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Las Vegas Society News  

Note: This is a past article from November 14, 2013
You can find the current Las Vegas Society News article HERE


by Dr. Adele Zorn

Left - 1st Ms Sr. Nevada - Pageant Director - on Right 2013 Ms. Sr. Nevada

Pia Zadora and Annie Nounna

The 18th Old-Time Reunion Party was once again held at The ORLEANS Grand Ballroom. This was the 18th annual celebration for LAS VEGAS residents who have lived here 30 years or more. Nostalgia, camaraderie, great food, drinks and musical entertainment was enjoyed by Ol’ Time Las Vegans.

Trio playing during Cocktail Reception

Ladies with Lou Toomin, Nelson Sardelli and Maynard Sloate

This great idea took hold eighteen 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.

Guests: Tony and Karen Ruivivar (Society of Seven) and Susan Stafford


The first Old Time Reunion Party was held at ARIZONA CHARLIES with 500 people attending, and each year, the gathering gets bigger. I don’t know how many guests were at this event, but the place was packed to the hilt. 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.

Founder: Ken Johann on right

Longtime Las Vegans 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 (or was). Long-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 bemoan the fact that now neighbors do not seem to even know each other. Although the town has grown so much, and most long-time Las Vegans complain about the growth, celebrants had so much fun and excitement in seeing one another and reminiscing. I have attended every Old Time Reunion Party since its inception at ARIZONA CHARLIES . Then it was held at THE STARDUST and now at THE ORLEANS. Guests pay $45 to attend and this includes a dinner, entertainment, and two drinks.

State Senator Mark Manendo

Gloria Hill, Mafalda, Joe Lavigna

The 18th Annual Old-Time Reunion Party started with a Cocktail reception in the outer ballroom with a combo playing music. For years Sasha Semenoff played on his fabulous violin with a combo during the Cocktail Reception, but, unfortunately Sasha Semenoff is no longer with us, as he passed away soon after last years event. He is certainly missed.

During the Cocktail Reception, old friends were able to greet and enjoy meeting each other. The current beautiful Ms. Senior Nevada, Kat Ray was there glamorizing the event along with her entourage. Among guests seen mingling were: Jim Marsh, Marilyn and Mel Larson, Pia Zadora, Annie Nounna, Denny Weddle, Angie Wallin, Joanne Titus, John Flood, Rosita Kanes, Susan Houston, Joe LaVigna, Original Founders: Thalia Dondaro and Ken Johann and, Dr. Lonnie Hammergren, Lou Toomin, Senator Mark Manendo and Robin, and Former Judge Bill Jansen and wife, Nora.

Denny Weddle and friends

After the Cocktail Reception, guests entered the Mardi Gras Ballroom for dinner and entertainment. During the evening Videos that were part of Las Vegas’ heritage of long-gone hotels, historical places and events were screened on the walls such as: McCarren Airport’s First Entrance


CLUB BINGO - 1947 – became the SAHARA in 1952





SILVERBIRD 1977 – became El RANCHO

Founder: Thalia Dondaro and friends

Rosita Kanes with Dr. Adele Zorn

The Star Spangled Banner was beautifully sung by John Messona and The Michael T Band with singer Linda Smith played on throughout the evening.

Judge Susan with Sue and Paul Lowden

Jerry Tiffe with Thalia Dondaro

Dinner was quite good and even better this year.

Dinner menu: Orleans Salad:

A blend of Butter Leaf, Spinach Leaf and Red Leaf Lettuce with Dried Cranberries, Candied Walnuts and Crumbled Bleu Cheese with a Champagne Vinaigrette.

Entrée: Filet Mignon with Pinot Noir Sauce and Grilled Chicken Breast, Chef’s Selection of Fresh Vegetables and Scalloped Potatoes Napoleon – Rolls and Butter

Dessert: Peach Melba.

Guests who were born in Las Vegas

Michael T Band and Singer

Michael T introduced special entertainment by long-time performer, Jerry Tiffe and the crowd loved him. Jerry introduced his piano player of 45 years, Tom San Filippo who accompanied him. Jerry Tiffe came to Las Vegas in 1978 from Cleveland, Ohio to perform at the SANDS and has been performing in Las Vegas ever since. Jerry said he was so happy to be at the event and was delighted to remember so many faces of the people in the audience. He sang some standards and performed wonderfully songs such as “Beyond the Sea” “Gigalo” and “Jumping Jive.”

It was announced that Las Vegan for 85 years, Adele Baratz was an attendee. The first Ms. Senior Nevada, Dorothy Guralnik also attended. I sat at a table with people who were born in Las Vegas - Ocey Lamb (relative of Sheriff Ralph Lamb), Vicki Fitzgerald, Mark Ungaro, Laura Ungaro and Marion Scolari. Reminiscing old Las Vegas was ongoing with many interesting stories to tell.

Jim Marsh, Ms. Sr. NV Kat Ray and former Ms. Sr. NV Marilyn O’Leary

So many other guests enjoying the party were:

Nelson Sardelli, Gary Marshal, Marilyn O’Leary (Ms. Senior Nevada 2010), Tom Adams, Arleen Gibson, Mafalda Papp, Gloria Hill, Mike and Beverly Mykissen, Brenda Weems, Jeffrey Raithe, Yvonne Karin, Maureen Kane, Ginger Magley, Charles and Nancy Vinnik, Deecie and Bob Zimmerman, Tony and Karen Ruivivar, Tony and Joan Ponticello,

Former Judge Jansen and wife

Jerry Tiffe performing with Michael T Band

Everyone enjoyed this annual event and said they will be looking forward to the next Old-Time Reunion Party.

[ List of Past Las Vegas Society News Articles ]
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