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The Crowd:

Celebrating the Great Park in Irvine

July 24, 2009|By B.W. Cook

It was back to basics as the Great Park Conservancy hosted its fourth annual “Jewel of Orange County” event July 18. Donor Joan HalvajianJoan Halvajian, representing the Halvajian Desert Nursery, announced a contribution of 5,000 citrus trees that will be donated to the Orange County Great Park. The citrus trees were grown specifically for the park at the Halvajian Desert Nursery in Thermal and will be planted in what will become a 20-acre citrus orchid in what will be known as the Great Park Community Farm. It is the largest planting of orange trees in Orange County in more than 30 years. Back to the basics, the county was founded on orange trees and other agrarian fields and now despite all our technological, industrial and real property growth, we have come full circle.

The fourth annual evening on the grounds of what will become the Great Park began with a cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres reception in historic Hanger 244, previously a part of the old air base. Party planners created a signature cocktail for the evening, which they called “The Orange County Zinger.” The crowd of some 300 Great Park supporters mingled, getting up close and personal with Great Park Conservancy Director Teddie Ray and a contingent of Orange County “who’s who” including Tom and Marilyn Neilson, Donna and Doug Neff, Conservancy Chairwoman Marian Bergeson and her husband, Garth Bergeson, Frank Barbaro, Steven Choi, Donna and Rich Cohn, Mitch Kleinman, John and Monica Sullivan, Michael Ray and Janet and Walkie Ray.

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The cocktail reception was decorated with a selection of the future orchard of orange trees beautifully displayed and decorated with a bounty of fresh oranges at the base of each live tree. After a “Zinger” or two, the crowd then left the hanger and went outside. Dinner was served at long picnic tables draped in white linen and festooned with verdant baskets of fresh citrus.

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