This is the year of the Carousel of Hope. But, don't bob for tickets. Chairmen Barbara and Marvin Davis are sold out at 1,200 for Oct. 25 at the Beverly Hilton.
In 1994, Barbara Davis raised $6 million at the affair. For this 12th event, "I'd be thrilled with five," she says.
That makes what's often called the "Carousel Ball" (though there's no room for a dance floor) the biggest single fund-raising event in our social city.
Proceeds will benefit research and health care at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. Substantial donations also will be given to the Los Angeles chapters of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the American Diabetes Assn.
"What makes the night so special," says Barbara Davis, "is that it's done out of love. People care about diabetes, and it means so much for them to do this."
"Do this" they do. Revlon and Guess are major sponsors. Tables are by invitation and range from $10,000 to $50,000. Every major movie studio and television network supports the cause, and since its inception the biennial ball has raised $30 million.
Even the entertainers donate. Whitney Houston, who will receive the Davises' High Hopes Award, will perform. So will Rod Stewart and the Bee Gees. And Jay Leno will emcee. Still, it's a family affair. The Davises' daughters Dana, who has diabetes, and Nancy Davis Rickles, always take charge of the night's auction. That's budgeted for "maybe $750,000 profit."
Upbeat: Everyone wanted to see Christopher Reeve and hear him speak. Everyone wanted to see the Oaks' new very green venue in San Juan Capistrano, last year a barley field. And everyone wanted to watch the $50,000 Oaks International Grand Prix.
With soft breezes rolling in under the long white tent, with a handsomely dressed and polite crowd, the plein-air art show and lots of luncheon munchies, "A Day at the Oaks International" benefiting the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine, was a joy.
The Christopher Reeve Research Medal and $50,000 award, made possible by Joan Irvine Smith, went to Dr. Martin Schwab of Zurich, who has discovered a protein that inhibits growth of spinal nerve fibers in animals and may be the link to regenerating nerve fibers in humans.
The new Oaks is a joint venture between Smith and Richard O'Neil, owner of Rancho Mission Viejo. Says Smith, "We created it in the hope we might lure the Olympic equestrian trials to the West Coast in 2000."
Gerry and Robin Parsky attended. Robin will be on her hunter at the Harrisburg Horse Show circuit this fall, and the Parskys chair the opening night benefit at the New York Madison Square Garden National Horse Show on Oct. 30, with benefits for the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, too.
* Mary Lou Loper's column is published Sundays.