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01/07/2011 - Welcome to the home of Social Lights. Read new online reports with photos each week and their reprisals in the monthly print edition mailed to over 26,000 homes in Birmingham-Bloomfield at the start of each month. If you are not receiving the print edition by mail, you can order a subscription in the upper right index at the top of this page (subscriptions). If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

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Friends of Preservation Bloomfield's Children's Hour

The Friends of PB - a unique coalition of the city, township, school district and the historical society –added a charming component to its third annual holiday fundraising event. The Children's Hour attracted 130 adults and children in holiday finery to Oakland Hills Country Club for a delightful two hours of dining and diversions. The latter included gingerbread house decorating and other crafts, face painting, fireside storytelling and picture taking, both with a Justin Bieber cut out and a real live Santa. The latter was actually a jolly Santa's helper, Louie Braun. Donna Yost chaired the enchanted evening which also served as a preview of the gingerbread houses to be auctioned at a brunch the following day. This reporter only regrets that she did not get the name of the youngster who spent most of the entire two hours absolutely entranced watching Alice Haidostian play the piano.

The main event was chaired by Christine Zambricki who continued event founder Carol Shaya's impeccable standard of perfection and thanked her coterie. It included Sue Nine, Pat Hardy, Karen Anderson, Pam Budde, Kay Baer, Bee Engelhart, Charlene Handelman, Mary Lou Kopmeyer, Patti Jessup, Judy Kelliher, Judy Vindici, Var Walsh, Shaya and Yost. While the sold out crowd (275) socialized and perused the 27 donated gingerbread houses and 60 tabletop trees and wreaths, all available for silent auction bidding, music was provided by Sam Salloum at the piano, Andover High School's Chamber Orchestra and Detroit's Mosaic Singers. Sanders' Mike Koch, contractor Daniel MacLeish and journalist Neal Rubin had the unenviable task of judging the gingerbread house craftsmanship. 

The event netted an all time high ($30,000) for restoration of the Barton Farmhouse at Bowers Farm. It also coincidentally brought joy well beyond the scene at OHCC. This happened because the very large house created by Beaumont Hospital chef Ed Gillis was a raffle prize. The winner, Pat Ribiat, wanted to donate it to an appropriate organization. When committee member Joan Cleland overheard this she knew that her daughter, the volunteer coordinator at the U.S. Army's TACOM Welcome & Family Center, had hoped to win it for display at the center. Thus, unlike the moving of the Barton Farm House which was a traffic-stopping event, the Gillis Gingerbread House was loaded in the back of Cleland's car for transportation to the military center where it was enjoyed by heroes and their families.

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