The Crowd: Partying as though it's 1929


On Sept. 25, the Crystal Cove Alliance plans to take donors back to 1920s and '30s Prohibition era in California for the upcoming eighth annual Crystal Cove Alliance beach gala.

Last week in Newport Coast, 75 donors gathered for a pre-event underwriter's cocktail party catered by The Beachcomber Café at Crystal Cove. Fundraising gala chair Teddie Ray and co-chair Linda Kennedy served a gourmet dinner buffet and cocktails, while music had patrons dancing in the sand.

The committee has set a goal of $300,000 this year. The money will be used in part to restore the bluff-top deck at the Crystal Cove Historic District. One of the biggest donors at the underwriter's reception were folks from The Resort at Pelican Hill, contributing a $50,000 check for conservation of the historical site.

The upcoming party is being called "Rum Runners Party and Jazz On The Beach." For more information, please visit

The second annual fundraiser benefiting The Angel Light Academy attracted a small but dedicated crowd of 40 patrons, enjoying a fabulous steak dinner at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Fashion Island.

The Angel Light Academy offers youth leadership training programs to young people in the community. The institute teaches problem solving techniques and life skills to children aged 5 and older, using community service venues, health and fitness education and social service projects of all variety.

Last week, junior leaders of the academy partnered with the Surfrider Foundation for a beach cleanup at Bolsa Chica State Beach, as an example of the kind of activities that the institute offers its young students.

Attending the Fleming's dinner was the founder of The Angel Light Academy, Julia Wilmot and her husband, retired Army Gen. Richard Wilmot. Fleming's Operating Partner Russ Bendel Jr. and Chef Jorge Estrada bent over backwards creating a five-course dinner for the donors.

Wine pairings were generously donated by Jim Barbier and Phil Molner of Frank-Lin Wine Distributors.

By the end of the evening, $14,000 was raised for The Angel Light Academy. For more information, go to

Quite possibly the largest and most celebrated charitable event on the California Riviera during the summer months is the annual benefit for Oceana, an international ocean conservation society with regional headquarters worldwide.

The Cahill estate in Laguna Beach with a spectacular ocean view will host the extravaganza for the third year in a row. Nancy Christiano, representing Oceana, recently announced that Academy Award winning leading man Jeff Bridges will join the celebrated list of stars participating in the evening at the Cahill estate.

Christiano also reports that on July 31 one of Fashion Island's newest restaurants, The True Food Kitchen, is offering a three-course dinner and wine for a donation of $50, all of which will go to Oceana.

For reservations, please call (949) 644-2400. For information about the major gala set for Sept. 10, please call (949) 720-0132, or go to

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