Honorary Chair Ruth DeNault . Photo by Holly Sigafoos

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, a nonprofit southern California cultural center, will hosts its preeminent annual fundraiser gala on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Toast to the Casa provides major support for all of the institution’s cultural and educational programs throughout the season. The gala also secures much-needed funds to preserve and the nonprofit’s historic landmark (the former home of city founder Ole Hanson) and maintenance for its botanical gardens.
Toast to the Casa’s 2019 theme,
The Enchanted Garden, transforms the institution’s historic landmark into a magical, spellbinding land of fantasy. Casa Romantica invites guests to open our keyhole door into the innermost enchanted gardens for surprises around every corner! Experiential entertainment, for which Casa Romantica’s gala is renowned, will include unicorns, fairies, and acrobatic performers, a swing-style big band, a wishing well-‘o’-wine game, gourmet food and beverages from over 25 local vendors, an oceanfront cigar lounge, and premier live and silent auctions.
Toast to the Casa: The Enchanted Garden will also premiere Casa Romantica’s newest attraction, Casa Lumina. The nighttime-only event opens to the public on September 22 and features a festively-lit garden walk through Casa Romantica’s Native Bowl gardens overlooking the ocean. The attraction will run for two weeks nightly and a limited number of tickets will be sold each night.
“We are grateful for the support of our sponsors, vendors, and all of our patrons in making Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens a southern California destination,” says Executive Director Berenika Palys. “Toast to the Casa will draw in great support to help us deliver our mission of making arts and cultural programming accessible to people of all ages.”
Nearly 40,000 individuals each year in south Orange County benefit from Casa Romantica’s community-directed programming of exhibitions, concerts, lectures, performances, horticulture activities, and educational experiences. In addition, Casa Romantica welcomes nearly 6,000 local students each year through free programs including school tours, art education workshops, concert
tickets to classical music and dance performances, weekly story time, and Music and Movement classes, as well as Orange County’s only tuition-free Classical Music Festival and Academy and Summer Dance Workshop.
In 2017, the institution was awarded “Outstanding Arts Organization of the Year” by Arts Orange County, the county’s official arts agency, and in 2018, Casa Romantica was named “Best Cultural Center in Orange County” by OC Weekly.
Guests greeted through Casa Romantica’s iconic keyhole door at the gala will be treated to swing-style jazz music performed by Empire Swing Orchestra on the Main Stage in the Historic Courtyard. DJ Nomis will spin contemporary music in Casa Romantica’s Amphitheater By The Sea, and acrobats, unicorns, and fairies will entertain guests throughout the property.
Attendees may also relax and appreciate the San Clemente pier from the Story Circle, where they can participate in the pleasures of a cigar lounge. For foodies, over 25 generous local vendors donating their time and efforts will provide eclectic food and beverages for all within a food festival-inspired setting throughout the property.
Along with enchanting entertainment and epicurean dining, expect plenty of opportunities to win at Toast to the Casa. The Wishing Well-‘o’-Wine game will draw from its depths bottles valued from $45-$150 for a flat fee to play. Proceeds from all activities will directly benefit Casa Romantica’s arts education programs. Those who want to win prizes will have the opportunity to bid on nearly 100 goods and vacation packages as part of the Silent Auction in the Main Salon. A grand Live Auction featuring luxurious destination and experience prizes will be held at 8:15 pm.
About the Honorary Chair: Ruth DeNault
Ruth DeNault was a Founding Director of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens when it was realized in 1999. She chaired the Nominating Committee for the Founding Board of Directors and has served as President twice. She co-chaired the Capital Campaign to restore and expand the facilities.
She has been a Foundation Trustee for Concordia University Irvine since 1989 and has been Co-Chair of a capital campaign for the Grimm Hall Administration Building, which houses the DeNault Lecture Auditorium. Ruth has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Jamestown in North Dakota since 1992, where her family donated a Performing Arts Auditorium.
A member of the Archaeology Institute of America’s Orange County Branch, she has served as Secretary, Vice President and President. Ruth is active with Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement, and the Arts & Learning Conservatory of Costa Mesa which provides music and theater programs for children.
Ruth received her BA and MBA from Concordia University Irvine. In 1956, she and her husband founded DeNault’s Hardware in San Clemente, and currently have five retail stores and a commercial division selling to large condominiums. Their four sons are active in the business, as well as six grandchildren.
Individual tickets to Toast to the Casa: Enchanted Gardens are $175 per person through August 31, and $200 beginning September 1.
Tickets and sponsorships are available for purchase online at ToastToTheCasa.com, by calling (949) 498-2139, or by visiting the institution at 415 Avenida Granada in San Clemente
About Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens maintains a robust series of year-round programs in arts, music, history, horticulture, and literature for all ages. Under the leadership of Executive Director Berenika D. Palys, Casa Romantica has commissioned several critically-acclaimed works, including Casa Coastal: The Art of Baja California (2018; visual art), Casa Theater: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2018; theater), Casa Kinetic: Celebrating Tap Dance Legends (2018; dance), Casa Coastal: Rebecca Louise Law (2017; visual
art), Casa Kinetic: Contemporary Dance Collective (2017; contemporary dance), The Beauty of the Butterfly (2017; visual art), Casa Kinetic: Carrie Lee Riggins (2016; contemporary dance), Casa Drama: Slings & Arrows (2015; theater), and Open Casa: The Photographs of Douglas Kirkland (2015; visual art). The 2018-19 Casa Captivating season includes more music, visual and performing arts commissions, and an enhanced wellness program.
“Casa Romantica strives to be the epicenter for innovative artistic experiences in our southern California community,” says Casa Romantica Executive Director Berenika Palys.
Casa Romantica also hosts a variety of free arts education programs for children year-round. The institution’s annual Casa Romantica Music Festival and Academy has received critical praise for its comprehensive two-week music studies program in cello, piano, viola, and violin. Casa Romantica also offers a Summer Dance Workshop, a Spring Break Arts Week, various art, literature, and horticulture events to grades K-12, and welcomes over 2,000 children from the Capistrano Unified School District each year for STEAM-based field trips that examine the history of San Clemente and the coastal environment.
Mission Statement: Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and is the historic home of the founder of the City of San Clemente. Casa Romantica provides programs for all ages in arts, music, history, and horticulture and is a premier Southern California cultural center.
Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is located at 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA 92672. Hours: Tuesday—Thursday 11 am—4 pm; Friday—Sunday 10am—2pm; closed Mondays and holidays. General admission is $5; Casa Members and children under age 13 visit for FREE. For more information, call (949) 498-2139 or visit CasaRomantica.org

Art Casa Romantica announces 17th annual Experiential Fundraiser