The crowd at the Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn.'s "Canvas for a Cause" fundraiser, held earlier this month. (May 4, 2013)

Hats and books were the order of the day at the luncheon hosted by the Friends of the Library on Tuesday at Three Seventy Common.

"Ladies Who Lunch….and Read" reviewed books they recommended to supporters of the library and competed for prizes for their hats.

Angela Irish won first prize in the hat contest, for a hat she had designed and Lara Cerdes had created for the Laguna Beach High School production of "Hello, Dolly!"

Lee Winocur Field placed second with a pink and white confection and Sharael Kolberg's "fascinator," those tiny hats popularized by the Duchess of Cambridge, took third place.

Judges were past Best Hat winners Kathleen Lechner, Millie Robbins and Dorothy Kerig.

This year, Kerig was the winner of the hat donated by Duet on Forest Avenue, where many of the hats worn at the luncheon were purchased. Friends Vice President Sandy Hovanesian is a patron.

Hovanesian is also a patron of the Orange County Center for Performing Arts and outgoing president of the DeBussy chapter of the center Guilds, which some Laguna beach residents joined when the old Chopin Chapter dissolved.

Sherry Astrella, who formerly worked the defunct Jolly Roger, was among the 10 members of Debussy who attended the luncheon. Others included Majorie Gorum, Mary Fitzgerald, Millie Robbins, Gloria Manders and Nancy Still.

Astrella recommended the ladies read "Room" by Emma Donahue," "Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes and "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain. Fitzgerald's choice was "Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly.

Laguna Realtor Bobbi Cox recommended "Island Beneath the Sea" by Isabelle Allende. Winocur Field said "The Lemon Tree" was a good read.

Forty-eight ladies attended the luncheon, one of two fundraisers held annually by the Friends.

Guests included past Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. Presidents Louise Buckley and Pauline Walpin, former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman, retired City Clerk Martha Anderson and Laguna Beach County Water District Human Resources Manager Michelle Boyd, wearing a hat she made, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristine Thalman and event coordinator Rebecca Barber and Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau President Karyn Philippsen.

Also: Children's Librarian Rebecca Porter, Friends Book Shop volunteers Magda Herlicska and Nancy Perlman, and board members Dee Koski and Nancy Pink, Laguna Books owner Jane Hanauer and Tootsies' NiNi Dake.

"It gets bigger every year," said Friends President Martha Lydick, who wore a perky, yellow feather- and flower-trimmed hat to the luncheon.

"There were so many familiar faces it is like a family reunion — and they bring newcomers."

Lydick's friend Julianna Scoggin was among the newcomers and also a prize donor. At the conclusion of the luncheon she took Kerig to Tuvalu to snap a photograph of her in her new hat.

Other donations included a scarf from Louise's Place, a purse and two scarves from Tootsies in the Old Pottery Place, and gift certificates from the Flower Stand at the Lumberyard, Mare and Three Seventy Common. Justin Myers donated a wine tasting and tour at Newport Beach Winery.

Every resident of Laguna is automatically a member of the Friends. There are no dues, but donations, including books, are welcomed.

The book store is located under the library on the corner of Laguna Avenue and Glenneyre Street.

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