Note: This is a past article from November 02, 2011
You can find the current Las Vegas Society News article HERE
16th ANNUAL LAS VEGANS OLD TIME REUNION CELEBRATION.
by Dr. Adele Zorn
A wonderful evening was once again experienced at the Annual Old Time Reunion Celebration held at The ORLEANS Mardi Gras Grand Ballroom. Chairperson of the event was Thalia Dondero.
This was the 16th annual celebration for LAS VEGAS residents who have lived here for 30 years or more. Nostalgia, camaraderie, great food, drinks and entertainment was enjoyed by nearly 1,000 Ol’ Time Las Vegans.
Ol’ time residents had experienced living in an atmosphere of a small town where everyone knew one another. They had witnessed the phenomenal growth of Las Vegas becoming a big city metropolis and comment that now neighbors do not necessarily even know each other. This has evoked memories of the `good old days’ for most of these people and this event gives them an opportunity to turn back the clock by getting together with friends of yore and reminiscing about the `good old days.’
This great idea took hold sixteen years ago when a group of longtime Las Vegans would get together for breakfast at Bagel Mania. Thalia Dondero, Claudine Williams, Ron and Art Lurie, Davey and Lou Pearl, Ken Johann, Abe Fox, Ruthe Deskin, Jack Kogan and Paul Endy had so much fun talking about old times, they decided it would be great to share this kind of nostalgia with others who had lived in Las Vegas for at least 30 years.
The first Ol’ Time Reunion Celebration was held at Arizona Charlies sixteen years ago with 500 people attending, and each year, the gathering gets bigger and bigger. The amazing thing is that the event is not even advertised, but somehow the word gets out. Unfortunately, some of the founders are gone, but they left a legacy that has become an annual celebration.
This year’s event honored William Bill Boyd of the Boyd Group.He was introduced by Councilman Stavros Anthony and Congresswoman Shelley Berkely and was presented with many Proclamations.
Longtime residents at the party include Las Vegas movers and shakers and everyday people brought together by the fact that they have been here long enough to realize how wonderful this town is. Although the town has grown so much, and most old time Las Vegans complain about the growth, celebrants have so much fun and excitement in seeing one another and reminiscing. There seems to be regret for the disregard of Las Vegas’s heritage. As one person put it, “If anything is more than 20 years old, they bulldoze it.”
I have been at every Ol’ Time Reunion since its inception at Arizona Charlies. Then it was held at The Stardust and now at The Orleans. For a $45 ticket price you get drinks, a delicious dinner with a Salad, and Filet Mignon and Salmon with potato and vegetable and a dessert of Cheesecake with coffee or tea and great nostalgia and entertainment.
The evening started with a cocktail hour in the Mardi Gras Ballroom with music by Sasha Seminoff on his fabulous violin along with accordionist Ty Lemley and Sasha’s son Paul Seminoff on Bass Fiddle.
During the cocktail reception, old friends were able to greet and enjoy meeting each other. Seen mingling were: Jim Marsh, Bob Goodman, Jamie Morris, Marilyn and Mel Larson, Denny Weddle, LouAnn Harrison, Cindy Doumani, Angie Wallin, Mikey and Jim Bilbray, Dr. Lonnie Hammergren,Vera Goulet, Marilyn Dondero Loop and former First Lady Governor Dawn Gibbons.
Someone special who has not been seen in Las Vegas for quite some time was Vassili Sulich, Ballet Choreographer and dancer, and founder of the Nevada Dance Theater, now the Nevada Ballet. Vassilli has been living in Rio De Janiro and doing what he does best, a Ballet company. It was so good to see him and everyone.
After the cocktail reception, guests entered the inner ballroom and a delicious dinner was served.
After dinner the entertainment started. Once again, our beloved Peter Anthony was Master of Ceremonies. Peter did his shtick and once again gave his very funny and nostalgic comments such as: “It’s nice to be performing in a hotel that hasn’t been imploded……Yet!
Then Peter quipped: We've all been around so long that:
We remember when Jim Marsh had long hair and wore sandals.
When Fletcher Jones Sr. did TV commercials, he had dogs and cats on his shoulder.
When Ben Stepman said "In Henderson, of course."
When Mr. Sy's had coupon books.
When the Sands had Chinese food.
And Peter said: I've been lucky enough to perform before 4 Presidents... I did a show at Mount Rushmore!
The audience loved it!
The Steve Golden Band with Steve on Sax, the very able Joe Darro on keyboard and vocals, Gary Olds on drums and Bob Sachs on Bass provided music.
Entertainment in addition to Peter Anthony was by: Vocalist, Ronnie Fabre, the unrivaled Pete Barbutti and the fabulous voice of Ingvar Estrada.
Among guests enjoying the evening were: Steve Lawrence, (my old high school buddy from Thomas Jefferson High in Brooklyn, NY), Thalia Dondaro, Ken Johann, Lou Toomin, Tony and Karen Ruivivar (Society of Seven founder), Ed and
Carolee Swindle, Christy Miller, former Senator and Nevada Governor, Richard Bryan and Bonnie Bryan, former Las Vegas Mayor, Ron Lurie, John Flood, Carol and Mike McCullough, Judge Joseph Sciscento, Valerie Wiener and so many others too numerous to mention.
The fun and enjoyable evening ended with hugs and kisses as guests said long good-byes while commenting that they can’t wait until next year’s Ol' Time Reunion.