The Crowd: Mark these events on your social calendar

The spring social calendar is overflowing. Here's a preview of a few up-and-coming events.

Beginning Feb. 21 and running through March 13, the Allen Edmonds Store at South Coast Plaza is teaming up with Soles4Souls for a shore trade-in event that will assist people worldwide who cannot afford a pair of shoes.

Here's how it works. Donate any brand of new or gently used men's, women's or children's shoes at Allen Edmonds and then receive $35 off a new pair of Allen Edmonds men's shoes. All of the donated and collected shoes go to Soles4Souls for distribution. Very cool indeed.


Closer to home, when it comes to direct, hands-on assistance for people struggling to make it, one of the O.C.'s most effective organizations is called SPIN, or Serving People In Need. Originally founded more than two decades ago by concerned parishioners at Newport's Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, SPIN has grown to become one of the most respected agencies in the county finding housing for the homeless and getting them back on track, as well as assisting citizens suffering from substance abuse and other serious life interrupting road blocks.

Coming up, SPIN will sponsor a number of fundraising opportunities that will take donations and directly impact the lives of fellow O.C. citizens in desperate need.

In March, a major reception will welcome new and continuing donors to the program followed by an April Celebrity Cocktail event to unfold at "A" Restaurant, Newport Beach.

On May 9, Mesa Verde County Club in Costa Mesa will host a shotgun SPIN golf event and dinner, which once again promises to be one of the best days of charity golf on the calendar. To learn more, go to


Television's top chef, Fabio Vivani, will be in the O.C. on March 19 on behalf of Olive Crest. It's their fourth annual "Harvesting Hope" for children to be held at Big Canyon Country Club, Newport Beach.

Chef Fabio, working with the incredible Big Canyon culinary team will prepare one of his signature Italian dinners. Tickets are priced at $195 and more with proceeds going to Olive Crest's project Independence, a transitional living program for youth 15-24 years of age helping them to become responsible adult members of the community. Mike Donnelly, president of Ralph's Grocery Co., returns as honorary chair.

For more information, visit


For local folks heading out to the desert this season, a big annual benefit unfolds Feb. 24 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. It's the fourth annual "One Enchanted Evening" benefiting the College of the Desert's Foundation, and it promises to be a glittering night under those amazing desert stars.

The event attracts a large crowd treated to the talents of performers living in the Coachella Valley. This is "American Idol" meets "America's Got Talent" rolled into one. Broadway star Donna Theodore, a Tony Award nominee, will produce and perform in musical productions in a tribute to the late Judy Garland.

All of the proceeds will go to College of The Desert Student Programs. This is a must see and do on the 2011 desert social calendar. Visit for ticket information. To help sponsor the program, contact Colleen McBride, College of the Desert Foundation development director, at (760) 773-2561.


Monday is the day of love. Valentine's Day 2011. Hallmark loves it, restaurants love it and I don't know any woman who doesn't love it. The Crowd camera captured some smiling Valentine faces last week at "Sweetheart Bingo" held at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort, Newport Beach.

Host Aaron Trent handled the bingo duties with the big prize being a major kiss from the winner's loved one. There were lots of winners, and plenty of smooching.

Happy Valentine's Day, Newport-Mesa. Take advantage of all the love. Gosh, do we need it more than ever.

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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