The holiday are here and with it the many opportunities to celebrate the season. I hope you will take a look at our Holiday Happenings feature and plan to attend some of the lovely offerings right here in our community. Not many people live around a famous Christmas boat parade called “One of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation” by the New York Times. The 109th Newport Beach Boat Parade and Ring of Lights home competition is such a lovely tradition. Another fun affair for the family is the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort’s “Lighting of the Bay” the day after Thanksgiving, and tree lighting ceremonies abound at Balboa Bay Resort, Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza. Sherman Gardens’ “Nights of 1,000 Lights” is back for a fourth year, the Corona del Mar Christmas Walk draws the entire family, and the Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour offers a peek at nine beautifully decorated island homes. I added one out-of-town holiday extravaganza this year, since it is celebrating its 25th anniversary–Mission Inn’s “Festival of Lights” in Riverside.
ArtsOC’s 18th Annual Orange County Arts Awards drew 260 guests to Segerstrom Center’s Samueli Theater to honor community standouts for their exemplary arts contributions and netted $100,000 for the nonprofit’s outstanding arts programs. OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer and ArtsOC President/CEO were event emcees.
SPIN (Serving People in Need) hosted its “Gourmet Wine Pairing Dinner” for 200 supporters at Big Canyon Country Club to raise funds to help fund and assist OC families with permanent housing to avoid homelessness. The elegant affair, which included a gourmet repast, also featured a Lugano Diamonds bauble.
SCHF, dedicated to helping enhance the quality of life for terminally ill patients, held its Eighth Annual “Wine Soirée Spectacular” at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin, where 200 supporters gathered to sip wines, enjoy dinner, auctions and a “Start Your Own Cellar” raffle, raising nearly $100,000 for the cause.
Bravo Barclay! members and Irvine Barclay Theatre supporters attended a complimentary soiree hosted by Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails in Irvine, where the theatre’s 2017-18 season was highlighted, supporters were thanked and Emmy Award-winning actor/singer Keith David, who performed at the Barclay the next evening, was introduced. Photography Doug Gifford
More than 100 art lovers attended the “Looking Forward/Looking Back” Georgeana Ireland One Woman Show in celebration of the Second Anniversary of Ethos Contemporary Art in Newport Beach. Live music and delectable hors d’oeuvres and wines were part of the mix, with 10% of sales benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank.
The Literacy Project, dedicated to raising funds to enable disadvantaged children to increase their reading skills, held its Eighth Annual “What Dreams Are Made Of” gala at the Newport Beach Country Club. The event showcased three young students representing the thousands helped through TLP’s gift of literacy. Photography Tony Florez
Celebrating Discovery Cube’s third campus, Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest in Newport Beach, this year’s ocean-themed gala drew 300 supporters and raised more than $530,000 for science education. It was announced the Hoag Foundation had awarded the Ocean Crest Cube a $550,000 grant to support its “Dive Into Citizen Science” program.
The 18th Annual “Cruisin’ for a Cure” car show returned to the OC Fairgrounds to showcase 3,500 vehicles and offer free prostate cancer screenings, with 864 men tested and 143 advised to to seek additional help. Event founder Debbie Baker presented KSK Cancer Center of Irvine a check for $100,000.
One Wreath at a Time The Patience Wright Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, in Laguna Beach, along with chapters in Newport Beach, Irvine, Tustin and Huntington Beach, are supporting Wreaths Across America again this year. They are asking friends, family and business associates to donate wreaths to be placed on more than 6,000 veterans’ graves at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar on Saturday, December 16th from 9–11 a.m. The wreaths are $15 each and will be placed on the graves by community volunteers on that day. The volunteer places the wreath on the grave, says the veteran’s name and thanks him or her for their service. Visit bit.ly/2ybOYS9. Celebrate the Season
Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo’s big fundraiser, “Zoofari,” celebrated its 25th anniversary and netted $100,000 ($24,000 more than last year) to help with its River Otter Habitat. With zoo animals greeting guests, a whopping silent auction and sumptuous catered dinner by Parties by Panache, smiles abounded. Photography Ann Chatillon
A U.S. ambassador. The chief medical officer at a regional medical center. An award-winning filmmaker, whose breakout work created industry buzz.
What do Broadway actors do when they lead the list for more Tony Awards and nominations than anyone else? They take the show on the road!
Traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony at South Coast Plaza On November 16th, the Segerstrom Family hosted South Coast Plaza 36th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Center Park, adjacent to The Westin South Coast Plaza. The 96-foot white fir majestic Christmas tree, which arrived from the Mt. Shasta area of Northern California, is always a popular landmark during the holidays with its 100,000 twinkling lights. The tree lighting ceremony drew thousands of attendees for complimentary refreshments, entertainment by Orange County School of the Arts students, a visit from Santa and enchanting snow. SouthCoastPlaza.com Tree Lighting Ceremony at Fashion Island
Glühwein, a spiced or mulled wine, is very popular in German-speaking countries and in the region of Alsace in France. It is a traditional hot beverage served during the Christmas holidays and throughout the cold winter months. The oldest documented Glühwein is dated to the year 1420. Count John IV of Katzenelenbogen, a German nobleman, was the first grower of Riesling grapes.
There are certain travel destinations that provoke a new sense of focus and clarity of priorities upon returning home, and a renewed passion for life; Israel is one of them. The excitement of this historic destination will consume your senses upon arriving. Close your eyes and imagine what life was like in the Holy Land more than 2000 years ago and then open them to discover today’s vibrant culture.
Visitors to Irvine, and even native Orange Countians, often struggle to define what Irvine stands for. Everyone knows about the city’s reputation for safety and diversity. They know UC Irvine is a great school. What people don’t always see is Irvine’s potential as an engine of economic growth and job creation for the region.
The holidays are a special time to be with my family and friends. It is something I look forward to each year. I jump at the chance to celebrate some iconic once-a-year events, such as the tree lighting ceremony at Fashion Island, the evening Boat Parade on the bay, walking through the decor-laden Roger’s Garden and Sherman Gardens and of, course, holiday tea with girlfriends at The Resort at Pelican Hill.