It is one of the most beautiful annual events on the California Riviera. "Romance of the Mission," held on the ancient grounds of the historical Mission San Juan Capistrano, brought together more than 400 guests for an evening of fine food and wine, incomparable entertainment and, most importantly, a spiritual connection to the religious and historical pasts of early California.
Special honors of the evening were bestowed upon Gilbert Aguirre, honorary event chairman representing the Mission Preservation Foundation. Aguirre, vice president of operations for Rancho Mission Viejo Co., joins a list of past chairs of distinction including Ambassador George Argyros and Julianne Argyros, Gen. William Lyon and Willa Dean Lyon, Joan Irvine Smith, Madeline Swinden, Richard O'Neill, Ninetta Herbert, and Sandra Segerstrom and John Daniels, to name a select group. Aguirre joined Foundation Board Chairman George O'Connell welcoming the crowd, ultimately raising $198,000 net from the evening proceeds. Funds are earmarked for restoration of the mission's gate house, which is the only brick building on the site that dates to the founding period in the 1770s.