Moonlight: ‘Creatures’ had the time of their ‘afterlives” at fundraiser

September 28, 2012
Santa Paula News

Moonlight at the Ranch VI: “Creatures of the Night!” held at historic Limoneira Ranch drew about 700 guests to a celebration where they were able to get their creature on - whether zombie, Medusa, pirate or Count Dracula - to benefit the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation and Chamber of Commerce.

The monstrous celebration paid tribute to the ultimate “Creatures of the Night!” - Honorary Chairmen Boris Karloff (Frankenstein’s Monster) and Bela Lugosi (Count Dracula). Special guests were Sara Karloff and Bela Lugosi Jr., whose late fathers created characters never equaled in horror cinema.

The evening started with greetings, cocktails (including Bloody Marys in honor of Count Dracula and Karl Strauss’ Oktoberfest, the only brew poured at Frankenstein’s Castle) and snacks in Limoneira Park and Bocce Ball Court. The venue was decorated with displays of the immortal characters portrayed by Karloff and Lugosi, as well as tributes to horror-comedy films. 

Public safety was out in full force with a display featuring an Army jeep and other items that showed how those creatures of 1950s - when film monsters often resulted from science going wrong - were corralled by a firm military and police and fire response. 

Guests enjoyed a skit involving a downed mummy (the scene was cordoned off with yellow caution tape by investigating Santa Paula Police) that even the Santa Paula Fire Department couldn’t revive using Hands-Only CPR. Once the mummy was declared beyond help he was loaded into a casket in a GEM hearse for a funeral procession led by the Dixieland Jazz band Razzberry Jam, so guests could “pass on” to the feasting outside Limoneira Headquarters.

There was a raffle offering an array of prizes, silent auctions, dancing to Men on the Moon (whose “Men in Black” first had to persuade a space alien to take to the drums) and plenty of fun for all “Creatures of the Night!”

SPPD Citizens Patrol, Explorers, Reserve Officers and Officers were on hand to help with everything from setup and selling raffle tickets to showing wanted posters of monsters that could be lurking in the crowd. 

SPPD Officers Randy Haumann and K-9 Hozy as well as Officer Larry Johnson and K-9 Zak were on hand to take a stage ribbing from “Mistress of the Dark” and Moonlight Chair Peggy Kelly. The presence of the officers and their K-9s as well as remarks from Fire Chief Rick Araiza demonstrated how money raised by Moonlight is used by the Foundation to fulfill public safety needs.

Dozens of restaurants offered tastings of their finest cuisine to the crowd drawn from Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties. 

Limoneira’s Fireside Room was decorated with more displays honoring not only Karloff’s Frankenstein’s Monster and Lugosi’s Count Dracula but also all things horror-centric.

Guests, many who said they have never missed a Moonlight at the Ranch, danced the night away with those who were experiencing their first celebration at the Ranch. And what a way to celebrate: guests who dressed for the theme ranged from Day of the Dead to wearing PJs and clutching Teddy bears to ward off the monster-under-the-bed to witches, Count Draculas and zombies. 

Some guests dressed for success with monster accessories, some wore T-shirts decorated with their favorite “Creatures of the Night,” there were guests sporting rubber snakes or oversized spiders while others went all out with elaborate costumes and/or professional make up. But under the stars all Creatures, not matter their genre, said they were devilishly delighted to be having the time of their “afterlives” and sharing such a unique evening of entertainment. 

“It was a wonderful party, we’re so pleased people had so much fun,” said Fire Chief Rick Araiza. “We don’t only want to raise money for the Foundation, but also provide people with a celebration in a setting that they’ll never forget.” 

“We believe Moonlight does that each year,” said Araiza. “And we’re very, very grateful for the support of the Foundation and public safety.”

“What’s not to love?” said Chamber President John Chamberlain. “People were enjoying themselves at beautiful Limoneira Ranch, the jewel that Santa Paula is was shown, everyone had a fabulous time at Moonlight while benefiting public safety and the Chamber.”

“Police and fire are our creatures of public safety and the chamber is our creature of economic vitality,” said Kelly. “But no matter how great the cause or how popular Moonlight is, this party wouldn’t exist without all those dedicated creatures on the Moonlight Committee and other hardworking creatures that volunteered to make this celebration a success.”

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