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Our Laguna: Events pile up in one wild weekend


There was more happening in Laguna last weekend than goes on in some months.

Twelve special events were scheduled Saturday and Sunday — all of them for worthy causes, not to mention a lot of fun.

The Community Picnic at Alta Laguna Park, organized by the Laguna Board of Realtors to raise the money to save the annual Fourth of July fireworks, was a rousing success. More than 350 people attended and enough money has been raised to ensure the patriotic pyrotechnics this year and get a good jump on funding for next year’s show.


“After all the expenses are paid, we will have netted about $37,000, including previous donations and the matching $10,000 grant from Tommy Bahama’s,” said Realtor Michael Gosselin, who chaired the picnic, ably assisted by a volunteer group of about 20.

Lisa Farber was credited with collecting the most items for the silent auction, as well as distributing the posters for the event.

“I don’t know where everybody else was, but they couldn’t have been having as much fun,” said Taxpayers Assn. President Martha Lydick, who took her visiting grandsons to the event.

Some of the “everybody elses” were at the Grapes for Grads at Tivoli Too, sampling wines from Pavillons, Kenwood, Gallo and Oakridge wineries, Young’s Market and the Wine Warehouse, and noshing on a la carte’s comestibles, arranged with the help of Maggie Hempen.


“This was the first time we have ever held the event on this weekend, and we will never do it again,” said Veronica Nice, a member of the event committee.

Laguna Beach Scholarship Foundation President Marsha Aronoff and trustees Blynn Bunney and Lee Kucera Chamber of Commerce/Rotary- sponsored event, which raises money to fund scholarships for local high school graduating seniors and tuition for Laguna College of Art & Design students.

Past chamber President Jeff Redecker chaired the fundraiser, with the help of his wife, Kerri, and committee members Nice, Marge Earl, Steve Dotoratos and John Campbell, whose insurance company was a sponsor.

Other sponsors: Bank of America, Kenneth A. Picerne, Hill Insurance, Lippa Insurance, attorneys Schiffer & Buss, Coldwell Banker, Doctor’s Ambulance, the Marine Room and past chamber President Dave Sanford’s Super Dave Printing.

Across the street at the Laguna Playhouse, the Laguna Beach Community Concert Bank performed “Musical Portraits,” from 3 to 5 p.m. The concert featured violinist Elizabeth Johnson, clarinetist Gary Gould and vocalists Linda Hughes and Ginger Hatfield.

Michael Pinto was honored for his 20 years as president of the Laguna Canyon Foundation in a celebration at the Nix Nature Center in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Supervisor Pat Bates was among the speakers. Former Supervisor Tom Wilson emceed.

Guitarist Alexander Sack performed from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Laguna College of Art & Design, a part of the First Sunday series of concerts presented by the college and Laguna Beach Live!

The Community Clinic Sunset Fiesta began 4:30 p.m. at the Twin Points Estate in North Laguna. Besides the stunning grounds, another highlight was the announcement by Chris Loidolt of a $10,000 matching grant from Hearts of Montage — which was matched before the event ended.


Mayor Elizabeth Pearson, who had attended the picnic and the chamber fundraiser, spoke about the value of the clinic, which provides medical care for Laguna residents and workers who are under- or not insured.

Laguna Beach Woman’s Club President Gayle Waite was among the guests at the fiesta, but she had to leave early to get back to an AYSO fundraiser, being held at the same time at the club to raise funds to send the girl’s soccer team to Florida for a special tournament.

Some people showed up at more than one of the events, but others were forced to make a choice. The picnic, Grapes for Grads and the park celebration were from noon to 4 p.m.

“All our organizations need to work together to see that this doesn’t happen,” Councilman Kelly Boyd said. “It takes money away from causes you want to support.”

Saturday’s schedule of seven events began at 8 a.m. with the Info Expo at the Farmer’s Market, sponsored by the Laguna Beach Community Alliance, founded by Lee Winocur Field to eliminate conflicting events on over-used dates with a calendar of citywide events.

Note: The Coastline Pilot has an online calendar available for any date, however far away. Just visit or call City Editor Cindy Frazier at (949) 380-4321.

Laguna Beach High School alumni picnicked in Heisler Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pearson started her reelection campaign with a Derby Day party, starting at noon.


The Ebell Club’s annual Derby Day fundraiser also began at noon. It was at the Lumberyard restaurant. Owner Cary Redfearn closed the restaurant to the public for the event.

“I want this to be the community restaurant,” Redfern said. “So far, so good.”

Nothing could be more “community” than the Ebell Club, which was the first group in Laguna to provide a scholarship at the high school.

“We are kind of like the United Way of Laguna,” said Vice President Amy Altieri. “We give a little to a lot of nonprofits, as well as four $1,000 scholarships a year.”

The scholarships are funded by a Derby Day event, and club officers said attendance was hurt this year by all of the events scheduled for the weekend.

But those who attended had a dandy time, especially during the hat parade.

Lori Romero won the prize for most original hat. Mark Kjercq had the top hat for men. Jackie Connolly’s Christian Dior original 1950s beaver with Dalmatian-print veiling was judged the best overall hat.

Credit for the event goes to committee members Altieri, Karen Baker, Cristina Calderone, Valerie Dalena, Murphy Gerber, Terry Halpern, Marjorie McPhillips-Drillick, Debbie Neev, Sylvia Newton-Robbins, Lori Rosenberg, Brenda Solomon, Victoria Templeton, Kathy Wallen and Carla White.

The donor list included Romero Photography, Ganahl Lumber, Sundried Tomato, BJ’s Restaurants Inc., Café Zoolu, the Sawdust Festival, Laguna Art Museum, Hennessey’s and the families of Altieri, Solomon and Baker.

Laguna Beach Live! presented Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles in concert at 8 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse.

The group is the first all-female professional mariachi ensemble.


OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; call (949) 380-4321 or e-mail