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Glorious Gala for Home Tour

Fundraiser: Home Tour League raises funds for Henry Mayo NICU

Posted: December 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Valencia home of Fredye Gonzales and Martin Avila is well-lit for the holidays.

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Four magnificently decorated Santa Clarita Valley homes kicked off the holidays in grand style at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s 31st annual Holiday Home Tour Gala.

Barbara Sanguinetti served this year as Home Tour League president. The Home Tour League, an all volunteer organization, raises funds for women’s services at the hospital through its annual Home Tour, Gala and Boutique.

The gala, which attracted more than 100 guests, offered attendees an exclusive sneak preview of the tour, which officially opened to the public the following morning. Both events raised funds for the hospital’s women’s services unit, with the last few year’s proceeds designated for Henry Mayo’s upcoming neonatal intensive care unit.

“As usual, this is my favorite event of the year. I think it’s a great way to start the holidays. The homes are always fabulous,” said Rose Chegwin, of Valencia. “It gives me inspiration and it helps the hospital.”

With the twinkling lights set against the night sky, and unusually cold Southern California weather, there was an especially festive feel in the air.

“It’s great to see the houses at night, with the lights on. You feel like you did when you were a little kid. It’s very exciting,” said Jo Ann Vindigni, incoming president for the Holiday Home Tour.

Stops on the tour included the colonial-style Stevenson Ranch home of John and Judy Hall, the Spanish Mediterranean-inspired Valencia home of Fredye Gonzales and Martin Avila, the French chateau-style Newhall home of Marvin and Gail Smith and the all-American Newhall home of Roger and Becki Basham.

This is the Bashams’ second time opening their home for the tour. “It’s so important to keep Home Tour alive, because we’re providing funds for the NICU, which is so vital for our community and its newborn babies,” said Becki Basham. “Plus, it kicks off the holiday season. It’s a local tradition.”

The black-tie event included an Italian buffet at the Oaks Grille at Tournament Players Club in Valencia. In addition to a huge, sparkling Christmas tree, the dining room was highlighted with gorgeous silver and poinsettia centerpieces designed by event chairwoman Eva Murray.

“We just wanted to return to the elegance of previous home tours and I think we did this year,” Murray said. “We have to thank the homeowners, who took time out of their busy lives to accommodate us and raise funds. Without the homes, there is no tour. It’s a big deal for them to do this.”

In the lobby, Home Tour corresponding secretary Orianna Garlick manned the raffle table and greeted gala guests with a big smile.

“I love the people, the other members of the tour. I love making people happy and making money for the hospital,” she said.

Home Tour members such as Garlick are vital to the all-volunteer organization’s success, Vindigni said.

Home Tour members meet for planning throughout the year and are required to volunteer for a shift at either the gala, the tour or the corresponding boutique. Annual membership is $25.

“We have the best volunteers in the world. They go above and beyond whatever’s needed,” Vindigni said. “During such a hectic time of year, they give their time to help the hospital and we so appreciate it.”

So does Roger Seaver, Henry Mayo’s president and chief executive officer, who attended the gala with his wife, Lena.

“This is a beautiful start to the holiday season. The volunteers and homeowners always make it such a special night,” he said.

For more information on the Henry Mayo Holiday Home Tour League, visit www.henrymayogiving.com or call (661) 253-8051.

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