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Pop! Fizzz. . . “Champagne, Dahling?” YPO (Young Presidents Organization) members celebrated Wednesday evening, June 4 in Philadelphia’s Hyatt Bellevue Grand Ballroom. The occasion? To celebrate the graduation of eight members of this organization that gathers successful young chief executives. Graduates Peter Blommer, Ron Levene, Chris Tihansky, Dave Cohen, Jeff Brown, Bill Loftus, Stacey Fineburg, and Mary Austen shared their “Oscar-Winning Stories” throughout the sit-down dinner complete with desserts and topped off with dancing.

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Festivities kicked off with cocktail hour as Christa Adkins, YPO Philadelphia Chapter Administrator, greeted tuxedoed and gowned guests. Then they ascended the sweeping marble staircase where a photographer posed them and snapped their images. A saxophonist and piano player serenaded with smooth jazz, setting the ambiance as guests connected with fellow members. As they sipped drinks and sampled appetizers delivered on silver trays, friends caught up, pausing to smile for candids.

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And then she arrived, dripping in feathers and sequins and bedecked in her trademark blonde bob, rouged cheekbones, and red lips. “Oh, my gawd, that dress! I love it, Dahling! You should take that off and give it to me. I bet he’d like that!” Joan Rivers’ doppelganger worked the crowd with her salty humor, further setting the tone for this Oscar Night evening.

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At the appointed hour, Adkins directed guests back down the marble staircase to walk the red carpet. Cameras flashed, video rolled, and Rivers was once again on hand to welcome the guests to dinner and festivities. “Oh, honey! She’s had too much to drink. You better take her up to the room before dinner!” Rivers delivered her typical insults with aplomb, the young executives playing along and enjoying the attention.

Members found their appointed tables as servers brought wine to replenish drinks and take dinner orders. Then a hush fell over the room as Adkins announced MC Richard Phillips, and the evening of celebration officially got underway. “For his outstanding accomplishments, the academy award goes to. . .”

By Jann Simmons

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