation with the city of Huntington Beach and the equestrian center, was expected to net about $75,000 for the art center, which is scheduled for completion in December. Guests paid $125 or $75 for front or second row seats to attend the luncheons.

Grass Is Greener

In past years the luncheons were held at the equestrian center, leaving guests to trample through dirt to get to the tent. This year’s event was held “on the green,” just north of the center in the adjacent central park.


“There’s not a sign of dirt,” said Diana Casey, event co-chairwoman.

Organizers set up huge white tents on the grass and even borrowed the same wood fencing used at the Oaks, Joan Irvine Smith’s ranch in San Juan Capistrano.

“We tried to make it look like an equestrian event should--very elegant, very appealing to the eye,” Casey said.

Tables decorated with green linens and yellow marigolds lined the course. For the first time in the event’s history guests were served a sit-down meal that included fresh fruit, a salad of wild field greens with candied pecans, beef tenderloin and jumbo shrimp, cold marinated asparagus and old-fashioned ice cream sundaes.


Horsing Around

During the meal, guests watched riders coax their horses over the imposing obstacles in the riding arena.

“Everyone’s saying it’s one of the better courses. The horses love it,” said Mary Harris, event co-chairwoman and owner of the equestrian center who on Saturday was named champion of the adult amateur jumpers.

Proceeds will go to the capital campaign for the community art center, an 11,000-square-foot building in downtown Huntington Beach formerly occupied by Southern California Edison.


“In the past people in this town have gone elsewhere for their cultural opportunities,” said Michael Mudd, event co-chairman.

The center will include three galleries, a bookstore, a studio and a multipurpose room for films, lectures and performance art.

“It’s really hot,” says Naida Osline, center director.

Among those attending the luncheons were: Dan Jankowiak, event co-chairman; Gerald Chapman, chairman of committees; Enrique Loaeza, consul general of Mexico; Gayle Anderson, Orange County chief of protocol; Mario and Diane Antoci; Lloyd Baron; Jerry Dominguez; Bob Goodrich; Bill and Harriet Harris; William and Lorraine McCune; Eunice Nicholson; Pam Patterson; Kay Waldhauser, and Alice Zamboni.