been employed by the City Council for 20 years.
Police Chief James Spreine's best guess was "a long time." Laguna
Niguel Police Chief Linda Spreine, who was a sergeant in the Laguna
Beach department before she married the chief, didn't know.
City Councilman Steven Dicterow had no idea. Chamber of Commerce
members Dennis Junka and Sande St. John, who helped organize
Hospitality Night, asked around, but couldn't come up with an answer.
Executive Director Anne Morris was just happy to be celebrating her
first anniversary with the chamber.
"Our kids were babies when we started coming," newly elected
school board member Betsy Jenkins said.
Former City Treasurer Susan Morse said Hospitality Night was at
least 29 years old. "That's how old my daughter is, and I remember
bringing her in a stroller," Morse said.
Anyone who knows the date and circumstances of the first
Hospitality Night -- and we suspect Harry Lawrence or Jane Janz may
be the ones -- please contact us. We also want to hear from those who
would like to share some memories. That is how our history will be
There is a lot of history and tradition to Hospitality Night.
That pepper tree that gets lighted each year was planted by the
Rogers family in front of what was then their home. The site next
belonged to the Laguna Beach Woman's Club. Legend has it that the
club transferred ownership to the city with the stipulation that the
tree must be preserved or the property reverts to the club.
Thurston Middle School Band traditionally entertains the crowd,
which starts to gather at about 5 p.m. at City Hall. Laguna
Presbyterian Church bell ringers also perform.
The Seagrave Fire Engine, a relic of Laguna's past, carried Santa
to City Hall Friday night, driven by fire Capt. Eugene D'Isabella,
who is retiring after more than 40 years of service to the city. Now,
a quaint reminder of the past, the Seagrave was once the city's
defense against fire.
Bill and Theresa O'Hare recalled when their sons, Billy and
Brendan, rode one of the city's fire engines to Hospitality Night in
That was in the days that rides with Santa were given as
opportunity prizes or auction items to nonprofit organizations. Then