Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean and Fillmore VCSD Chief Monica McGrath, both club board directors, were among the crowd as well as retired Ventura County Superior Court Judge Edward Brodie, VCSD Deputy Jack McGrath, Santa Paula Unified School District Superintendent Alfonso Gamino, Asst. Superintendent Dr. Paul Chounet and representatives of Assemblyman Das Williams and Rep. Julia Brownley.
Donna Nelson and the Isbell Middle School Condor Choir provided holiday music as the crowd swirled by the trees and during the elegant buffet provided by the Glen Tavern Inn’s Enzo’s. The talented Corin Conant offered several songs, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar.
James Lantiegne of The House of Magic conjured up a show of wonderful illusions and plenty of humor using members of the audience to help the tricks-and the laughs-along.
“Every penny raised here today will really, really help our kids,” said Board Chairwoman Tammy Hobson who noted the club runs lean although not mean.
“This is it.... this clubhouse is the heart and the soul of our club and it serves many, many people,” with minimal staffing.
“It’s a small staff,” that Hobson said deserves a “big shout out,” for the work they do with a limited budget for the population of kids-including those at-risk-served by club programs and activities.
Also garnering thanks was Becci Orlando who Hobson noted again chaired the event and designed many of the trees using sponsor donations.
Peggy Kelly, assisted by her 9-year-old granddaughter Amber Grace Wineman of Newbury Park, was Mistress of Ceremonies and oversaw the raffle which brought cheers from winners and their tables of family and friends and anguished but good natured cries from those that saw the trees they coveted go to another ticket holder.
When the final ticket was drawn, Orlando announced that guests might have a better chance in winning trees at next year’s Light Up the Season.
“I don’t think we can make it better,” said Orlando, “but we can make it bigger!”