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Neptunians Create Elaborate Holiday Window Display

Nov 14, 2020 01:58PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Neptunian Woman's Club has created an elaborate holiday window display at its clubhouse on Highland Ave. in Manhattan Beach - and it's quite the spectacle.

The display celebrates the 100th birthday of the Manhattan Beach Pier, and it reflects the work and donations of more than 35 artists, workers, and contributors. 

Its creators were going for an elaborate "Macy's holiday window-type display," said Neptunian director of marketing Patricia Blakemore. "We wanted to do something special for the city."

Indeed, the display has it all - an elaborate painted backdrop of the Manhattan Beach Pier; a large Santa holding a plaque with information about the pier, a "fireworks" display of Christmas lights; an enormous bear in a Santa chair; Snoopy flying overhead; and a Christmas-themed train, Winnebago, and lifeguard stand.

Team Worked for More than a Month

Planning for the display began more than a month ago, according to Blakemore, and much of the discussion and organization occurred online and through virtual meetings.

Local artist and Neptunian Eileen Leaf designed the large mural backdrop and then sent the plan virtually to other team members who transferred it to the wood panels and painted it.

A crew of three to four artists met on Saturdays in a garage and would work for several hours, said lead artist Martha Logan. Then Bill White, husband of Neptunian Theresa White, built the framework about a week ago. "That's when the real fun began," said Logan. 

Neptunian members were asked to bring in and donate any Christmas decorations that might fit in with the theme - and the donations practically filled all of the tables at the clubhouse. The artists then carefully culled the selection and decided which pieces would make it into the window. Other decorations are being stored and saved for future years' windows. 

This is the first year that the Neptunians have decorated their front window for the holidays. 

Timing-wise, said Blakemore, the club had planned to have the window decorated sometime before Christmas. But this week when they heard about the window decorating contest for the Downtown Manhattan Beach Holiday Open House, they expedited the process. There are a few more details that will be added, but it is currently ready for passers-by to view at the clubhouse on Highland Ave. at 10th Street.

Display Created Entirely on Donations

One important aspect of the display for the Neptunians was that no club money would be spent on the project - it relied entirely on donations. (The Neptunian Club directs all of its money to scholarships and charitable causes.)

Blakemore said that when the club put out a call for donations for the window, members responded quickly with cash, decorations, and services in kind. 

"I sent out an email saying I need someone to help us figure out the lighting - and 20 minutes later someone stepped up to sponsor an electrical engineer," said Blakemore. "As soon as everyone found out it was going to be a gift to the city, it seems like everyone reached in their pockets."

Neptunian members hope that the window will truly be a "gift to the city," especially in a year when so many holiday events have been canceled.  Even though the city fireworks have been canceled, for example, a giant light-up firework dominates the backdrop of the window display. 

"There's so much joy and wonder for children and families at Christmas," said Blakemore. "We were hoping people would come by with their kids just to spend time looking in the window."

That idea gave Blakemore one final thought: "We're going to have to come by with Windex to wipe little fingerprints off the window every day," she mused. "If that happens, that would give me so much joy."

The Neptunian Woman’s Club, founded in 1909, is the oldest civic organization in the South Bay. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to volunteerism and the raising of funds in support of charitable, educational, cultural and civic services.

Thank you to all of the club members and donors who worked on this project: Holiday Window Project Committee Chair: Betty Herring. Holiday Window Project Committee: Patricia Blakemore, Kim Edwards, Brenda Holcomb, Susan Howard, Eileen Leaf, Martha Logan, Theresa White. 

Donors: Margaret Alvarez, Bettelu Beverly, Mary Sue Brubaker, Jo-Ann Conlin, Irene Cotter, Karen Darling, Heather de Roos, Mary Dillon, Michelle Erickson, Jan Fleming, Joyce Handschumacher, Suzanne Karger, Robin Kirk, Learned Lumber, Pat Lucy, Patty Mahoney, Jenny Olson, Rose Osten, Carla Petroff, Riley Arts, Ellen Rosenberg, Donna Scholtz, Miriam Shakter, JoAnn Shaw, Eric Swallow, Deana Wells (Rock, Paper, Scissors Boutique Salon), Bill White, Casey Willhardt, Jake Willhardt.

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