photographs by Scott Smeltzer
As the stars sparkled overhead in a cloudless sky, and a cool Southern California breeze wafted through the air, over 450 guests made their way to South Coast Plaza’s Garden Terrace for the Festival of Children Opening Night Party. There, in honor of this year’s “Love in any Language” theme, trays topped with glasses of bubbly and a specially-made French cocktail whirled around the room as those in attendance savored a delectable selection of international cuisine from Italy, Greece and Argentina. Once the evening’s program began, all were immediately enthralled, as the Festival of Children Foundation’s annual FRED Award was presented to 13-year-old Jessica Carscadden, who shared the story of how she created the “We Care Bears” organization, which supplies stuffed animals to children in difficult situations. Inspired by her words, the audience was reminded of the evening’s true intent—to bring together the community and raise awareness for children in need across the nation. That’s love in any language.