The Crowd: No Scrooge at this Christmas Carol Ball

The 2012 Christmas Carol Ball benefiting Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian was exceptionally festive this season. The event has always had a warm, community-based feeling as citizen donors come together with hospital staff, nurses and physicians for a collective year-end hug. After all, what is more vital to any community than health?

Chaired by Terry and Bob Callahan, the evening at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort also marked the Callahans' 20th anniversary of their first date, which coincidentally also took place at the Christmas Carol Ball in 1992. That's kismet. Supporting the Callahans were two of Newport's most loved and respected couples, Ron and Sandi Simon and Vahé and Lisa Karamardian. Both the Simons and the Karamardians bring resources along with hands-on involvement to Hoag on many levels. It's not just about the money; it's about wisdom and guidance and sage counsel.

On the same level of commitment are supporters including Edward Fedishon, Maralou and Jerry Harrington, Nora and Jim Johnson, Margaret and Tom Larkin and Viki and Jim Coufos, chair of the Hoag Hospital Foundation. Also front and center for Hoag were many respected physicians including Alan Beyer, Aidan Raney, Douglas Zusman, Gerald Gostanian, Tonia Marralle and Richard Haskell.

The crowd dined on surf and turf, danced to a fabulous band and bid generously on the auction. Sponsored by the Hoag Hospital Foundation and Hoag's 552 Club, the Christmas Carol Ball has raised more than $7 million for hospital programs since its inception in 1966.

The dock tax did not overshadow the annual joy of the Christmas Boat Parade in Newport this season. Threats of a boycott, while certainly legitimate, did not kill the lights on the armada of spectacular boats that paraded the harbor to the delight of locals and tourists who look forward to the spectacular each year. Let's face it, tax or not, the parade is a cherished slice of Newport life at Christmastime.

On the penthouse level of the Terrace at the Balboa Bay Club, Donna and Dick Pickup invited good friends and family for cocktails and dinner overlooking the harbor on a picture-perfect opening night of the parade. Their culinary staff prepared popular sliders and sliced turkey breast and offered a bountiful spread of holiday delicacies to guests including Margo Nagel, Tim Busch, Gene Bishop, Patty George, Ann Hall, Susan Anderson, Diana Moody, Natalie and Todd Pickup, Bill and Jean Maverhan and Kelly Jones.

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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