Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Eight years after its inception, the Altrusa Club of Portales’ Holiday Happening is beginning to look a lot like a solid holiday tradition.
“It’s been really fun,” Sue McDowell, of Portales, said, as dessert was being served. “That’s real chocolate milk (in the vases) and real flowers,” she said indicating the elaborate centerpiece and other decorations at the table with a chocolate theme. The table titled “Holiday Decadence” was decorated by Judy White, Carol McDowell and Lisa Jaynes and even included chocolate napkin rings.
“I like the little Santa,” 5-year-old Abby McDowell said. Her older sister Brittney agreed that all the chocolate meant they’d ended up at the right table.
The age range at the table extended to 89-year-old Max Hoy, who said this was her third Holiday Happening. Hoy said one of her favorite tables was the “Hats Off to Christmas” table, which featured vintage ladies hats.
“It takes a lot of people to put on an event of this magnitude,” Holiday Happening chairperson Bernice D’Agostino told Saturday’s crowd as she expressed her satisfaction with the result. “There are a lot of Altrusans who have been working for months on this event.”
The variety of table decoration stretched from the very traditional to the whimsical. At one table, Snoopy was decked out as Santa, flying his doghouse with Woodstock hooked to the reins, but upside down in a tree. Another table had an Elvis theme, beside a John Deere theme. There was a “Cowgirl Christmas” and a Harley Davidson table.
Carol Fletcher bought the Harley Davidson Santa special for the centerpiece and dedicated it to her dad, Don Killifer, a Harley fan, who along with his wife Louise came in from Farmington for the event. When asked what it was like to be one of the few men in attendance, Killifer said, “It’s been nice.”
Charlene Foster and LaDoris Allison were having a great time visiting but became pretty evasive when questioned about who designed their table. Sponsored by Portales National Bank the table featured a Santa Claus climbing a ladder with a string of lights to put on a tree.
“Just go ahead and give us credit for it,” Foster joked.
“I think we’ll have to help him hang those lights,” Allison quipped. “He can’t seem to get high enough on that ladder.”
The idea of decorating holiday tables and having an event is credited to Sheryl Borden, an Altrusa member and host of Creative Living on KENW Public Televison. That first Holiday Happening had 36 tables and according to members didn’t make a lot of money as a fund-raiser. This year’s event had a total of 69 tables.
D’Agostino said approximately 550 attended this year’s event and she is hopeful the amount raised will be $7,000.
“I thought it was a very successful event. We’re very appreciative of the decorators,” D’Agostino said.
Altrusa President Judy White said the club was involved in a three-year project to provide $16,000 for playground equipment for Morrison Park. In particular, the equipment will help serve special needs children.
White told the crowd that this year’s theme for Altrusa is “Angel Among Us.” She noted that there were lots of angels in the crowd Saturday who made the event possible.
The event ended with a fashion show sponsored by Dillard’s department store in the North Plains Mall and door prize and silent auction awards.