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Thousands of twinkling lights, celebrating the first commercial use of electric lighting at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, will greet guests at the first preview party of the 11th Decorators' Show House.

More than 400 guests are expected at the Tudor-style Schoellkopf-Vom Berge Manor at 121 Chapin Parkway for a gala formal dinner dance March 3, sponsored by Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News.

Festivities at the house, emptied so that decorators' renovations may begin, will start with a reception in the living room of the house, built in 1912.

Butler-passed hors d'oeuvres will feature smoked trout with apple salad on rye toast and mushroom and goat cheese tartlets. Songs will be by Jennifer Marie.

Diners may choose entrees of planked salmon with honey lavender glaze or steamship round of beef. A gourmet dessert and coffee station is planned from 10:30 p.m. until midnight and Nik Lite of Rochester will play for dancing.

Candlelight will augment the twinkling electric lights and ribbons, and bunting and greenery will accent architectural details throughout the house. Topiary arrangements are planned for the mantels.

Prints of the Pan-American Exposition and an original film by Thomas Edison, loaned by the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, will complete the visual effects.

Wendy Sanders is chairwoman and Cheryl Rossi is co-chairwoman of the dinner dance and of a garden party April 27, marking conclusion of the renovation.

Decorations for the gala are being coordinated by Rosemary Zoebel, and Kate Borowiak is coordinating rentals. Mary Coffee is in charge of invitations and reservations.

Patty O'Brien, chairwoman of this year's biennial Show House fund-raising project, says that "previously each Show House has raised in excess of $200,000, donated to a major community project," for an overall total of nearly $2 million that has gone to such projects as the LaSalle Park Band Shell and Concert Series, Central Referral Services, EPIC (Every Person Influences Children), Compass House and Theatre of Youth.

Catering for the preview dinner dance will be by the Park Lane Restaurant; favors for departing guests will be from Willis & Lowe and RMF Technologie.

Other contributors are Premier Premium Wine & Spirits, Try-It Distributing, DiGiulio & Krypel and Century Printing & Graphics.

Individual tickets for the combined dinner dance and garden party are $100. Separate tickets are $75 for the dinner dance and $50 for the garden party.

Patron tickets, at $140 each, include both parties. Reservations may be made by calling the Junior League of Buffalo at 635-8795.

Public tours of the Show House will be held April 28 to May 20.

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