It was a star-studded affair at the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club’s demotion party.
There was Crocodile Dundee, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, best friends Lucy and Ethel, and video clips of Dorothy and Toto on the screen during the “Over the Rainbow” song.
Although the real actors were not present on the evening of July 5 at Marla’s Restaurant in Beaumont, the stars of the show that night were outgoing Rotary president Susan Aguilar-Martinez and incoming president David Castaldo, along with all of the Rotary members, their spouses and their friends who gathered for two hours of toasts and fond memories of the past year.
The demotion party featured more than 40 guests, who enjoyed dinner and some treats of popcorn and bags of chocolate from Martinez. Each guest had a Hollywood star with their name on it as well.
Martinez loves movies so the evening was centered around that theme. Her husband Manny Martinez put together the video of famous TV theme songs and clips of Hollywood movies.
Over the door of the back meeting room, which serves as the regular site of Rotary’s weekly lunch and dinner meetings, a sign hung saying V.I.P. and gold stars dangled down as the guests walked into the room.
Martinez put together some skits that she did by herself and with family. Her son, Matthew, 10, held up the card saying “Intermission” between skits.
Martinez re-enacted a Charlie Chaplin clip from the movie “The Gold Rush” where he puts a fork in his bread rolls and tries to make them dance.
Then, she and 14-year-old daughter Samantha did a skit to a scene between Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz to the tune “Friendship.”
Martinez thanked everyone for coming to the demotion party and said she was grateful for the company. “It would have been really awkward to stand here talking to myself and doing these crazy skits,” Martinez said.
She reminisced about joining Rotary three years ago and how she grew out of her comfort zone, volunteering to chair the event “Cherries Jubilee.”
Martinez thanked her husband for putting together all of the videos and music for that night and she also thanked her children, Chris, 19; Julian, 17, Samantha, 14, and Matthew, 10, for their understanding and support.
One of the videos showed Rotary’s events of the past year and it also paid tribute to four Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotarians who have passed away since April 2017: Lyle Millage, Terry Peak, Nelson Ringgold and Arlon Brubaker.
Each of the widows was presented with a terrarium filled with multi-colored sand in honor of their husbands.
Bruce Murrill paid tribute to the four men: he knew Lyle Millage for 30 years; Terry Peak was always happy to be at Rotary; Arlon Brubaker and wife, Mary, were his neighbors; Nelson Ringgold became a fast friend.
“We are all missing all of these fine men,” Murrill said.
Martinez presented a variety of awards to Rotarians and spouses including Ed Hiett, Mary Brubaker, Kim Murrill, Zoe Bright, Martin Bright, Matt Pistilli, Roy Brownie, Marty Mangan, Ben Escalera, Scott Mason, Gary Wines, Joanna Evans, Vanna Castaldo, Robyn Knight, Bruce Murrill, Greg Fagan, Roy and Jean Brownie.
When it was time to hand over the presidency to David Castaldo, Martinez was ready. The two have been good-naturedly joking for months about when Castaldo was going to assume the presidency because Castaldo kept pushing the start date back.
Martinez gave Castaldo, dressed in a suit reminiscent of “The Godfather,’’ a gavel with the theme music playing in the background.
Castaldo, in return, asked 24 of the Rotarians to surprise Martinez by lining up and presenting her with 24 mini Oscar statuettes.
Castaldo also said that he grew up as an only child so the male Rotarians are like brothers to him. He also held the four Rotarians who have passed away in high esteem.
Murrill and Knight also teased Martinez about her text messages, but then turned around and praised her for showing up to the Beaumont High School football stadium in the early morning hours of the Spirit Run one year with 55 burritos to feed the crew.
Roy Brownie presented Martinez with a vintage stamp that is the last of its kind.
The evening ended with cake, and confetti shot out of containers.
Julie Farren is an honorary member of the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club.