The Crowd: The Festival of Children has begun

The Garden Terrace at South Coast Plaza was bursting with positive energy on the evening of Sept. 2 as some 450 guests converged on the al fresco location to celebrate a unique and special organization in Orange County.

The Festival of Children Foundation, founded and led by Sandra Segerstrom Daniels, held its opening night event under that stars bringing together representatives from some 75 children's charities. All are member organizations of the foundation, receiving financial support along with spiritual and moral guidance throughout the year from dedicated individuals with a sincere caring for children's needs.

Segerstrom Daniels has been passionate about the foundation since its founding many years ago. Her resolve has never wavered and she uses her formidable clout to bring in politicians, business and community leaders and local philanthropists who can and do make a difference for kids in Orange County.

"It is up to each and every one of us to work to make the world a better place for our children. This year's Festival of Children theme is the word Team, which means Trust Encouragement Accountability and Magic," Segerstrom Daniels said. "Teams teach us if we work together we have already won."

The opening night celebration at South Coast Plaza launched the monthlong Festival of Children which will sponsor events every weekend for the rest of September at South Coast Plaza in conjunction with National Child Awareness Month.

Every year at the start of the Festival of Children month of events, the foundation grants the Fred award. Fred is an acronym: "For Really Extraordinary "Do'ers." The two honorees for 2015 were Martand Bhagavatula and Heather Lucas.

Martand, a 12-year-old from Yorba Linda, founded an organization called "Kids and Smiles." The organization sponsors free events that are socially themed around holidays, and participants bring and donate toys, books, DVDs and other useful things for children, which then are delivered to local hospitals.

Lucas, a long-time volunteer with Festival of Children, has worked tirelessly on many pivotal events, including the annual holiday party which gathers toys distributed to kids at the L.A. Mission.

Sponsors of the Festival of Children Foundation include Kaiser Permanente and Infiniti Motorcars. All of the administrative costs are covered by designated funding-enabling donations to directly support programs and services that improve the lives of children in Orange County. To learn more, visit FestivalOfChildren.org.

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Let The Music Play

Sandra Segerstrom Daniels' late parents Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom endowed a family foundation supporting a classical series with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. That generous bequest will once again support the opening of the 2015-16 Pacific Symphony season under the baton of Music Director Carl St.Clair.

The opening night program will feature Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 featuring the emotional "Ode To Joy." The program also welcomes the voices of the Pacific Choral featuring world-class opera soloists. Opening night is Oct. 1 marking the orchestra's 37th season in Orange County.

Also on the program are selections from "The Promise of Living" and "The Tender Land." The Pacific Symphony's composer-in-residence Narong Prangeharoen will conduct a piece titled "Beyond Land And Ocean" written especially for the Orange County audience.

In addition to opening night, concerts will take place through Oct. 4 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. An opening night gala celebration including a black-tie cocktail reception and pre-concert dinner is being chaired by respected community activist Jo Ellen Chatham. Tickets are $500.

For more information or reservations, call (714) 876-2364 or visit events@pacificsyphony.org. For tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit pacificsymphony.org.

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On The Runway

It is one of the blockbuster fashion shows on the Orange Coast rivaling events at the iconic New York Fashion Week: The Harvesters and South Coast Plaza will once again join forces for the 23rd year presenting fall, winter and holiday fashion trends on the Orange County catwalk.

The 2015 collections presented by world-class fashion houses and luxury brands will include designs from Barbara Bui, Fendi, Lanvin, Marni, Max Mara, Moncler, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatori Ferragamo, Valentino and Versace.

Melissa Knod will chair the event unfolding at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Oct. 7, with proceeds benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. Generous sponsors of the fashion extravaganza include South Coast Plaza, Roger Vivier, Jaeger-Le Coultre, diptyque Paris, Saks Fifth Avenue, Union Bank, Julia Post Jewelry and Welinder Design.

For more information, call the Second Harvest events team at (949) 208-3160 or go to specialevents@feedoc.org.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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