updated 9/2/2010 7:46:05 AM ET 2010-09-02T11:46:05

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Sept. 1, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When Jaynine Warner, a commercial airline pilot and overall chair of The Christmas Company, the largest fundraiser of the Junior League of Orange County, Calif., Inc., (JLOCC), launched her stint with this challenging charitable project last spring, she was surprised by being grounded for four and a half months of bed rest in order to ensure the safe delivery of her first child. She needed to take a leave of absence from her job, but she was able to keep her volunteer commitment moving forward via conference calls and e-mail.  

Warner put her professional stamp on The Christmas Company: "Come Fly With Me" is the theme of the Opening Night Gala (6:30 -10:30 p.m., Wed., November 10) and "Home for the Holidays" is the theme for the shopping extravaganza, which continues during the following four days (Thursday, Nov. 11, - Sunday, Nov. 14).  "Having your family together for Christmas is truly special and not something to take for granted," says Warner. "After leaving the military, my Dad was a Fed Ex captain. In addition, my brother has been a pilot for the Air Force and Continental Airlines, and my mother is a former flight attendant. Getting everyone home for Christmas was a rare occasion."   Inspired by her personal experience, she instated free admission for Military personnel with a valid I.D. on the event's first shopping day, November 11, which is also Veterans Day.  

 While Warner needed physical downtime, she notes that "Everyone on the committees stepped up even more than usual to take on their responsibilities.   I couldn't be as hands on as I would have been otherwise, but keeping the event on track has not been difficult." Her support team included a Steering Committee made up of 20 women who are experienced in various facets of the event.   Every active Junior League member works two three-hour shifts when the shopping extravaganza and its subsidiary events are under way.   Among the Junior League's more than 600 members, approximately 250 are active members.  In preparation for her current role, Warner worked in various leadership positions for The Christmas Company in past years:  She was the exhibitor co-chair and co-chair elect, as well as acting as chair-elect before becoming the overall chair. Of her work on the project, she notes, "People don't realize how much fun it is to put this event together. It's an amazing experience, an unstoppable force. And the friendships that you make in the process are incredible. "

On the home front, baby William arrived healthy and happy on July 22.  Jaynine and her husband David will move from Dana Point to South Laguna Beach in early October, the month when she expects to go back to work.  She notes that her favorite routes are up and down the coast – with stops at Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo.  Flying came naturally to her; her father was a NASA astronaut candidate and a test pilot for the Navy. She earned her pilot's license while still in college, and her love of flying inspired her to turn her passion into a career where she "has the best of all views from her office."  After spending time at a flight instructor as Palomar Airport, she joined Skywest, her employer for the last 10 years. She became a captain in 2006, around the same time that she joined the Junior League. 

Now in its 35th year, The Christmas Company will feature a variety of exciting events in addition to the opportunity to shop at more than 90 unique vendors from Orange County and across the United States.  At the Opening Night Gala, restaurants including Blue Water Grill, Five Crowns, Melting Pot and Newport Rib Company, among others, will provide small plate dining for the evening.  Wines will be provide by Gallo Family Estates. Entertainment and a Silent Auction will also be part of this event priced at $75 per person. The Christmas Company will be held at the OC Fair & Event Center located at Fair Drive and the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa. 

A Preferred Shopping Breakfast held 9-11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 11 ($35), will start the overall event.  Guests will enjoy a glass of champagne and breakfast while enjoying their exclusive two hour VIP shopping experience.  No baby strollers are allowed at the Preferred Breakfast.   A Luncheon with Olympic Medalist Janet Evans and evening Culinary Class with Zov Karamardian of Zov's Bistro who will autograph her second book, will be held Friday, Nov. 12. Mother-daughter tea parties featuring the "Fancy Nancy" series of children's books on Sun., Nov. 14, are in the planning stages.

The Christmas Company general admission is $10 per person, which includes entrance to the shopping extravaganza.  Parking at the OC Fair & Event Center is $5.  General admission hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11; 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12; 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. , Saturday, Nov. 13; and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. , Sunday, Nov. 14. General admission tickets good for multi-day entry will be available at the door and online at www.jlocc.org . Tickets for the special events also will be available for purchase online or by calling (949) 263-3785. 

Sponsors for the event to-date include REO World, Dacor, Foto Cabina, Gallo Family Estate Wines, Peltzer Pines, Jill FM, and Orange Coast Magazine. Funds raised annually by the JLOCC directly impact the community through collaborative projects with partner organizations and support JLOCC's mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community.  This year's projects include the Second Harvest Food Bank Backpack Program, Crittenton Services Connect Program, Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Reading Program, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Emancipated Youth Program, Kinship Support Services Program, Bear Hugs and Bear Necessities Program, and Impact Orange County, which conducts done-in-a-day volunteer opportunities.

About the Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc.

The Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc., is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  JLOCC has helped found organizations such as Orangewood Children's Home and the Volunteer Center of Orange County.  As a solely educational and charitable organization, the JLOCC's trained volunteers actively support the community through collaboration with organizations that promote and support the health, safety and education of all individuals in Orange County.  A 501(c)(3) organization, the JLOCC reaches out to women of all races, religions, and national origins.  Originally founded in 1956 as the Newport Harbor Service League, the JLOCC is a member organization of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.  To learn more about the JLOCC, call (949) 261-0823 or visit www.jlocc.org .

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