The Crowd: Stylish fundraising with the younger set

Almost 500 of the young and hip crowd descended on posh Pelican Hill Friday night on behalf of Orangewood PALS (providing assistance, love and support). PALS is an auxiliary of Orangewood Children's Foundation, whose members are primarily on the youthful side of the social roster. Hosted by Kurt Caillier, the event was billed as Endless Summer Nights and while the party was called for 7 p.m. arrivals, the crowd just kept coming late into the evening.

Valets took the guest's cars when they arrived at Pelican Hill's gate and ushered them into a caravan of long black limousines, shuttling the party goers back and forth from Caillier's ocean view estate. Chaired by Katy Higgins, the evening netted $40,000 for Orangewood by the time the last mojito was muddled.

Caillier, president and chief executive of A & A Ready Mixed Concrete, clearly has poured a lot of cement. His home is the ultimate dude pad. Upon entering, guests pass the hunt room replete with a major display of firearms and animal trophies. Caillier's 20-car garage had been transformed into a disco with DJ Hoff spinning the night away. Another room featured an indoor putting green. The mojito bar was poolside and the crowd was individually instructed on how to make their own custom mojito with a brushed aluminum engraved muddler — which they took home as a party favor. What is a muddler you might ask? A muddler is a long pestle-like bar tool used to crush the mint leaves and berries used in a mojito. Just what every Newport-Mesa kitchen must have on hand.

The evening was catered by Cosmopolitan Events, and guests who were not dancing in the garage or making mojitos with their muddlers might have been engaged in a Texas Hold-em poker or billiard tournament challenge in another part of the estate. PALS supporters donating $2,000 or more to Orangewood were escorted into roped off VIP lounge seating and were being served Patron cocktails. Very Las Vegas club scene, indeed.

Among the VIP guests were LA Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, Pam Dzierzanowski, Ryan and Jessica Steelberg, Elizabeth and Keith Bohr, Pei Pei Wang, and Susan Samueli. Also in the crowd were Melody Akhavan, Steve Bender, Keri Dugan, Marty Dutch, Kim Miller and Carroll Wheatley.

Founded in 1996, PALS has dedicated its fundraising efforts to assisting Orange County's abused and neglected children who are temporarily placed at Orangewood Children's Home. Members also are involved in mentoring former foster teens. For more information, visit or call (714) 619-.0237.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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