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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/10/2012

Erik Estrada is surprise guest-for-hire at Ron Bonjean’s annual Christmas party

Actor Erik Estrada flanked by hosts Sara and Ron Bonjean at their annual Christmas party Saturday night. (Courtesy of Ron Bonjean)
Nothing says Christmas like. . . Erik Estrada? The “CHiPs” actor was the star attraction at Ron Bonjean’s holiday bash Saturday. For the past three years, the GOP strategist and wife Sara have flown in a surprise kitschy nostalgia figure for the annual party, which attracts 400 to 500 guests to their Alexandria home.

It started out as a lark by inviting principal Mr. Belding (actor Dennis Haskins) from “Saved by the Bell.” Last year, they upped the ante and got Gary Busey; this time it was Estrada. “Erik was very host-friendly,” Bonjean told us Sunday. Meaning. . . ? Put it this way: Busey was a big hit with guests but “extremely difficult.” (We’re shocked, shocked.)

Estrada, on the other hand, arrived early, stayed late, posed for photos and signed autographs, even spent time with limo drivers, waiters and bartenders who waited until the end of the party for a chance to meet him. “He was amazing,” said Bonjean. “Honestly, he should run for public office.”

None of this comes cheap: Bonjean wouldn’t say exactly how much he paid for the stars to show up, but the appearance fee and expenses run into the “low five figures.” Totally worth it to distinguish his party from the standard corporate gathering: “It shakes things up.”

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