The Crowd: Luncheon benefits Pacific Symphony League

A lovely summer fashion luncheon unfolded at the chic Big Canyon Country Club. Event chair Gwen Williams produced it with flair on behalf of The Pacific Symphony League.

Williams joined forces with league president Dorcas Preston in welcoming 200 VIP guests for an afternoon with Beverly Hills-based fashion designer Ricco. Showing off a Ricco designed fuchsia chiffon ruffled jacket that happened to match the peonies in the dining room's floral arraignments, Williams helped raise funds for the league's support of music education programs in Orange County.

Special guests Pilar Wayne, Ronnie Alumbaugh, Janice Johnson, Polly May, Catherine Emmi, Linda Sholik, Randi Coleman and Shirley Carroll lent their formidable support. Also attending were Barbara Marceau, Jeanie Johnson and Nancy Hedloff.

Pilar Wayne, the artist wife of the late John Wayne, auctioned off one of her paintings, especially created for the Pacific Symphony League. After lunch, members of the league served as models in a runway fashion show displaying Ricco's latest creations. Pianist and crooner Jim Roberts entertained.


It was a night of cars and stars as the Childhelp "Drive the Dream" gala unfolded at the Orange County Fairgrounds on June 22, raising $325,000 to benefit Childhelp's programs assisting abused and abandoned children.

Childhelp co-founders Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson were on hand to honor citizens who have supported the organization, including Newport's Julian and Aleen Movsesian, and Patti Edwards. The evening was co-hosted by Barrett-Jackson, the Arizona-based classic car auction company that was staging its Orange County auction at the OC Fair & event Center in Costa Mesa. Sandie Newton was the celebrity mistress of ceremonies for the evening, presenting entertainers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., who entertained the crowd with their R & B classic melodies. VIPs in attendance included "Real Housewife of Orange County" Vicki Gunvalson, Jodi Sparks and Jen Lilley.


Television star Carson Kressley, best known for his role on the television show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," fronted the recent 44 Women For Children luncheon at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel, Costa Mesa.

Kressley who has gained fame as a fashion and beauty expert, stepped up to the microphone and said, "I love Orange County, home of St. John Knits and perfect highlights."

The crowd roared. The irreverence and sarcastic wit of Kressley stood in great contrast to the seriousness of the cause of the charity, which was created to finance and support emancipated foster youth seeking higher educational goals.

44 Women for Children is an auxiliary of the Orangewood Children's Foundation. The small, powerful group of dedicated women was founded by Corona del Mar's Susan Samueli. It raises significant funds providing financial assistance for hundreds of Orange County foster youth associated with Orangewood Scholarship programs who attend some 80 universities in 15 states.

Some of the women involved include event chairs Andrea Casaw, Jaynine Warner and Jessica Wohl. Also supporting the cause Lupe Erwin, Kelly Bozza, Ann Kilgore Diem, Sherri Andersen, Carey Clawson, Karen Goldhirsh, Stacey Kinney, Susan Kinsey and Roseanne Levan.

Thursday's "The Crowd" column erroneously announced that the annual SeaChange gala benefiting Oceania the event date would take place on Aug. 26. The correct date is July 29. For reservations and information, go to or call (949) 295-5811.

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

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