A full moon rose over Mount Diablo Thursday evening, overlooking downtown Walnut Creek, which was partying to celebrate a Neiman Marcus luxury store opening in Broadway Plaza.
The walkway to Neiman Marcus was a magenta carpet, with butterfly silhouettes illuminated on it by stage lights. "The entrance reminded me of Palm Springs or something," said Rene Zocchi of Danville, looking around the bright lights of the store, which opens to the public Friday morning at 10.
Thursday night was for a gala raising money for four East Bay charities, showing off the spotless story to the East Bay swells. "It's lovely," said Yolanda Gonzalez of Danville, "I'm happy to have it here in Walnut Creek. And I'm happy that the Monument (Crisis) Center is one of the recipients." Gonzalez volunteers at the Monument center in Concord, serving food in the food pantry and doing other volunteer tasks.
Her daughter, Julie Gonzalez of Danville, was along at the gala, and even made a purchase at Neiman Marcus. She bought a pair of bronze Gucci shoes with five-inch heels for $595.
"They're beautiful," said Gonzalez, laughing. "I'll wear them tomorrow, probably."
The other charities that benefited from Thursday's gala were Diablo Regional Arts Association, the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay and the Taylor Family Foundation of Livermore.
Hundreds of gala guests, paying $200 for tickets, filled the two floors of the store, with live music and a DJ. San Francisco 49er quarterback Alex Smith parked for an hour in the cafe, signing autographs and having his picture taken.
Neiman Marcus, said Melinda Darby of Lafayette, is "quite a smashing addition to Walnut Creek. It shows how far Walnut Creek has come in the 19 years I've been here." It's a rising tide, she said, noting recent improvements to Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus' neighbor in Broadway Plaza.
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