Super Bowl party for vets moves to American Legion

A private Super Bowl party in Newport Beach promises a rousing good time, even if those attending don't care much about football.

Corona del Mar residents Gary and Julie Crisp, owners of Costa Mesa-based C2, a printing services business, are having their sixth all-day Super Bowl party Feb. 2 for 300 guests: 150 veterans and 150 active-duty Marines from Camp Pendleton. It will benefit the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group.

Organizers are calling the invitation-only party at the American Legion's Newport Harbor Post 291 "the biggest, liveliest party these military service people have ever experienced."

"It's kind of a humbling experience," Gary Crisp said of the event. "It's just to honor them for all they do for us to protect our freedoms, to protect our standard of living. A lot of times, these guys just aren't acknowledged for what they're doing each day."

The party's entertainment lineup will be highlighted with appearances from the San Diego Chargers cheerleaders, the USC marching band, a gospel choir and a U2 tribute band.

A surprise guest is also planned. Past guests have included singer Eddie Money.

This year is the first time the party is being held at the American Legion post on the Balboa Peninsula. Past parties were at the Crisps' home in Coto de Caza, where they lived until moving to Corona del Mar.

While Gary Crisp isn't a veteran, his family has military ties. His father, a Purple Heart recipient, served in the Army during World War II. Crisp has brothers who served in the Army as well.

Gary Crisp and Barbara McMurray, an event publicist and C2's marketing specialist, both said seeing the older veterans interact with the young active-duty service members is inspiring.

"One of those most touching things I've seen in the last couple years is the 20-year-olds having these long, in-depth, heartfelt talks with these vets who are using walkers and canes," McMurray said. "They tell them what they learned from their service."

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