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Moonlight on Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo hosts its 11th annual sunset fundraiser with music, food and auctions

A plateau on Mount Diablo's southwestern flanks was the setting Saturday night for a gala evening of music, food and live auctions.

It was all part of Save Mount Diablo's 11th annual Moonlight on the Mountain at the rock formation known as China Wall.

Almost 500 people attended the event, which is expected to raise about $250,000 for the non-profit organization.

There wasn't any actual moonlight, but guests were still treated to a catered dinner, live music from the band Mersey Beach and a live auction overseen by professional auctioneer and former Mt. Diablo school board member Dennis McCormac.

Guests also could bid in a silent auction for paintings that sat on easels near the more than 40 tables spread across the plateau.

The evening began at 4 p.m. and lasted until 10 p.m.

Guests parked in the Macedo Ranch parking lot or along Green Valley Road and were driven up the fire trails to China Wall by limosine shuttle vans.

The late afternoon was reasonably warm on the mountainside and there was little wind. That changed as the sun started to set and a cool breeze blew through. The fading sunlight did strike the mountain, presenting an array of colors.

Pat Campbell and his wife Shirley were attending the event for the first time. The Pleasant Hill couple have been members of Save Mount Diablo for more than six years.

"It's about time we came I guess," said Pat Campbell. "It's absolutely gorgeous up here."

Former state Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla has attended Moonlight on the Mountain a half-dozen times. He said he comes to support the organization and because of the venue.

"At most fundraisers you're locked in a ballroom. Here you get to enjoy the mountain," he said.

Also attending were Walnut Creek Mayor Bob Simmons and Concord Mayor Ron Leone. Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff as well as other politicans were also in attendance.

Save Mount Diablo also presented its Mountain Star Awards.

They honored the city of Concord for its six-year effort to turn the land at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station into affordable housing, transit-oriented walkable communities and open space.

The group also honored Dave Sargent, a retired board member for "his leadership, his thousands of hours of hard labor and for his significant contribution to the mountain's ongoing ecological health."

The event emcee was Carolyn McArdle of The New 103.7 radio station.

Save Mount Diablo has worked with other agencies to help preserve more than 100,000 acres of open space since its formation in 1971. Group leaders, however, say there is another 70,000 acres of natural land threatened by development.

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