The Crowd: Space and green totally go together

Among the most fashionable folks attending Sept. 25's Discovery Science Center gala were a woman in a ball gown fashioned entirely of leaves, a petite gal in a little black cocktail dress made of a Hefty trash bag accented with a stole made of Swifter dust mops, and yet another fashion-forward woman in an eco-couture number created from Ralph's Grocery Co. imprinted sacks.

It was indeed an evening of eco-chic and recycled couture as the crowd of some 400 guests converged upon the Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, for their 2010 fundraiser billed as "Celebrate Earth: An Eco Friendly Affair." Chaired by Mary and Jack Norberg, the event was one of the liveliest in recent memory. Fast forward to the end of the evening as guests departed, they were handed a parting gift bag of a Ralph's fabric sack. The husband of the woman wearing a dress made of the Ralph's bags commented, "Oh honey, now you have a purse to match your dress."

Laughter was surely a key ingredient to the event's success. Earlier in the evening, the crowd interfaced with exhibits set up for their hands-on participation. At a Lego station partygoers were invited to build a space craft meant to travel to Mars. A young man, proud of his creation, turned to the lady next to him and questioned, "Do you think my space ship will get us to Mars?" The lady replied, "Yes, I believe it will." She added, "You are very handy with the Legos." Turning to the young lady next to her she whispered, "I'll bet he still plays with them, that's why his model is so much better than mine."

Professional jealousy aside, the Space Exploration Gallery was a hit. A new addition called the Boeing Rocket Lab featuring a real RS-68 rocket engine and visual blast-off zone captivated the audience as well.

Following the reception guests were ushered into the dining room, lit with an eco green glow, for a marvelous dinner of endive and caprese duo salad with an entrée of potato-crusted halibut on a bed of basil mashed potatoes topped with a citrus aioli catered by Turnip Rose. The evening was dedicated to sponsor Bank of America and to Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell. Both were honored with the prestigious Arnold O. Beckman Award. One nice touch: The centerpieces on each table, a beautiful white orchid plant, included a note that following the affair they were being donated to a local senior citizens facility.

The obligatory auction was fronted by super-generous Discovery Science Center patron Tim Kashani, dressed in a neon green shirt and matching sequined green tennis shoes. Dancing until midnight to the music of a fabulous Beatles tribute band known as Paperback Writer delighted the dinner guests. There was not an inch of open space on the dance floor. Baby boomers have come of age.

Supporting the center were sponsors led by Bank of America Corp. along with Boeing Co., Bolar Hirsch & Jennings LLP, Fluor Corp., Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Haskell & White LLP, Horowitz Group, KPMG LLP, Medtronics, Microsemi, Ralph's, Taco Bell, Southern California Gas Co., U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and Townsend Public Affairs Inc., to name only a few.

VIP guests included Marta and Raj Bhathal, Bill, Chris and Mary Campbell, Michelle and Joe Adams, president of Discovery Science Center, Richard Faris, Paul, Pat and Cathy Folino, Peggy Goldwater Clay, Kristina and Larry Dodge, Pamela and Tim Kashani, Janet, Walkie and Mike Ray, and Richard and Susan Luehrs. Also spotted in the crowd were Jeff and Andrea Reeves, John and Nancy Vaughn, and Del and Carol Stagg.

By the end of the evening, $550,000 had been raised in support of the center's Education Fund which provides year-round science programs including scholarships for Orange County students.

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