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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
An Off-Season Mardi Gras for AIDS
Amy Conway
September 17, 2001
Los Angeles Times (09.16.01) - Monday, September 17, 2001

Supporters of the AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County thought a Fat Tuesday fest was the most colorful way to inaugurate a new fund-raiser -an annual "World's Fair" at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. More than 1,002 people climbed aboard classic midway rides, sampled New Orleans-style fare and watched as a parade of flamboyantly dressed foundation supporters promenaded at the recent event, which netted more than $350,000 for patient services. Emmy Award-winning comedy writer Bruce Vilanch took the event's lead role as King Rex.

"We help 1,400 clients with direct services that include support groups, benefit advocacy and a food pantry," said Ken Jillson, event co-chair with Judy Fluor-Renels and Jorge Rodriquez. An army of volunteers helped pull off the extravaganza, which also featured a performance by the Soul Connection gospel choir. In roped-off areas dubbed the Royal Court and the Garden District, major donors enjoyed fine dining cuisine.

"We got involved with the foundation five years ago after we lost a nephew, Eddie, to AIDS," said volunteer Jerry Dunn of Tustin, who attended with his wife, Marcia. "We love this group."