Shop for a good cause

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Local volunteers and philanthropists are hoping for a dazzling turnout at this year's Christmas Co. extravaganza, themed "A Home-Cooked Holiday."

It's the Newport Beach-based Junior League of Orange County, California Inc.'s largest annual fundraiser, Event Publicity Chairwoman Daphne Hart said.

More than 100 local and national exhibitors will be on hand, offering everything from handmade jewelry to cutting-edge knives to pet couture.

There's much more to the event than just shopping, although there will be shopping aplenty; a tea room will be set up for refined refreshments, and a series of special events will boast swoon-worthy appearances and goodie bags.

The first night of the four-day extravaganza opens with a gala themed "Meet Me under the Mistletoe," and features live music by the Tijuana Dogs and a deejay, along with cocktails, gourmet tastes, silent and live auctions, and more.

New this year is a talk and class the morning of Nov. 19 called the No Om Zone, given by YAS Fitness Centers founder Kimberly Fowler.

"She has an incredible story," Hart said. "She's a triathlete and an attorney, and yoga helped her recover from brain cancer. She's going to talk about that, and how yoga compelled her to change her life."

The event will include an all-levels yoga session led by Fowler.

"We're really excited by the fact that people can hear from her and then really practice what she preaches — there are things about yoga that can help everybody," Hart said.

True to Christmas Co. form, the event will offer the first 100 people a fantastic yoga-related goodie bag, Hart added.

Also new this year, according to Hart, is a Girls' Night Out event, where early bird attendees will receive a gift bag valued at more than $450 for their $45 admission ticket. Goodie bags also will be distributed at select other events as well.

"People who come to the events are going to be walking away with gifts from the community," Hart said.

Funds raised are used for collaborative projects with several charities, including the Second Harvest Food Bank, Crittenton Services, Children's Hospital of Orange County, Olive Crest and the League's own projects and programs.

"This is the biggest fundraiser for the Junior League, so the money that's raised at the event goes to help the charities and organizations that the Junior League is already involved with," Hart said.

A programs committee narrows down beneficiaries each year based on votes by the League's membership.

"It's a league by women for women," Hart said. "Collectively, we decide the focus of the foundation."

If You Go

What: The Christmas Co.

When: Thursday to Nov. 20

Where: OC Fair & Events Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: General admission $10; see calendar for additional options

Information: (949) 261-0823 or

Calendar of Selected Events:

General Shopping:

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Nov. 20

$10 admission, payable once for entry the entire weekend.

Preferred Shopping

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday

$35 per person

Get first crack at wares (and VIP treatment) in a stroller-free environment, as well as breakfast, champagne and mimosas.

Opening Night Gala

6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday

"Meet Me under the Mistletoe" for live music, drinks and dishes, auctions, dancing and more.

The No Om Zone

9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday

$45 per person

YAS Fitness Centers founder Kimberly Fowler combines yoga techniques and small business techniques in a combo yoga class and talk.

Girls' Night Out

6 to 9 p.m. Friday

$45 per person

Enjoy grown-up beverages, a private shopping experience, mini pampering treatments and a mind-boggling goodie bag.

PJs & Pancakes

10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Nov. 19

$15 per adult; $25 per child

Enjoy Santa time, a pancake breakfast and arts and crafts.

Cooking Demo and Book Signing

4 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 19

$35 per person

Local legend Zov Karamardian, owner of Zov's Bistro and other eponymous restaurants, will demonstrate and share dishes from her newest book, "Simply Zov."

Fancy Nancy Tea Party

11 to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 4 p.m. Nov. 20

$28 per adult; $39 per child

"Fancy Nancy" author Jane O'Connor and illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser preside over this posh tea party for moms and kids 3 and older.

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