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SANTA PAYS A VISIT TO BEVERLY HILLS

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Nov 25, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

SANTA VISITS BEVERLY HILLS By Reed Berry

Where do you expect to find an event to put you in a festive holiday mood? A car dealership probably isn't your first thought, but that's exactly what I find at Bentley Beverly Hills. The O'Gara Coach Company organizes an event that's both festive and charitable, as proceeds go to benefit the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas and Elemental Awareness.

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world's most respected cancer centers and, for over six decades, has devoted its efforts exclusively to cancer patient care, prevention research and education. Elemental Awareness is a youth-based non-profit organization designed to help youth develop self-esteem and awareness through skateboarding and nature skills. The Elemental Awareness Youth Brigade, committed to raising funds for children's causes, is on hand today for an exciting skateboard exhibition. And since this is a Beverly Hills event, yes, there are celebrities. James Caan, the talented actor you see each week in NBC's Las Vegas, is here, as well as Hollywood heartthrob Ben Affleck and Saturday Night Live alumnus Jon Lovitz. James and Ben are here to serve as celebrity auctioneers for a live auction. Guests are bidding on airplane tickets, a Christopher Radko Christmas tree, limo service, and even a vodka party for 50 people! The most unique item is a one-of-a-kind Bentley Mulliner commissioned Triumph Motorbike that a lucky bidder just won for only $50,000.

This is a great place to start one's holiday shopping. In addition to an ongoing silent auction, there is table-after-table of quality products for sale. Among the items being sold are holiday cards, ceramics and jewelry - hard-to-resist quality holiday products at a great price, especially when you know that each purchase benefits such a worthy cause. There is also an impressive variety of blown glass ornaments from well-known ornament designer Christopher Radko. Radko is here to show his support and to autograph the colorful ornaments. Christopher Radko's design business was the result of a personal tragedy. After being placed in a new stand, the family Christmas tree crashed to the floor, shattering the blown glass ornaments. His efforts to replace the ornaments led to a lucrative business that provides keepsake ornaments that can be seen on Christmas trees around the world.

All this shopping and socializing has made me a bit thirsty, so time for a cool drink from an even cooler bar. Beverages at tonight's event are being dispensed from a stylish, eye-catching ice bar. For those with an appetite, a table filled with gourmet cheeses and other tasty bites is quite inviting. If you can't come to the food, the food will come to you. Servers carrying trays filled with delicious appetizers, including chicken skewers and garlic shrimp, circulate throughout the event. Guests with a sweet tooth are dipping marshmallows and chunks of pineapple in a chocolate fountain. This event, however, is about more than just meeting celebrities, buying holiday gifts or enjoying gourmet hors d'oeuvres. It's about helping organizations that are dedicated to improving the quality of life for others. From the smiles on the faces I see as I glance around the room, I realize that this worthwhile event has truly put everyone in the holiday spirit.

For more information about the MD Anderson Cancer Center, go to www.mdanderson.org For more information about Elemental Awareness, keep an eye on its site-in-progress at www.elementalawareness.org For more information about O'Gara Coach Company, go to www.ogaracoach.com

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