Moonlight at the Ranch VII: ‘Disco Fever!’ shakes up a sold out crowd
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: September 25, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
It was “Burn, Baby, Burn” and shake-shake-shake all night long as about 1,000 people celebrated at Moonlight at the Ranch VII: “Disco Fever!” where sequins, glitter and even some Afro wigs lit up the night at Limoneira Ranch AKA Club Clair de Lune.
The Moonlight celebration benefits the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation and Chamber of Commerce and each year the party is structured around a theme.
“Disco just seemed to be a natural,” said Moonlight Chairman Rick Araiza, Santa Paula’s Fire Chief who wore a shiny shirt with a crazy pattern and oversized Afro wig.
“People love to dance and the music is great. We’re really pleased we sold out but it’s not really a surprise.... Moonlight is famous.”
Araiza said he was particularly pleased that Miss USA Deborah Shelton - who later starred in the classic Brian De Palma film “Body Double” and on television’s “Dallas” - was a Special Guest.
And Shelton, accompanied by friends Pamela Fuller and husband Chip Fraser said she was delighted with Moonlight: “This is just a amazing party for a great cause, and the setting is spectacular! Santa Paula is truly a caring, wonderful community.”
Many in the crowd were also famous, well, at least for 15 minutes: white suits ala Tony Moreno (John Travolta) from “Saturday Night Fever” were worn by many of the men, Afros - the bigger and more elaborate the better - and leisure suits, glitter and sequins, lots and lots and lots of sequins sparkled all night.
“Once again Moonlighters created magical mayhem with their in-theme sartorially resplendent costumes,” said John Chamberlain, president of the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce.
“What a great party!” said SPP&FF President Al Guilin. “Those of us who attended had a great time and as always our thanks to Limoneira and all their staff for being great hosts. Our fire and police departments will benefit greatly as will our Chamber of Commerce. It was a great party.... and we’re already planning for 2014!”
A big hit was the Disco Dance-Off where couples - all combinations of couples - partied down and showed off their best Disco moves: brothers Daniel Hom and Stephen Hom of San Diego busted plenty of moves to tie for 1st Place with cousins Marie Garfio and Shelly Amey, both of Santa Paula, the audience applause deciding the best hip-shakers.
“Moonlight is such a wonderful event, always so much fun!” said Supervisor Kathy Long.
Also seen in the crowd were Mayor Ralph Fernandez, Councilman Rick Cook, and Councilman Martin Hernandez, and Police Chief Steve McLean.
Across from the park the Santa Paula Police Department was displaying its massive Dragoon, an urban assault vehicle that was the backdrop for a display of equipment purchased with Moonlight proceeds.
Santa Paula Police Explorers circulated both in the front and back half of the event selling tickets to the mega-Raffle and urging people to visit the Silent Auction set up in front of Limoneira Co. headquarters.
After the crowd enjoyed the Disco Dance-Off, Karl Strauss beer and hors de oeuvres from various participating restaurants in the park, they moved to Club Clair de Lune, Moonlight’s very own Disco.
Guests enjoyed more tastings from dozens of the county’s finest restaurants at the Disco, where lighting patterns, a reflective dance floor, hanging mirrored balls and flashing lights set the scene for more fun including dancing to Men on the Moon, dressed alike in Disco star shirts.
The band had a ladies tune “I Love the Nightlife” for stage dancing, “Y.M.C.A.” for the Village People (Santa Paula Village People led by Officer Ed Banger AKA Bob and Indian Chief AKA Becci Orlando) and even a “men only” Afro dance off that shook the stage and the audience who good naturedly hooted as they danced.
The whole night was a hoot: “I have never, ever had such a good time!” said Julie Heiderich-Whitton of Simi Valley.
“Platform shoes, lightening sparks in hairdos, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ suits galore. It was a lot of fun, and it’s great that it sold out. The committee is already thinking about all the great ideas for next year,” so, Chamberlain noted, “Stay tuned!”
“Every penny raised this evening goes to our police and fire departments and the chamber,” said Araiza. “Moonlight takes about a year to plan; it’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it.... and it’s so much fun people can’t believe it. Once they come to Moonlight at the Ranch people always come back!”