The Crowd: A century of hula and cinema

As 100 guests arrived at the Balboa Bay Resort, two young gents stood at attention blowing traditional Hawaiian conch shells. Sam and Jack Christensen offered the spiritual island welcome to their great-grandmother Bernice "Bea" Edwards, honoring her 100th birthday May 22.

Edwards and her husband Jim, founders of the Edwards Theaters chain, moved to Newport Beach in the 1940s from the San Gabriel Valley. Their plan was to retire at the beach. Instead, they built their first theater in Costa Mesa in the 1960s, calling it the "Cinema." Fashion Island was their next project, and over the next 40 years the business grew to more than 100 locations in California, Texas and Idaho. It should be noted that Bernice Edwards was in charge of the décor and interior design of each and every theater.

On the occasion of her 100th birthday, this dynamic woman was surrounded by her three children and their spouses, Joan and Hugh Randolph, Carole Ann and Jerry Ruoff and Jim and Patti Edwards, along with nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. All of them were adorned with Hawaiian leis celebrating with Polynesian and Hawaiian dancers and a tropical feast fit for island royalty.

The chosen theme was a natural, inasmuch as Bea Edwards has always had a love affair with the islands and has enjoyed a lifelong passion for dancing the hula. Ask anyone and they will tell you that she does it better than the best. Along with her dancing, Bea is still a regular at the gym, an avid painter taking art classes at Orange Coast College into her 90s, and she still drives herself to her office on a regular basis.

This special Edwards family milestone was shared with loving friends from her hula group, including Jane Sparks, Shirley Walk and Rose Burns. Also offering Hawaiian hugs were Polly and Tom Culp, Janet Terrell and Cliff Ronnenberg, Trisha and Don Barton and Stephanie Juarez.


A serve for tennis

The Adoption Guild of Southern California launched the 52nd annual Roy Emerson Adoption Guild Tennis Classic on May 25 in Newport Beach. Opening rounds took place at the Palisades and Newport Beach tennis clubs with a lively Saturday evening reception that followed, welcoming some 450 guests to a balmy evening poolside soirée at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.

Some 21 local restaurants participated in the evening, donating a wide variety of treats for the crowd. Salmon street tacos were prepared poolside along with Asian BBQ ribs, bacon mac and cheese and tequila chicken pasta. It's a good thing that tennis was played first.

Sponsoring the 52nd kickoff event were donors including Tom Carr, Dennis Claus, Ron DeAvila, Jason Fisher, John Healy and Tom Ochs, to name a few. The gracious chair was Laurie Moroch, with assistance from committee members Kim Hicks, Erica Markland, Jeri Nevins and Joanne Vogelsang. Special guests in the crowd included Roy and Joy Emerson and daughter Heidi, Steve Joyce, Britt and Bob Meyer and tournament chair Kelly Knight.

The Roy Emerson Classic continues through Friday with finals scheduled for June 1 and 2.


Breaking the (Food) Bank

The summer food and wine event at South Coast Plaza raised more than $65,000 for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, with the support of Bloomingdale's and Chef Charlie Palmer of the famous restaurant that bears his name. The May 16 event attracted some 300 guests for the annual celebration, which featured a selection of wines from 30 exceptional wineries and a very special pouring of champagne from Palmer's private wine cellar. Palmer flew in for the event, personally greeting all of the guests.

Palmer's executive chef, Seakyeong Kim, and his crew created a marvelous "American" menu for the crowd enjoyed by donors including Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom, Kathryn Cenci, Debra Gunn Downing, Alex Parker, Kristie Caggiano, Bloomingdale's General Manager Jim Murphy, Joe and Marilyn Schoeningh, Beth Bidna, Michael Burger of Rolls-Royce and Second Harvest CEO Nicole Syndum.

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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