Natural History Museum’s Luxor gala draws 300 guests

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum, under the direction of Marilyn Gillespie, presented its gala the evening of Oct. 15 at the Luxor.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Dino Award to the philanthropic organization of the year, the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, which was represented by Marie Hoel of Reno, and conservationists of the year, the family of Australia’s late Steve Irwin, which included his wife, Terri and their children Bindi and Robert Irwin. The Irwins were joined by a baby wallaby for a photo session.

During the silent auction reception, Lorena Peril and the Fantasy Girls sang and danced, and there was a performance by Australia’s Thunder from Down Under.

Guests included Chris DeCure, the honorary consul general of Australia, Assemblyman Harry Mortenson and Helen Mortenson, state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, Councilman Ricki Barlow, and Louise and Felix Rappaport with daughters, Alexandra and Briana.

More guests were Stephanie and Steve Stallworth, Joan and Jim Hammer, Mike Hartzell, Jan and Owen Nitz, Don Polednak, Kay Browne, Al Whittenberg, Allison and Morgan Bunker, Kiyomi Chandra, Susie Black Manriquez, Stephen Wells, Philip Varricchio, Melissa Warren, Arne Hoel, Susan Houston, Diana and Mike Fauci, Gayle Anderson, Sandy and Rex Windom, John Good, Tammy and Mitchell Simbal, Anthony Guenther, Kevin Janison, board chairman Denny Weddle and dinner chairpersons Chris and Chuck Creigh.

The 300 guests were seated at dining tables decorated in Australian tree fern, eucalyptus, kangaroo paw, banksia flower, stiltgrass and native Australian flowers provided by English Garden Florist.

A live auction offered three trip packages to Napa Valley, New York and Costa Rica. Dancing to Midnight Affair concluded the evening.

Notte Di Carnevale: The Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow had its annual benefit Oct. 16 at Encore.

Board chair Janet Blumen spoke about the success of the organization in changing lives of their clients into a life of self-sufficiency and independence.

Andy Blumen explained the awarding of the 2010 Civitas Laurel to members of the community who have given their talents to benefit others.

Dean White introduced this year’s honorees: George and Adela Smith. George Smith is the state president for Bank of America Nevada.

Participating in the reception’s silent auction were Jewel Brooks, Joe Hollis, Meredith and Craig Johnson, Patricia and Richard Wright, Judy and Jim Kropid, Beverly and Mike Mykisen, Barbara McDonald, Irais and Bob Kolesar, Jack and Nancy Weinstein, Mari and Thom Landers, Dee and George Mehocic, Candice and Bob Speers, Siegfried Fischbacher, Parvin Modaber Jacobs, Sandy and Steve Hardie, Curt Carlson, Annee and Siegfried Nounna, Vivian and Bill Benter, Gina and Ashley Nitz, and Stacey and Dan Albregts.

The gala chair was Joyce Sherman, who created a ballroom decorated in dark red and purple. The silent auction chair was Sandy Peltyn.

More guests enjoying the evening of dancing were Janet and Harry Ferris, Barbara Mulholland and Stan Hunterton, Gaya and Thomas Robinson and Susan and Frank Beck.

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