Four anniversaries in one

Lagunans celebrate multiple milestones with one big party on Main Beach.

May 11, 2011|By Joanna Clay,

About 100 people gathered on Main Beach on Tuesday for a few local birthdays.

Although a celebration isn't foreign to the coveted stretch of downtown Laguna Beach, this one was particularly poignant because it celebrated the milestone anniversaries of a few city institutions: the Laguna College of Art & Design, the Laguna Playhouse, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and the Laguna Beach Visitors and Conference Bureau.

Mayor Toni Iseman warmed up the crowd of beach-goers, tourists and locals — congratulating the organizations and extolling the importance of tourism to the city and to its businesses.

"A lot of us vacation at home," she said, referring to the luck many have to live in Laguna.

Last year tourism contributed $8 million to the city.

"Think twice before you get mad at a visitor," bureau board President Karyn Philippsen said with a laugh. The bureau is celebrating 25 years with the city.


Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood was excited to celebrate its 90th birthday with the city.

"It really gives us the opportunity to connect in another way with our audience, patrons and supporters," she said. "There isn't any other community I can think of, besides ours, that would let theater thrive for nine decades."

Jonathan Burke was on hand as part of his transition in replacing LCAD President Dennis Power. Burke officially replaces Power on June 1.

He's been with the college for 31 years and saw the first class of six graduate. The college has 70 graduates this year and 450 students. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

"It's wonderful for the community to have within its borders an art school with accreditations that's teaching the next generation of artists," he said.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center board President Jock Stalker was there to honor the staff for 40 years of excellence in the city.

"For over 35 years, we've been allowing the public to view our patients," Stalker said about the organization that rescues and rehabilitates seals and sea lions.

Although many came out to show support for their city, they also enjoyed free cupcakes — as evidenced by a long line — donated by local Food Network sensation Casey Reinhardt of Casey's Cupcakes.

A local herself, Reinhardt was excited to be a part of the event.

"Laguna is so unique — from its beaches and restaurants to its shopping," she said. "I think everyone should come here at least once in their life."

Laguna local Arnold Hano enjoyed the cupcakes with a few friends after the event.

"I think this is wonderful …and I had cupcake all over my face," said Hano, 89, who has lived in Laguna since 1955 with his wife, Bonnie.

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