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Rodeo Drive Gets a Little Taste of Island Culture

Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive is normally just an island of consumer excess. Sunday it was the scene of Island Carnaval, the Concern Foundation’s 16th annual block party combining every type of island culture except Manhattan’s.

Jamaican music, Hawaiian dancers and Polynesian thatched huts were all part of the afternoon event, which was chaired by Rebecca Golden and designed by Arthur Simon. It raised $750,000 for the foundation’s work in funding cancer research.

“You start with a street and you end up with a party,” is the way Concern co-founder Larry Powell described the work of 300 volunteers who began decorating at dawn.

Although the street was transformed with splashes of color in balloons and banners evoking the Caribbean, it was the more traditional Rodeo Drive pursuits of shopping and eating that occupied the 3,000-strong crowd.

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Lavish buffets were provided gratis by five local caterers--Somerset, Just Off Melrose, L.A. Celebrations, Parties Plus and Someone’s in the Kitchen--and there was an extensive silent auction with everything from cosmetic dental bleaching (a $200 value) to New York vacations.

“It’s a chance to shop and feel your money is doing some good,” said Golden.

It was also a chance to drink and have celebs do the pouring. Among the two dozens celebrity bartenders were Suzanne Pleshette, Lloyd Bridges, Maria Conchita Alonso, Della Reese, Mary Ann Mobley and Ed Asner, who said mixing drinks was “a good upper body activity.”


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