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1st Southern California ‘Stephanie’s Day’ Brightens, Enlightens

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STUDIO CITY (CBS) — The CBS Radford lot was filled to capacity Saturday with scores of smiling kids, families, supporters and organizations all taking part in the first-ever “Stephanie’s Day” in Southern California.

And did we mention the smiling kids? What wasn’t to love? A “Fun Zone” for the kids with skateboarding, face-painting, balloons, food, music, performances, dancers, a photo booth…you name it. (For the record, we caught many adults also having a good time.)

110813 stephanies day dsc 0958 1st Southern California Stephanies Day Brightens, Enlightens

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The event is dear to the heart of Steve Mauldin, General Manager of CBS2/KCAL9. He started “Stephanie’s Day” fifteen years ago in Dallas in honor of his daughter who has autism.

And looking around at the large crowd he beamed. “So great to have all these families here today. There is such a need for something like this in Southern California.” Hugging his daughter he beamed some more: “She is so loving, so adorable.”

The first “Stephanie’s Day” in Southern California also had guest appearances from big names  (“Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna who also has a daughter with autism), CBS2 and KCAL9 personalities, CHiPs officers and their motorcycles, and more than 40 service organizations.

By all accounts, the day was a tremendous success and it would be a challenge to top this event in 2012. But Mauldin is up for the challenge. He told KCAL9′s Lisa Sigell, “It’s only going to get better next year!” he said.

» PHOTOS: Stephanie’s Day Comes To Southern California
» More About Stephanie’s Day
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