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380 Dress for the Decades at Swinging, Rocking, Disco-ing Party of the Century

Final event of La Mesa Centennial year puts out red carpet, celebrates Legacy Art Project.

Driving one of two shuttle vans, Al Hernandez of South San Diego made a circuit of parking lots near the La Mesa Community Center on Saturday night, dropping off costumed guests at a red carpet entrance.

How many round trips?

“Oh, man. It must have been about 40,” he said 90 minutes into the three-hour Party of the Century. “I’m so glad to be here, serving this community—La Mesa.”

He wasn’t alone.

Organizers said 380 civic leaders and longtime residents turned out. They paid at least $100 each, wandering among several rooms devoted to 10 decades in history in the last major event of the city’s centennial year.

Among them were all members of the La Mesa City Council (including recently elected Kristine Alessio), Police Chief Ed Aceves (in a dark suit), Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Cindy Miles, former Friends of the Library President Joe Glidden and current La Mesa Historical Society leaders  Aaron Landau and James Newland.

Linda Horrell and JoAnn Knutson, co-chairs of the 12-member Party of the Century Committee, came dressed for different decades—Horrell for the early years and Knutson for the 1960s (with a peace symbol necklace).

The mother, father and daughter team of artists—Jess and Mary Lynn Dominguez and Amy—chatted with visitors admiring a scale model of their winning entry in the $150,000 Centennial Legacy Project, a gathering spot for La Mesa Boulevard called The Lookout.

La Mesan Gary Burt, singing Sinatra, was the first performer heard, stationed outside the main entrance in 40-degree weather. Other groups inside entertained with other genres at a party that also served as a fundraiser for the privately funded public art project capping the centennial celebration.

But Horrell said the party itself was designed to break even. Local restaurants offered finger foods, a la the chamber’s annual Taste of La Mesa.

She said the best part of the 18-month preparation process was the organizing committee meetings—“all our best friends.”

And who was most responsible for making the party a success?

“Yvonne Garrett,” Horrell said without hesitation, referring to the assistant city manager who oversaw the volunteer Centennial Committee. “She’s like our coordinator, our quarterback.”

Scott H. Kidwell January 14, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Looks like it was a nice party. But I must admit I'm a little confused by the one video clip of two event co-chairs when they are asked about how much they expected to raise for the Centennial Legacy Project from this event. The response was, "We're not supposed to be raising anything, we're just breaking even on the event. If we raise anything, that's great. It's just a party to celebrate the year of the centennial." Really? In a previous Patch article the event was noted to have $100 tickets with "a fair market value of $60 the remainder of the ticket price goes to the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation, said the invitation." The event invitations themselves note "Be the first to view the artist's rendering of the Legacy Monument" and "Funds contributed to the Centennial Celebration support the Legacy Project."
DIANA January 18, 2013 at 07:00 PM
It was wonderful party..great venue and different rooms with so much stories to tell...food, gift photos/stemware and music brought a nice touch to the event. Decorations for each room were creative and wonderfully done... Thanks to the committee for a fun and successful evening in La Mesa.

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