Las Candalista

Reader and Writer’s Basket donated to the Las Candalista’s California Dreamin’ fundraiser, taking place April 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.(Photo by Deborah Paul)

Any excuse to dally at the Catalina View Gardens and vineyard is a good one.

But on April 25, from 10 to 3 p.m. the Las Candalistas philanthropic group promises to “wow” the most discerning guest with its 2019 spring California Dreamin’ theme.

Guests will spend the day overlooking verdant vineyards with the Pacific Ocean  as a backdrop. There will be delicious food, drink and trendy auction items created right here in our own South Bay.

Proceeds from this year's fundraiser will benefit Torrance-based 1736 Crisis Center, Community’s Child who houses homeless women and their children, and Trinity Kids Care a pediatric hospice program for children with life limiting illnesses.

California Dreamin' guests will enjoy sampling Catalina View Gardens owner Jim York’s latest Pino Noir or Chardonnay vintages and Strand Brewing Co.’s premium craft beer. Chef’s Dora’s exclusive gourmet luncheon created by FUEL will follow an eclectic panel discussion by a trio of dynamic community leaders.

Selina Hamilton with Ann Nelson are co-chairing the event. Hamilton said other committee members have assembled baskets of unique silent auction items in addition to adventures for guest bidding.

“Interesting this year is the committee wanted to concentrate on gathering experiences,” Hamilton said. “We wanted to promote experiences with family and friends, like going to the theater or taking our auction staycations.”

The “staycation” package worth $2,500 will place 2019 bid winners in Southern California where the folks at The Resort at Pelican Hill and The Ranch at Laguna Beach have donated two get-aways. Tickets for the opportunity drawing are still on sale and the trips can be used consecutively or separately.

One trip is a two-night stay at the Ranch at Laguna Beach considered a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. The Creekside Studio and patio boasts of spectacular canyon views and comes with breakfast and a round of golf.

The stay at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach offers a chic bungalow, breakfast, a $500 gift resort card for spa, dining and shopping.

Hamilton said the day unfolds as guests are shuttled to the venue by Las Candalistas husbands who always pitch in to help.

Organizers agree, it’s a day of scents, scenery and treating all your other senses.

“Visitors will see all the things we created ourselves, like tasty jams, baked goods, crafted creations like jewelry and aprons, or trendy things like tea carries you can pack and take on a trip with you,” Hamilton said. “Also, the Garden Shop has lots of succulents and plants from Palos Verdes, grown right here in the South Bay.”

Vendor boutiques will be stationed in the courtyard offering an array of items you don’t usually see in department stores, Hamilton added.

This year three panelists will speak before lunch, then be on hand afterward for questions and answers:

  • Jennifer Shaffer—world-renown psychic medium who donates time to law enforcement and families of victims
  • Nadine Nettmann—well-traveled Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers
  • Katrina Vanderlip—founder of the Vanderlip Heritage Fund, promoting history, art and nature on the Palos Verdes Peninsula

Las Candalistas (The Candle Lighters) was established in 1967 to serve children and the environment in the South Bay community. The mission is constantly evolving to keep up with the community’s needs, supporting projects benefiting children and families.

More than 149 members have helped raise millions of dollars for local philanthropies. The group has moved from originally selling beeswax candles to becoming community service leaders with major fundraisers each year.

Judy Armstrong and Marge Rankin are co-presidents of Las Candalistas. Armstrong, a five-year member, said she has learned so many skills and met so many nice people while working on the fundraising.

The opportunities to serve are unbounded, she said.

“We do some hands on,” Armstrong said. “Some organizations can use personal help and others cannot. We mostly support organizations time and money-wise. The satisfaction of giving so much support to so many local charities is the icing on the cake.”

Want to go?

California Dreamin’

Thursday, April 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Catalina View Gardens

6001 Palos Verdes Drive South

Rancho Palos Verdes

Tickets are $75. For availability visit:, or call 310-798-7499

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