Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 52
Hobnobbing With Helen
By HELEN ANN THOMAS
The place was packed. Packed, I tell you!
Apparently, no one wanted to miss the 11th annual OCAF Gala held on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Santa Maria Country Club.
Perhaps because the gala presented a tribute to the late Nat Fast, a beloved community artist, I did not see an empty seat at the attractively appointed dinner tables.
I had to squeeze through clumps of the crowd to get to the silent auction tables, which were hubbubs of frenetic bidding activity for, among other things, gorgeous plant arrangements.
Serious hobnobbing was rampant. More than 200 devoted supporters of the Orcutt schools convened to enjoy a super meal, drink good wine, raise money for the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation, and connect with each other.
This was Allison Smith’s first year as chairperson of the gala. I suspect it will not be her last. This vivacious lady—wife of attorney Aaron Smith and daughter-in-law of hostess extraordinaire Jeanne Miranda (think “Hats for Hope”)—was born to be a leader in fundraising.
The buzz of animated conversation filled the club before dinner and the auction. Among the happy crowd were former OCAF board member Victor Tognazinni and his fiancée Susan White.
Also engaged in the schmooze-fest were Dr. Joe and Chris Slaughter. She is a former OCAF board member and, if memory serves, a former board chair.
Santa Maria City Council member Jack Boysen was there with his delightful sense of humor and equally delightful wife, Kathy, an OCAF board member.
OCAF Executive Director Hannah Rubalcava, looking smashingly svelte, was at the check-in table, welcoming the likes of Mike and Linda Cordero, Chamber of Commerce president Bob Hatch, and former County Supervisor Joni Gray.
The bodacious Bodil Cudd and David Prescott made up one of the glamour couples on board, along with Alfonso and Amy Curti, OCAF board president. Don’t you just love to see the gents in black tie?
At my fun table were Debra and John Hood, Rita Ferri and Joseph Markevitz (she is on the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission), Rick Sweet and wife Nancy Jo Ward, and Prudie Noon.
Both John and Nancy Jo are on the faulty at Allan Hancock College and both donated art to be auctioned off at the gala.
Rita told me that two years ago the commission gave Nat a special award for leadership in the arts. He was a founding member of the local arts council and a staunch supporter of OCAF.
Celeste Henry, thank you for saying hello.
Another contributor of art to the gala was Margie Bowker, who attended with her very social husband, Keith, a tennis pro at the country club.
David Baskett made the rounds of the crowd, chatting up a storm, as did Orcutt school board member Jan Zilli and Michael McConnell.
Bob Bush, retiring superintendent of Orcutt schools, and emcee Alan Majewski looked pleased with the stellar turnout.
Diners had a choice of filet mignon, chicken, or halibut, all served with a scrumptious salad, veggies, rolls, wine,
Joe Dana emceed the video show, a tribute to Nat Fast, put together by John Hood. We enjoyed viewing a selection of photos of Nat at various times in his life.
This tribute to the arts and to Nat Fast was also a tribute to Orcutt parents, who make art happen for their kids.
If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at email@example.com.