Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Fantasy surpasses expectations.(Personalities)

Byline: Inside Source CHARLOTTE BALCOMB LANE Of the Journal

Examined through any looking glass, Saturday's Chocolate Fantasy was the biggest party ever in the nine years the fund-raiser has been held to benefit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation.

First, the party, dubbed "Imperial Russia An Opulent Era," sold out at least a week before the event. With scads of volunteers and chocolatiers mixed into the equation, there were 1,200 people packed as closely as caviar into the mezzanine level of the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque.

In fact, early in the evening before organizers opened up the ballroom, closeness bordered on discomfort. Some attendees began to speculate, while wedged in one place, whether the event had outgrown the hotel.

Not at all, answered David Weymouth, a member of the Foundation's board of directors. A certain amount of intimacy keeps a fancy-dress ball lively. Nothing kills a party faster, he said, than moving it to the cool vastness of a convention hall.

Incidentally, Weymouth came through splendidly on his promise to deliver a bona fide Russian consul to the Russian-themed party. …

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