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Old Town

Let the Good Times Roll! — The table's set. The wine is chilling. The snacks should be thrilling. The company's willing and the cause is, well, wonderful.

The Historic Alexandria Foundation's 18th annual antiques show hits the boards tonight (Nov. 17) with its gala preview party — a do we've described here before as one of the best in town. The party runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the usual venue — at the Holiday Inn in North Old Town, 625 First Street. You can pay at the door if you forgot to send your check — $125 per person. This covers everything, including free indoor parking, and all the proceeds go toward historic preservation and restoration projects in the city.

And that's just the beginning. The show itself runs from Friday Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 20 (same place) with show hours 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. As usual, the imaginative dealers — assembled and vetted by show czar Bob Armacost — will total 44 from 15 states and England. Single ticket admission is $12.

Always a highlight of the HAF party is the Young Collectors' Evening, where we try to teach these upwardly mobile and so enthusiastic young professionals more about the heritage of Alexandria and its treasures.

The event will be Saturday, Nov. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. It includes a guided tour of the show and treasure hunt, with two prizes of $250 each, good for any purchase at the show. The party's climax is highlighted by a reception at an historic Alexandria home. Admission to the collectors' party is $75 per person.

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT — We told you above about the "so much fun for such a good cause" annual antiques show and preview party that serve as the primary fund-raiser for the Historic Alexandria Foundation. Well, as we've also told you many times, these folks know how to rock!

Just the other evening, the same group that is bringing you this weekend's antiques show in Old Town held another party. This was not a jump-start to this year's affair, but a thank you to those who so generously supported the 2004 enormously successful show. (A confession: My wife thinks I send the wrong message by trumpeting the fun parties the HAF rolls out in highlighting the virtues of historic preservation and the like. 'Enough is enough already," she said the other night. And I fired back (after she left the room): "If you can't have fun, forget it."

Anyhow, family contretemps aside, the HAF did hold a "thanks" party the other evening for those who went above and beyond in bolstering last year's show. It was held at the sophisticated and soaring home in Alexandria House of Jane and Jim Sleeva and, gosh, it was fun. We saw lots of friends there — among them Babs Beckwith, a faithful corporate underwriter of the show, the Lawrence O'Connors, Bob Montague, Stewart Dunn, Ed and Mary Heiden, Morgan Delaney, Carrie Heiden, Bruce and Virgina McElfresh, Ruthie and Dennis Alpelt, Mary Sparks Sterling, Bruce Schaffer, Greg and Anna May, and Mary Kay and Dick Ryan.