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Out of this world fundraiser

The annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner is an 'InterGALActic Affair'

Posted: February 25, 2009 11:44 p.m.
Updated: February 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Brian Koegle of Poole and Shaffery collected the most tips to win the Stanley Award for waiter of the year.

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The stars and planets were in perfect alignment Saturday night as more than 300 costumed guests turned out to raise money to benefit the Adult Day Care Respite Program at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.

The "InterGALActic Affair" netted nearly $50,000 for the program said Bob Kellar, co-chairman of the fund-raiser.

The Celebrity Waiter Dinner began life as a benefit for the American Heart Association. However, when the Heart Association abandoned the dinner fund-raiser the SCV Senior Center picked up the event.

"I've lost count of the number of years that we've had the Celebrity Waiter event in this community," said Kellar. "People come to this event and each year they don't know what to expect, every year it is something different. This event is a labor of love for all the people involved. We have such a great time and we raise large sums of money for the Senior Center and this is what the Santa Clarita Valley is all about."

Connie Ragen Green said this was her second year on the Celebrity Waiter committee.

"This committee is the most fun in town," she said.

Erica Betz, event chairwoman emeritus, said she was pleased at how the event has grown.

"It is so gratifying to see the turnout to support this event and the fun everyone is having," she said.

Chris Ball, who co-chaired the event with Kellar, said the "space alien" theme proved to be very successful, "but we are not certain that all the space travelers went thorough decontamination, so any observed mutations should be reported immediately."

However, the Santa Clarita Valley should feel safe from marauding space aliens as alien-hunting "Men in Black" swarmed the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Valencia. The "Men in Black" costume was popular with men and women attendees.

Among the actual "celebrities" working as waiters at the event were Saugus resident Rick Chambers, a former anchor/reporter on local Los Angeles news stations and Kim Fields, best known for her roles as Tootie Ramsey on the long-running NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life," and as Regine Hunter on the FOX sitcom "Living Single."

"I'm having a fantastic time and I think this is a phenomenal event," said Fields, the celebrity waiter at The Signal table.

Dozens of SCV celebrities also worked to separate gala-goers from their script (fake money adorned with a photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger).

"Taking an unfair advantage, ‘The Force' was with the Jedi Warrior, Brian Koegle, who raised the most in tips as Celebrity Waiter for the Poole & Shaffery table," said Ball.

Koegle was named the Celebrity Waiter of the Year for his efforts.

The Stanley Awards, which included awards for theme and costumes as well as the highest earning waiter, were named for Stanley Sierad, a former SCV Man of the Year and supporter of the SCV Senior Center.

The tables were sponsored by a variety of SCV businesses and individuals. Among the themes were the Elks' "Purple People Eaters," Union Bank's "Mars Attacks!" and the SCV Senior Center's "Animal Planet."

The event included a 15-item live auction with Myles McNamara and Kellar acting as auctioneers. A week of lounging at a Maui beach estate brought in the largest bid of the night, $3,500. Other items auctioned included a seven-day Princess Cruise, a ride in a sheriff's helicopter, lunch with Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, an Elk's barbecue for 50 and the head table at the 2010 Celebrity Waiter Dinner.

The Teletubbies appeared at the start of the live auction to protest Zonta's withdrawal of "Zonta Slave Girls" from the live auction.

Nobody knows for sure who were wearing those colorful costumes except that Chris Ball, Greg Nutter, Bart Aikman and Ken Petersen were missing at the same time.

Guests entered the event through the "decontamination chamber" manned by student volunteers from College of the Canyons who were dressed in decontamination suits. Attendees were then snagged by TimBen Boydston who interviewed guests. The interviews were then "beamed" into the main ballroom.

The evening's entertainment, coordinated by Bill Lively and Leslie Berra, included singers and dancers from the Canyon Theatre Guild. Among the performers were Lively, Berra, Erin Rivlin, Kathy Lively, Hannah Lively, Marcella Lively, Micah Lively, Charlotte Pique, Alannah Pique, Mo Davis, Kevin Rae, Lyle Wohlfarth, William Wohlfarth, Jim Magon and the Canyon Theatre Guild Ensemble.

Musicians from the United Methodist Church, included Robbie Altschuler, Sam Lustig, Cassandra Nickols and Eric Stewart also performed.

Among the "stellar" performances were "Good Morning Starshine," "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Age of Aquarius."

At the end of the evening everyone beamed back to earth.

For more information on the Adult Day Care Respite Program and the SCV Senior Center call (661) 259-9444. The SCV Senior Center is located at 22900 Market St., Newhall. Visit www.scvsc.org.

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