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Secret service shuffle

Bond goes foothills at Black & White Ball
By: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
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Dancing, dining, drinking and getting married - it all happened Saturday night on the streets of Auburn during the Black & White Ball. Downtown Auburn was magically transformed, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, into a James Bond-esque scene complete with towering martinis, bond girls and quite a few Bond look-alikes. Kathy and Dave Partak said they don't miss a chance to dress in theme for the Black & White Ball. "Every year we've come and we dress in theme - why not?" Kathy Partak said. "Where else can it be OK for a grown-up to dress in a long blond wig, mini skirt and go-go boots?" Her husband donned a white dinner jacket and eye patch for his alter-ego, Bond bad guy Emilio Largo. "People think I'm from Austin Powers," he said. "You have to think classic Bond." The one-of-a-kind annual event coordinated by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, brings repeat visitors and newcomers alike. Steve Tidd and Roberta MacIntire were visiting the area from San Jose. "We love it," MacIntire said. "It has a great friendly feeling." More than 50 restaurants, four entertainment venues and a cabaret lounge thrilled the 007 fans. It was four years ago at the street party when Tamitha Franse met Frank Lewis. The two tied the knot Saturday just hours before the ball began. "I'm very sentimental. I wouldn't have been able to do anything else," newly-wed Tamitha Lewis said. The couple's first kiss was just outside the Tahoe Club years ago. They held their wedding reception Saturday night at the club. "This had to be the place," Frank Lewis said. "It's all very symbolic." As the couple enjoyed their reception with friends and family, Ball sponsors were busy preparing fanciful menus for the expected 3,500-plus attendees. One of the big draws each year is the delectable delights offered at the Thunder Valley Casino booth. This year the casino offered steakhouse salad, pork tenderloin and a seafood martini. The tented area was decorated with slot machines and adorned with bright, red rose bouquets and showgirls. "They have the best food," said Hillary Monte, a first-time visitor to the Black & White Ball. In keeping with the Bond theme, Pat and Pete Enochs of Latitudes restaurant in Old Town Auburn served mojito prawns. "James Bond liked the Caribbean a lot," Pat Enochs said. "We're preparing the prawns with the mojito drink ingredients served with a slice of lime." Bob and Denny Sappington, of Lake of the Pines, have enjoyed the outdoor party for the past four years. "We wouldn't miss it," Bob Sappington said. "There's great food, great fun, great people and music. We wouldn't miss it." Volunteers spent the majority of Saturday hanging casino-themed decorations and glittering lights transforming the roadway into a giant party. "We had traffic on High Street at noon," said Rosie Mietzel, chairwoman of the Black & White Ball. Last year 4,000 tickets were sold. Mietzel was hoping to hit that number again this year. As of last count, around 7 p.m., the number of tickets sold hovered around 2,000 with another thousand-plus sponsor tickets handed out. When it was all said and done, the crowd was anticipated to reach in excess of 4,000. The entertainment line-up included the bossa nova/garage/pop band Casino Royale, ball veterans and '80s rock band Tainted Love, dance band Clean Slate, Innersoul and Mike Branson and the Rat Pack. The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at penneu@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment on auburnjournal.com.