The Crowd:

It has been a most fashionable and festive time on the Orange Coast to kick off the holiday season. The Junior League got Newport-Mesa in the mood with their annual Christmas Company shopping extravaganza at the Orange County fairgrounds.

The four-day event began with a gala opening night followed by a shopping breakfast, afternoon tea parties, cooking demonstrations with a special event featuring the League’s own cookbook “Orange County Fare,” celebrity speakers including Olympian Janet Evans and best selling authors Dr. Beth Hamilton and Dr. Stephanie McClellan, and of course holiday items showcased by some 90 international vendors.

The 34th Christmas Company once again attracted large enthusiastic crowds helping the Junior League to raise funds needed to support their charitable programs in the community all year.

Newport’s dynamic Linda White-Peters, development executive at Discovery Science Center, organized a little mid-week gathering at the handsome men’s boutique Gary’s at Fashion Island.

White-Peters introduced DSC’s President Joe Adams to the VIP crowd sharing Christmas cocktails and super hors d’oeuvres catered by Mark’s of Laguna Beach. The event was designed to rally interest in a new DSC program called the Innovators, which will launch in January focusing on the actual “science of fashion.” Gary’s donated a portion of the evening’s revenue to the center.

The National Charity League Jrs. converged upon the chic Tory Burch boutique at South Coast Plaza for some in-store revelry in advance of the spectacular National Charity League winter debutant ball, which unfolded over the Thanksgiving holiday.

More on the ball next week. Meanwhile, Tory Burch welcomed nearly 100 NCL Jrs. supporters mingling amid the latest Burch designs and doing a little Christmas shopping. Tory Burch donated 10% of the evening’s proceeds to NCL Jrs. in support of programs such as High Hopes Head Injury, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and the Harry and Grace Steele Children’s Center.

The NCL Jrs., a gathering of young girls and their mothers who eventually enter the National Charity League culminating in the debutant presentation, share the motto, “Mothers and Daughters serving communities together.” The NCL Jrs. are planning their major fundraiser March 13, the annual mother-daughter spring luncheon at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort.

Spotted in the crowd were Maureen Madigan, Kelly Stewart, Heather Klein, Kimberly Prado, Cory Lang, Heather Cook, Allyson D’Elisen and Teri Pitchess.

It was all about art and wine. Newport Coast socialite Danuta Schenke invited the crowd for a holiday wine experience in her hillside Pacific Rim residence showcasing her own extremely limited reserve edition Cabernet Sauvignon created from private stock in the Napa Valley.

Sculptress Linda Brunker was the special guest of the evening displaying her bronze works of art, one of which was commissioned by Schenke and reproduced as the image on the wine bottle representing her own label. Additional works were offered to the crowd as special holiday gifts for art lovers.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays.

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