More than 250 guests in black tie and glittering evening gowns came together at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort for a midnight champagne toast to ring in 2011. Hotelier Henry Schielein and his wife, Carol, welcomed the crowd to what arguably is one of the last grand and formal New Year's Eve dinner dances on the Orange Coast.
Arriving between 8 and 9 p.m., guests sampled hors d'oeuvres, passed on gleaming silver trays by white-gloved dining room staff. Cocktail glasses clicked with toasts of good health and good fortune ahead in 2011. The upbeat mood translated into a farewell to recessionary blues. It was a night for a party, a glimmer of optimism for better days to come.
The massive wooden doors to the ballroom were opened just after 9 p.m., unveiling the richly decorated holiday red expanse. White votive candles flickered in crystal vases on round tables properly set with wine and champagne crystal for each of five dinner courses to be served. Chiavari chairs in gloss black finish complimented the spectacular floral arrangements of multiple varieties of red roses set on tables. They surrounded a massive dance floor placed mid-ballroom that would be filled with romantic revelers dancing to the sounds of the band known as "Rembrandt."