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Why are there people in Canyon Lake who jump out of airplanes at age 95* and model in fashion shows at age 92? Could it be that Canyon Lake’s fountain of youth – that source for continued activity and involvement – is the friendship residents find here?

Though most people find their way to Canyon Lake because of the lake or gates or other amenities, those who stay here would agree they usually do so because of the friendships they have made through various community clubs and organizations.

One of those groups, the Canyon Lake Woman’s Club, is putting on its annual Fashion Show today, April 29. Even more than modeling clothes, it will model friendships. The Woman’s Club has one of the largest and most active memberships of any group in the community.

The Fashion Show and all the pre-parties leading up to it show what can be done when committed women pool their friendship, creativity, talents and resources. With the theme, “At the Movies,” the Lodge will turn into a combination movie studio backlot and Academy Awards Ceremony.

The stage will feature 8-foot-tall Oscars, while various tables will be decorated with movie themes like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Wizard of Oz,” to name a few. The models for the fashion show are club members themselves, showing off fashions from several local clothing boutiques.

Fashion Show Chair Lyne Hall says, to add to the glamor, those showing evening gowns will be accompanied on the catwalk by men in tuxedos. The emcees and entertainer Aprile McKinnon will wear elegant clothing provided by Amani’s. Lunch will be catered by the Lighthouse Restaurant.

Look for the entire upper floor of the Lodge to be taken over by silent auction items, theme baskets and door prizes that can be won by anyone, not just those with tickets to the Fashion Show. Tickets for the grand prize drawing also will be available. On display will be a paper dress exhibition created by members of the club. The doors open at 9:30 a.m. Last minute tickets to the lunch/show, may still be available at that time.

Paper dresses that will be in the Paper Dress Exhibit at the Fashion Show.

Paper dresses that will be in the Paper Dress Exhibit at the Fashion Show.

The backdrop for all of this will be the chatter of friends – of those who are putting on the show as well as those who attend.

Every year, pre-parties leading up to the Fashion Show are held in members’ homes. The kick-off party on January 28, at the home of Kathy Ray, was a ladies-only cocktail party with the theme “M.A.S.H.” The other parties were “Viva Las Vegas,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.”

The most recent pre-party, on April 22, included gentlemen and was held at the home of Lyne and Mike Hall. The theme was “South Pacific,” with Mike cooking up a 70-pound pig and the Crazy Coconuts (several of the women’s husbands) performing “There Is Nothing Like a Dame.”

Lyne, who also is Ways and Means chair for the Woman’s Club, said the pre-parties made more than $6,000 toward the club’s philanthropic endeavors. The Woman’s Club not only is an exceptional place to build friendships, last year alone the club contributed $30,000 to various philanthropies including $15,000 to college scholarships.

Give a hand to the women who have put this event together for the benefit all Canyon Lake women: Co-Chairs Lyne Hall and Alise Lawrence, Silent Auction Co-Chairs Rose Marie Hand and Sally Wedehase, Cashier Joanna Spiller, Golf Certificates Pat Spencer, Theme Baskets Gail McCall, Grand Prize Karen Wallace and Vicki Young, Door Prizes Suzi Delia, Ads/Donations Debbie Stiffler and Jayne Stanyon, Hostesses/Fashion Show Bonnie Wade, Fashions/Models Co-Chairs Jan May and Nyla Finch, Decorations Co-Chairs Terri Ireland and Lyne Hall, Table Decorations Dolores Weinberger, Luncheon Menu Bonnie Carnagey, Reservations/Tickets Sue Collins, Paper Dress Exhibition Tammy Stone, Graphic Design Lyne Hall, Publicity Photographers Barbara Spraul, Bert Barbay and Lyne Hall.

The next major community event put on by the Woman’s Club will be the Mermaid Festival on August 27 at Indian Beach, now in its second year. This year’s event will include the Cardboard Boat Race and a Pirate Battle, along with food and vendor booths, children’s crafts, music and the crowning of the Mermaid Court.

According to, the club was founded in 1972 when a group of Canyon Lake women wanted to meet their neighbors. They organized an early morning “Kidnap Breakfast,” allowing those kidnapped to put on two things: a robe and false teeth.

This same group, plus the kidnap victims, met and decided to form a Woman’s Club. Bylaws were written and, on November 14, 1972, the first election of officers was held. There were 91 charter members. Their main purpose at that time was to purchase safety equipment and support activities for teens.

A suggestion also was made to contact the Riverside County Libraries to request a bookmobile stop in Canyon Lake. A book exchange table was set up at the CLWC monthly meeting. This led to establishing a financial sponsorship program to manage the development and growth of the local library.

Space was rented and the Woman’s Club paid the utility bills. Woman’s Club volunteers staffed the library, which eventually became part of the Riverside County Library System.

One of the first money-making events was a rummage sale held at the Village Center. This evolved into a swap meet, first held at Blue Bird Hall and then moved to the Towne Center.  In 2004 the membership voted to no longer hold a swap meet.

The club’s first Home Tour was held on November 24, 1973. This event continues to be held annually before Christmas and is a successful fundraiser. It now includes a drawing for decorated Christmas trees and a vendor boutique.

The annual Fashion Show has become a major event, with fashions from a variety of stores.  There have been elaborate decorations and exotic themes. Originally they were done at monthly meetings, with the chairperson doing spoofs on fashion shows. In recent years, it has evolved into a first-rate affair held the last Friday in April.

In 2007 a cookbook “Taste of Paradise” was created from recipes donated by members. It proved to be a successful fundraiser. In 2011, the board adopted a logo and sold T-shirts and sweatshirts with the glitzy logo. In 2014, vendors were added to the general membership meetings and the meetings were given themes.

All these events continue to be major fundraisers. Members continue to put in countless hours, display their many talents, and make new friendships as they raise money to be donated to philanthropic recipients and scholarships.

A footnote at the bottom of the club’s website says, “Life’s Greatest Treasure – Friendship.”

(*Victor Silver, featured in the April 16, 2016 issue, did a tandem skydive for his 95th birthday. Victor is a member of the Tuesday Work Group, a group of men who find friendship and action through their volunteer efforts on the Golf Course.)



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Donna Ritchie