The Valley Line: Ceremonies and parties light up the season

Ho, Ho, Ho — 'Tis the season. It's party time in the foothills. Last Friday night it was the annual Festival in Lights at Memorial Park. Santa Claus arrived by sheriff's patrol car and greeted the assembled crowd. Carols were sung by the school kids and the Miss La Cañada Flintridge court introduced. And then, like magic, the lights went on in the median down Foothill Boulevard. Our city looks so pretty with its holiday lights.


The YMCA of the Foothills, which operates both the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA and the Verdugo Hills YMCA, held its first ever "Deck the Halls" Dinner and Auction of 22 beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths to benefit the Youth Leadership Endowment Fund that supports kids today and tomorrow in their quests for good health and social responsibility.

Kay Linden was chair of the event. Assisting her were Lillian Aldren, Kim Beattie, Mary Becker, Taleen Kamar, Crista Murray, Mary Jane Snyder and Kimberly Visokey.

More than 80 people turned out to see and bid on the trees, sip wine, chat, nosh on appetizers and enjoy a sumptuous dinner. During the evening the Charismatics, Crescenta Valley High School elite choral team, sang carols and "The Untouchables," the La Cañada High School Jazz Band, performed.

Kim Beattie, the Y's director of financial development, said, "This first Deck the Halls fundraiser was such a success we hope to make it our signature winter social fundraising event each year."

Steven Chan, a Crescenta Valley High School student, spoke about his experiences in the leadership programs at the YMCA. Natalie Abou-Chakra, leader of youth development, introduced him. Tyler Wright, president and chief executive of the YMCA made final comments of the evening.

Decorating trees and wreaths this year were Angel's Nest, the Apple Cart, Brad Coleman Construction, Button Nose Pet Shop, Citizens Business Bank, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Comfort & Joy Café, CV Alliance, Revolution Dance Center, Eiji's Florist, Grandpoint Bank, Goodie Girls, J. Stern Home and Garden, La Cabinita Fine Mexican Cuisine, J's Maids, License Advocates Law Group, McGroaty Arts Center, Nuovo Hair Salon, Pier One Imports, Podley Properties, La Cañada Books & Toys and Urban Fitness.

The tree and wreath décor ranged from bands of angels to circus figures and everything in between. They were serious to fanciful — and all of them beautiful.


The La Cañada Thursday Club held its "Home for the Holidays" Christmas party at the clubhouse last Saturday evening.

Chairs for the party were Joani Bartoli-Porto and Barbara Self. Assisting them in the party planning were club President Gale Caswell, Alma Tyson and Julie Barry.

The clubhouse was dressed up for the holidays so beautifully. The fireplace mantel was centered with a red amaryllis plant flanked by miniature red poinsettias, candles and tiny white lights.

The dining tables were covered with long white cloths with red toppers. The chairs had long white skirts with the backs tied in a large red bow. Joani Bartoli-Porto created the stylish table centerpieces by gluing cellophane-wrapped candy canes around a clear glass vase filled with white hydrangea with bits of holly and red berries accenting the full white flowers.

The party guests arrived in their party best — the ladies with sparkles and beads and some of the gentlemen wore red jackets — everyone looked so festive!

As people chatted about holiday plans, appetizers were served. The nibble menu included artichoke crab tart, mango brie crostini and wild forest mushroom en croute.

The guests were escorted to their tables by two of the debutantes who will make their presentation at " Bal Blanc De Noel" to be held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 28. Seventeen debs will be presented at the ball. The debs acting as table escorts were Madelyn Merchant and Grace Vallen.

The evening's dinner fare included a salad of baby field greens with dried cranberries, roasted walnuts and a light blue cheese crumble with balsamic vinaigrette. The entrée was a phyllo-covered chicken in a creamy garlic tarragon sauce with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. For dessert the members enjoyed a mouth-watering Jack Daniels bread pudding that was delicious.

After dinner, guests danced to the music provided by DJ Mick of Better Music Services.

Among the guests attending this delightful party were Doug and Bev Albright, Juli Barry, Joani and Carmen Porto, Louise and Bob Beggs, Peggy Burt, Julie and Kris Carlson, Gale and Tom Caswell, Carol and Gil Cormaci, Cyndy and Marty Mayer, Sharon and Ray Combs, Mary and Brady Caverly, Yvonne Elleri, Gracella Gibbs and Gene Wilcott, Susie and Jim Gray, Dotty Greenawalt, Mary Hennessy, Jeanie and Terry Kay, Clay and Tom Kempson, Aline and Tom Kuhlne, and Becky and Jeff Lankey.

More enjoying the party were Rosemarie and George Lossone, Martha Moore, Sheri and David Morton, Kim and Bob Ortiz, Linda and Stan Pebsworth, Jody and George Platisa, Roberta Raffaelli, Jane Rosell, Barbara Self and Walt Lewis, Joy and Kirk Sellman, Julia Shaull and Tim McQuay, Maureen and Larry Staley, Sue and Jerry Tutt, Alma Tycer, Eunice and Lynne Van Valkenburgh, Annette and Ron Wacker, Jill and Rick Weinlein, Lisa and Peter Whan, Patti and Paul Wickersham, and Jean and Ron Zink.

It was a lovely, lovely evening and a wonderful prelude to more parties to come during this season.

The Thursday Club will present its annual "Christmas Tea with Santa" to be held at the clubhouse on Sunday, Dec. 22 from 4 to 6 p.m.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Canada Flintridge social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.

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