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Center cashes in on casino event

July 19, 2010|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

With dapper tuxedos, colorful cocktails and card dealers aplenty, patrons of the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge were transported Saturday to a gambler's paradise during its first Casino Night fundraiser.

The event, which drew about 100 people, replaces the Community Center's annual Fall Fiesta dinner, said interim director Tara Davies.

"We had done [Fall Fiesta] for nine years and we just decided to do something different that would maybe have a wider appeal," Davies said.

In order to stay within California law, attendees took to the tables with casino chips redeemable for raffle tickets. But that didn't mean the stakes weren't high. Attendees eagerly tried their hand at craps, roulette and blackjack, pausing only to rustle up another drink.

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At a table at the far side of the room, a dozen men sat down to an intense game of poker. La Cañada resident Mike Galper eventually emerged as the big winner, taking home a 32-inch flat screen television as his prize.

And those looking to escape the heat stepped out into the patio lit by strands of overhead lights.

"This is a blast," Tom Reynolds said. "I have been on the [Community Center] board for 20 years and this is the most fun we have had a fundraiser yet."

La Cañada Flintridge City Councilmember Steve Del Guercio, who described himself as a novice gambler, said the event was an opportunity to recognize the center and its staff for the important role they play in the city.

"The Community Center for years and years has provided essential programs and this is just another way to bring people together to focus their attention on supporting the Community Center," he said.

The center has a long history or providing much needed programming in the foothills, said board member Allen Koblin, especially for the area's senior citizens.

"I think the Community Center is under-appreciated," Koblin said. "This is a fundraiser to help us continue putting on the events that we do for both young and old, and to create a little more awareness for the center."

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