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Hundreds Pack Price Center Ballroom
for Holiday Pancake Breakfast and Craft Fair

Ioana Patringenaru | December 18, 2006

32nd Annual Holiday Pancake Breakfast (Photo / Victor Chen)
32nd Annual Holiday Pancake Breakfast

They came. They ate. They shopped. They gave.

Hundreds of UCSD staff members packed the Price Center Ballroom Wednesday for pancakes, sausages and holiday fun during the 32rd annual Holiday Pancake Breakfast organized by the UCSD Staff Association. About 950 people bought tickets for the event, said Ange Mason, who chaired the pancake breakfast committee this year.

Top administrators waited on staff members. In all, 29 VIPs put in one-hour shifts from 7 to 9 a.m., Mason said. Chancellor Marye Anne Fox poured coffee from 7 to 8:15 a.m. Vice Chancellors served food.

Taking pictures with Santa Claus (Photo / Victor Chen)
Taking pictures with Ol' Saint Nick.

Ho Ho the holiday elf, also known as Shaun Travers, director of UCSD’s LGBT Resource Center, roamed the ballroom in a fur-trimmed red hat, black vest, green pants and boots outfitted with sleigh bells. He was trying to spread holiday cheer, he explained, though the real comic in the family is his brother, “Ha Ho.” Another brother is an Olympic skier. His is name is “Ta Ho,” Ho Ho/Travers said.

Meanwhile, groups of employees waited in line to have their picture taken with Santa. Ata Koryurek and his co-workers in the department of psychiatry have been attending the pancake breakfast for eight years. “I can see we’re getting older and wiser,” the director of financial affairs said with a smile. “For myself, I’m getting balder.”

SOLO (Photo / Victor Chen)
From left: Sami Faile, Marcia Strong, Darlene Mercado and Marilyn Russell from Student Organizations and Leadership Opportunities enjoying their breakfast.

After staff members ate their fill, many did some holiday shopping at the first full-blown crafts fair held during the breakfast, in the foyer of the Price Center Ballroom. It sure beats shopping at the mall, said Jackie Stauch, an administrative assistant in medical genetics. “You see your friends, she said. “And the prices are very good.”

Stauch bought presents for co-workers and teachers, including key rings, scented soaps and baskets made of pine needles collected on campus. In fact, basket weaver Judy Schulman, who works in Core Bio Services, was making brisk business and had sold about 20 of her wares. A few yards away, Heather Hire, the MSO for general internal medicine, was selling a wide variety of goodies made by herself, her family and her friends. It was her first crafts fair. “I survived,” she said, adding magnets and pins, reasonably priced at $2, were selling well.

Staff Association Toy Drive (Photo / Victor Chen)
From left: student Laura Quan and staff member
Tiffany Rodriguez volunteered to help out at the
UCSD Staff Association toy drive.

Staff members also could reach out to the needy Wednesday morning. Several staff associations were collecting toys, clothes and eyeglasses. In the Price Center Ballroom, piles of toys waited to be taken to children in the burn unit at the UCSD Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente’s pediatric unit. Volunteers sorted them out into bins by age range, from infants to pre-teens and teenagers. A long table was covered with plush toys. About one-third of the toys were donated during the pancake breakfast, said German Cervantes, a programmer analyst in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. “It’s going great,” he said.   

OASIS (Photo / Victor Chen)
From left: Patsy O'Connor and Aurora Sadiarin from OASIS attending the crafts fair after their pancake breakfast.
External Relations Information Technology (Photo / Victor Chen)
From left: Lu Chen and Suki Chui from External Relations displaying their fine jewelry for sale at the Price Center.
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