Acadiana Festival of Trees kicked off the holiday season at the City Club at River Ranch which benefited an organization close to my heart: Acadiana Youth, Inc. The three-day event got under way with family night, featuring entertainment and activities for kids of all ages. Santa Claus even stopped by Lafayette just to take pictures with some of Acadiana's good boys and girls. The festivities culminated with The Gala, sponsored by Chitimacha Louisiana Open, which transformed the City Club's ballroom into a winter wonderland of decorated trees and wreaths. Piano music by pianist Linda Kidd filled the air, and delicious favorites from local restaurants Nash's, Charley G's, Poor Boy's Riverside Inn and Don's Seafood and Steak House filled stomachs. KTDY's Debbie Ray served as emcee for the night, and local auctioneer Brad Broussard raised spirits as well as funds. Among the auction items of beautifully decorated trees and wreaths was a special painting from renowned artist Carl Groh ' which ended up selling for $20,000! Whoever the lucky bidder was, he or she now has a beautiful landscape worth displaying. After those three days of spreading holiday spirit and a visit with Santa, it was the right time to start my list and do some Christmas shopping for a good cause.

So I headed out to The Mall of Acadiana and Amy's Country Candles, a new store that hosted "A Magical Night of Giving." A portion of all sales from the evening were donated to the Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic. With fabulous food from Poupart Bakery and scrumptious chocolate truffles from Dawn's Maison de Chocolat, what could be better than eating treats, shopping and helping out the clinic?

T'is the season to be merry ' or is it marry? Saturday, Nov. 25 was the date for an engagement party for Holly Ann Ortis and her fiancé Robert Guidry at the home of Jeigh and Mark Stipe. Sue and Todd Ortis and Lynn and Scott Ortis co-hosted the soiree for the Dallas couple. More than 100 family and friends attended the cocktail party in their honor, and the guests included Mary Ann Ortis and Kathy Stokley (mother of the groom-to-be) and her husband, Nelson Stokley. The engaged couple has set their marriage date for Feb. 24, 2007 in Lafayette, and Party Girl looks forward to seeing this beautiful couple exchange vows. And with Mardi Gras just before the nuptials, I hope all the guests are well rested, because this group sure knows how to throw a party!

Party On! ' PG

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