From the beach to the bluff top, Crystal Cove Alliance’s (CCA) 12th annual gala did not disappoint on Sept. 27—albeit the soiree had to make a last-minute location change. The event was originally scheduled to be held on the beach—hence the theme, “Back to the Beach”—but the recent high tides had washed away much of the shoreline—so back to higher ground it was. Happily, the nearly 400 guests that attended did not look disheartened at all, as they mixed and mingled during cocktail hour, sipping on signature drinks and hors d’oeuvres provided by Montage Laguna Beach while perusing silent auction items. After sunset on the bluff top, guests were led inside an elegant tented space where they dined on a three-course gourmet dinner by The Resort at Pelican Hill and listened to supportive words of thanks from Harry Helling, CCA’s president and CEO, and Laura Davick, founder and director of external affairs. In between dinner and dessert, an exhilarating live auction was held, which included sought-after packages such as getaways to CCA’s historic cottages and trips to Montage Hotels & Resorts destinations. When all was said and done, more than $300,000 was raised to support the organization’s mission of preserving the beloved state park for generations to come. (crystalcovebeachcottages.org) —A.T.
LAGUNA DANCE FESTIVAL GALA PERFORMANCE
Laguna Dance Festival celebrated its 10th season with a star-studded, sold-out gala performance Sept. 13 at Laguna Playhouse. Misty Copeland of American Ballet Theatre—a prodigy who got her start in San Pedro, Calif.—captivated the crowd in her classical performance of “Coppélia Pas de Deux” with dance partner Gonzalo Garcia of New York City Ballet. Also, acclaimed dancer Desmond Richardson impressed with a solo; San Francisco Ballet’s husband-and-wife team Vitor Luiz and Lorena Feijóo wowed in their duets; and Gonzalo, clad in a bright red outfit, was striking in his jazzy solo number. Kelly Sneddon and Terk Waters of Complexions Contemporary Ballet performed a spiritual piece to “Amazing Grace,” while a Complexions troupe later presented a tribute to Stevie Wonder’s music. Another highlight was the production of “Ekphrasis,” commissioned by the festival, Laguna Art Museum and Laguna Beach Live! Choreography by Bernard Gaddis and music by Alan Chan, both inspired by the museum’s “Lotus Land” painting by Lee Mulican, were performed together to live music. Then, a post-show reception allowed VIP ticket holders to meet the dancers. The multiday festival of master classes and performances concluded with a gala matinee Sept. 14, when attendees had the opportunity to meet Misty, who signed copies of her New York Times best-selling book, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” as well as pointe shoes and posters brought by fans. (lagunadancefestival.org) —S.S.
ARIS FALL FASHION EVENT
The evening of Oct. 2 proved to be a perfect time for fashion and philanthropy at one of Laguna Beach’s most beloved boutiques. Aris—Trey Russell’s expertly curated shopping destination for the city’s most fashionable—played host to local fashion stylist Lori Gladstone as she demonstrated ways to marry fall style with the season’s seemingly endless summer heat. Lori prepared six head-to-toe looks while guests sipped Champagne and admired the options. What made this fashionable night even better was the presence of Heels2Heal, an organization dedicated to promoting healing and education for underprivileged, critically ill and abused children. Currently, Heels2Heal is raising funds for Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s (CHOC) teen room, a fun and relaxing space designed specifically for adolescents being treated at CHOC. To support this cause, 20 percent of each purchase (as well as funds raised from the purchase of opportunity drawing tickets) directly supported the Heels2Heal mission. (heels2healoc.org) —B.B.
Every dog has its day, and that was certainly the case at the Laguna Board of Realtors’ 18th annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-off, which took place Sept. 28 at the Tivoli Too! grounds. Dozens of dogs and cats—and even birds and a calf—along with their “pet parents” united to support the annual Realtors’ fundraiser, a benefit for The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Laguna Board of Realtors & Affiliates Charitable Assistance Fund and Pacific Marine Mammal Center. In addition to a talent show, which gives awards such as Most Handsome Male and Prettiest Female, the humans had the opportunity to taste chili from numerous local organizations, including Firebrand Media (which publishes Laguna Beach Magazine), Surterre Properties and Union Bank. Don’t fret—our furry friends were not forgotten; local pooch boutiques such as Anything Canine and Coast Pet Supply & Grooming handed out dog-friendly treats. All in all, more than $20,000 was raised to support the work of our town’s animal-focused nonprofits. (lbr-caf.info) —A.T.
ROMANCE OF THE MISSION GALA
Set against the ruins of the Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Great Stone Church, Broadway star David Burnham serenaded the audience with show tunes during the Romance of the Mission gala fundraiser Sept. 12. On this sultry summer night, David captivated the crowd as he crooned classics from a variety of musicals as well as a moving rendition of “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.” Following the concert, the crowd moved into the courtyard’s garden setting for an elegant candlelight dinner presented by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. A record 480 guests dined on a four-course meal of Dungeness crabcake, an artistic cucumber-wrapped salad, sweet and spicy prawns, beef tenderloin, and almond praline and chocolate torte for dessert. During this special evening, the Mission Preservation Foundation honored the El Viaje de Portolá equestrian group, which embarks on a three-day horseback riding trek every year to raise money for charitable causes including the mission. Also at the gala, an opportunity drawing featured a Ritz-Carlton getaway, Montana Sporting Club experience and 18-karat white gold bracelet donated by Roberto Coin boutique at Fashion Island. The black-tie benefit gala raised an estimated $260,000—a record—to help preserve the mission, a historic jewel, for generations to come. (missionsjc.com) —S.S.