The Crowd: Kicking off with a shoe party

Did you know that you could buy a pair of drop-dead gorgeous shoes at a car dealer in Norwalk? Well, you could for one night only — May 9 at the McKenna Porsche dealership. International shoe maven Jimmy Choo, based in London with a hip boutique at South Coast Plaza, joined forces with some powerhouse O.C. women to produce a shoe party and raise money for Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

The charge was led by the gorgeous Jeri McKenna, wife of mogul car dealer Danny McKenna. Jerri was assisted by Amanda Hogan, wife of McKenna's right-hand man Bob Hogan. Also helping to organize the very successful event were Adriana Fox, Erin Bellemeur, Allison Compton, Barbie Turner and Alexis Berlanga, to name only a few. They called the evening in the showroom Heels2Heal OC, invited more than 300 guests and pledged a whopping $500,000 to CHOC earmarked to support the CHOC Teen Room in the new Bill Holmes Tower at the hospital. The first annual shoe event kicked off (pun intended) a $27,000 donation dent in the handsome pledge with more than $75,000 in sales of Jimmy Choo shoes, handbags and accessories flying out of the showroom.

Supporting the cause were Wendy and Curt Lyon, football star Matt Leinart, Jimmy Choo executives Johanan Merino, Jessie Mechem and Rachelle Blume. Norwalk Mayor Mike Mendez joined event underwriters, including Gina and Chris Radomski, Timree Gold, Joe and Laura Gregorio and Brian Panique representing Children's Hospital of Orange County. Also spotted in the high-heeled crowd were committee members Danielle Gregorio, Jennifer Clinton, Keri Pari, Jennifer Kajdasz and Kim Hansen.


Onion Luncheon

One of the very special events on the luncheon circuit welcomed a full house May 15 at the venerable Five Crowns in Corona del Mar, celebrating the annual SOS A-Team/Star Team Onion Luncheon. This 19th annual affair was led by the glam hostess in her signature aquamarine attire, the former movie starlet Kathy Thompson. Thompson, SOS A-Team president, presided over a warm and inviting afternoon that raised more than $27,750 for Share Our Selves.

The highlight of the afternoon confab, besides an amazing prime rib luncheon and a raffle in the hands of A-Team donor and insurance exec Mike Russell, is the annual address by a woman whose passion could lead the people into the promised land. Karen McGlinn, executive director of SOS, is without a doubt one of the most elegant and intelligent representatives of charitable causes on the coast. McGlinn spoke of the importance for people to follow a path of mercy, justice and kindness in dealing with one another — especially for those with the greatest need.

Sharing a story about one woman who has been an SOS client, McGlinn told the luncheon crowd that "Patricia" once told her how much she appreciated McGlinn for simply "taking the time" and treating her as a fellow human being.

At the luncheon table blessed by Father Kerry Beaulieu of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church were Catherine Emmi with her son Cameron Pearce, Janet Curci, Verna and Joe Degenhardt, Doretta Ensign, Brigitte Krause, Margaret and Bob Nord, Carol and Henry Schielein, and Kathy's family: Jerry Thompson, Todd Thompson and Marilyn Thompson.


Wine Festival

The Balboa Bay Resort is readying for the 10th annual Newport Beach Wine Festival from May 24 to 26. The massive program of special events commences Friday evening with the Master Sommeliers Wine Dinner with celebrity guest chefs. On Saturday, the program includes two seminars: "White Wines from France" and "Bordeaux Blends from Around the World." In the evening, the "Grand Tasting" gala will take over the ballroom, promising to be the ultimate wine lover's experience. Finally, on Sunday, participants may partake in "Beer for Breakfast" followed by a day of events including "Seafood on the Bay," "Australian Shiraz vs. French Rhone Syrah" and "Cigars, Cognacs, Spirits & Sweets."

For reservations and information, call (949) 630-4146.

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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