SMILES: Liz Merage, Laurie Rodnick and JoAnn Franticola support the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. (Hand In, Daily Pilot / March 30, 2011)

The 16th annual Guilds of the Center fashion extravaganza moved from daytime to evening this season.

Chaired by Kathy Fleming, the party unfolded March 24 at the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel. The event began with a champagne reception on the very trendy Westin roof deck, followed by a très chic fashion show produced by Escada, and a filet of salmon dinner served by the Westin Hotel staff in the main ballroom.

One of the major sponsors of the evening was Lugano Diamonds, represented by owners Idit and Moti Ferder as well as Lugano vice president Stuart Winston. This year, the Guilds of the Center celebrated the "kindness, generosity and impeccable style" of Newport philanthropist Zee Allred.

Following a heartfelt speech by Allred praising the efforts of the entire community for decades of unselfish support of the performing arts in Orange County, Moti Ferder presented her with an exquisite 66-carat blue star sapphire and diamond necklace. Lugano also underwrote the cocktail reception and a grand prize raffle drawing of a handsome freshwater pearl necklace made up of 65-inch strands.

The evening raised an impressive $200,000 net benefiting the artistic and educational programs sponsored by the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Major sponsors of the event included Sandra Segerstrom Daniels, who did an excellent job narrating the video tribute to Allred, Larry and Deborah Bridges, Richard and Mary Kramer, Louise Costa, Carol and Doug Kentner, Robert and Marilyn McCorkle, and Carol and Kent Wilken, among others.

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The Children's Hospital of Orange County Follies opens Thursday at the Robert B. Moore Theatre on the Orange Coast College campus. A cast of 100 of Orange County's business, civic and social leaders have been rehearsing for months and will perform "CHOC Follies XIV: A Funny thing Happened On the Way To The Follies."

The show runs for three nights through Saturday, plus a Saturday matinee performance. Since its inception in 1998, the production has raised more than $5 million for CHOC. Founded by executive producer Gloria Zigner, the show has become one of the most successful charity events on the Orange Coast.

With the help of a triad of hardworking co-chairs, including Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Leslie Cancellieri and Dale Skiles, the team anticipates this year to be the best Follies ever. Ticket prices for the show range from $35 to $125, and can be ordered online at http://www.chocfollies.org, by calling (714) 532.8690, or at the theater at 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa. Curtain is at 8 p.m.

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The recent St. Patrick's evening fundraiser at Newport Lexus benefiting The Friends of Dorothy Guild in support of AIDS Services Foundation Orange County added another $28,000 to their impressive fundraising tally.

In the four years since the founding of the guild by Newport's Barbara Venezia, local donors have contributed $495,725 in support of services provided by the ASF to local citizens fighting the disease. On hand with Venezia to welcome the crowd were Maria Marquez, ASF board chairwoman, and Phil Yaeger, ASF executive director.

"Everything at the event is donated, so all proceeds benefit ASF," Venezia said, adding, "ASF offers services and programs to help those living with AIDS as well as providing AIDS awareness and educational outreach to the community."

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.