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Philadelphia Phillies player Kevin Frandsen, left, retired San Jose State Baseball Coach Sam Piraro, center, and former Cleveland Indians pitcher Sandy Wihtol, a Palo Alto native who coached the Los Altos High baseball team for 16 seasons, were among the awardees at the 29th annual Hot Stove Banquet. The event was held at the San Jose Elks Lodge on Jan. 22, 2013.

Elizabeth Jardine and Patrick Pereira of Newark are going to have a wedding tale like no other. The couple has been engaged since 1996 -- and they've raised three children together -- but will finally get married Thursday night. And the whole celebration is on the house.

The couple are the lucky recipients of a wedding giveaway valued at more than $30,000 by a coalition of Bay Area wedding vendors that have banded together as the Elite Vendor Group (www.elitevendorgroup.com). The group includes the beautiful Palmdale Estates in Fremont, where the wedding will take place, and baker Jen Kwapinski of San Jose-based Jen's Cakes, who is making the wedding cake.

Although they've been steps away from the altar for 17 years, the couple says they put off getting married while raising their kids, two of whom are in college now.

DRIVE ON: After losing its home of the past 38 years at Stanford University, the Palo Alto Host Lions Club has found a new spot for its Concours d'Elegance at the San Mateo County Event Center. The 47th annual charity exhibition of rare, vintage and exotic autos is scheduled for June 30. Get more information at www.paconcours.com.

HELPING HANDS: Between email outreach and a New Year's Day fundraising barbecue at Viva Los Gatos, the 1-2-1 Foundation raised $12,500 for the students at the Atlantic County Special Services School District in Atlantic City who are still recovering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy.


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Retired San Jose State professor Larry Gerston, who is on the board of the grass-roots foundation based in Los Gatos, said about 200 people took part, with donations ranging between $10 and $500. "We did this over a six-week period, with no overhead," Gerston said. "But most important, the response reflects the generosity of the community."

PURRFECT PALS: Since 2005, hundreds of cats in San Jose have been helped by the efforts of the 13th St. Cat Rescue group, a small collective of volunteers led by founder Joanne Santner. The group recently tallied up its totals for 2012 and announced that it arranged to have 260 feral cats spayed or neutered and got 202 adopted.

The neighborhood-based nonprofit group relies on volunteers to take in cats and socialize them until a home can be found. If you're interested in finding out more, go to www.13thstcats.org.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.