A Party For All Seasons: Crystal Cove’s Soiree Over The Years

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Laura Davick said when announcing Crystal Cove’s first fundraising Gala in 2003. “A lot of fun” on one evening of the year can do a lot of good at the Cove all year long, and the 16th Annual Soiree on October 6 promises both. This year’s theme of “Blue 3.2” follows fifteen years of themed annual events that combine festivity and fundraising to support a sustainable Crystal Cove.

Back in 2003, The Conservancy was still called the Alliance to Rescue Crystal Cove, and its inaugural Gala was a tropical themed event with hula dancers, a steel drum band, antique woody cars, and even a fire dancer. The first party also featured an exhibit and sale of plein air paintings of Crystal Cove by local artists to raise funds. The inaugural theme was “Celebrating the Past and Rebuilding for the Future,” and that first tropical Gala has evolved to become the highly anticipated annual event now called “Soiree.”

Over the years, the themes have continued to highlight Crystal Cove’s special qualities and mission in an outdoor setting that promises a memorable and meaningful evening. The second annual party was themed “Golden Memories and Future Vision,” and 2005 and 2006 repeated the theme of “Coastal Splendor.” Later, Galas looked to the Cove’s iconic and colorful past with themes like “Rum Runner’s Ball” and “Jazz on the Beach” that included vintage cars, college students in period costume teaching guests to dance the Jitterbug and the Charleston, and a secret-password speakeasy that served bathtub gin fizz cocktails. 

Crystal Cove’s Old Hollywood heritage set the scene and theme for 2011’s glamorous “Surf, Sand, and the Silver Screen” with a red-carpet entrance, while 2012’s “Ocean’s Treasures” showcased marine conservation. “Wish You Were Here” and “Back to the Beach” were classic beach-themed events, and 2015’s “Moonlight Gala” celebrated the Cove’s natural beauty of sea, land, and sky illuminated by a real full moon. 2016’s Farm-to-Table Soiree celebrated Crystal Cove’s coastal wildlands and history as a rich landscape that once provided fruits and vegetables to nearby Coast Highway roadside stands.

While some themes have featured bygone eras, all have celebrated the evergreen connection between Crystal Cove’s historic cottages and the Cove’s preserved land and sea. This year’s “Blue 3.2” Soiree theme celebrates the 3.2 miles of coastline that the 46 historic cottages have watched over for nearly a century. Sixteen years of different Soiree themes are also connected by the continuous theme of gratitude to those who have generously stood with Crystal Cove year after year to ensure it lives on for generations to come.

By supporting innovative education, conservation, and preservation initiatives, the Soiree lasts long after the band plays its last song and the blufftop tent is taken down. The annual Soiree is held every fall, but as Crystal Cove Conservancy’s most important fundraising event, it’s a celebration that helps sustain Crystal Cove all year long. 



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