Martinis were invented in Martinez! Who knew? Probably everybody in Martinez since the Gold Rush in 1848. Let's celebrate with a, wait for it ... shaken or stirred martini at the aptly named Martini Festival this weekend!

'Shaken or Stirred'

Welcome to the third annual Martini Festival, "Shaken or Stirred," from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Plaza Ygnacio Fountain at City Hall, 525 Henrietta St. in Martinez, the birthplace of the martini.

There will be martinis, delights from local restaurants, music by Big Cat Tolefree & The Hypnotics, dancing, horse-drawn carriage rides, contests, a silent auction and more martinis.

For ticket information, visit www.themartinifestival.com. Tickets cost $65 each or $120 per couple.

End Alzheimer's walk

If only it were that easy. Join the Walk to End Alzheimer's at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, beginning in Civic Park, at the corner of Civic Drive and Broadway in Walnut Creek.

Similar walks will be held across the United States this fall. Visit www.alz.org to register or donate funds to support the cause.

The national Alzheimer's Association organization uses 70 percent of annual revenue for care, support, research, awareness and advocacy activities.

Help out at your local Alzheimer's Association as an individual (teen, adult or senior) or part of a family, team, group of employees or company. Contact Tessie Calligeros at tessie.calligeros@alz.org to find out where your skills are needed.

Philanthropy Awards

The Contra Costa Council's Social Responsibility Task Force has announced eight individuals and organizations that will be honored at the second annual Contra Costa Philanthropy Awards breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Drive in Concord.

Register early for the breakfast at www.contracostacouncil.com. For more information, contact the council office at 925-246-1880 or email info@contracostacouncil.com.

The Philanthropy Awards program recognizes individuals, businesses and service organizations that have made significant contributions of time, leadership and financial support to benefit Contra Costa residents.

  • Volunteer of the Year winner is Orinda resident Kay Aaker, who has tirelessly volunteered at Caring Hands at the John Muir Medical Center, American Cancer Society and Hospice of the East Bay, among others.

  • The Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to Judy Lazarus, founder of the Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center of Orinda, which has offered therapeutic horseback riding for children with a wide range of disabilities for 18 years.

    The nonprofit organization serves Contra Costa County and Alameda County children with Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship certified instructors and a licensed physical therapist, who, along with volunteers, serve 48 children a week at the ranch in Orinda, specially leased from PG&E and with the support of Chevron.

  • Congratulations to Wells Fargo for the Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist Award (501 employees and above); Neiman Marcus of Walnut Creek for Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist (100 to 500 employees) and InVision Communication for Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist (1 to 99 employees).

  • Mary Garaventa, Concord resident and benefactress on behalf of the Silvio and Mary Garaventa Family Foundation, has been selected as Outstanding Philanthropist. Her family foundation has given more than $1 million to benefit various organizations in our community over the years.

  • East Bay Community Foundation will win the award for Outstanding Foundation or Community Grant Maker.

  • The Outstanding Collaborative Project winner, SparkPoint of Contra Costa County, partners with Bay Area Legal Aid, Brighter Beginnings, Center for Human Development, Contra Costa Employment & Human Services, Contra Costa Health Services, Community Housing Development Corporation, First 5, Opportunity Junction, STAND!, Stride Center and United Way of the Bay Area.

    "Come and help us honor our 2012 award recipients, who are helping make our community a better place in which to live," said Contra Costa Council president and CEO Linda Best.

    The event will feature a keynote address by Elaine Taylor, president and founder of The Taylor Family Foundation (www.ttff.org). The foundation's mission is to preserve the wellness and enhance the quality of life for children in Northern California living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses and developmental disabilities, and youth at risk, through unique therapeutic experiences and support.

    Mark Hughes, founder and co-chair of the task force and chair of the awards event committee said, "The Contra Costa Philanthropy Awards help build awareness and inspire many more organizations to learn how to get more involved in this work, which can transform companies and make a true difference in our communities."

    A prestigious panel representing all sectors of the community and government was formed to make the award selections. Judges included Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover; Jim Becker, vice president of community investments, Richmond Community Foundation; Linus Eukel, executive director, John Muir Heritage Land Trust; Angie Coffee, senior managing director, private business banking, First Republic Bank; and Mark Hughes, manager of public affairs, Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery.

    Rappelling for a cause

    Master Daniel Tomizaki raised more than $2,000 in one week this summer as part of the Over the Edge rappelling fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics. Participants rappelled down the 38-story Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco, enjoying spectacular views of the city in addition to raising funds for a good cause.

    Tomizaki's Champions Kung Fu Institute in Concord has a history of community involvement, including fundraisers for the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and Japan-Aid with the American Red Cross.

    'Captured' at Bedford

    The Bedford Gallery features "Captured: Specimens in Contemporary Art" exhibition through Nov. 18.

    "Looking to traditions as diverse as taxidermy, specimen boxes and the cabinet of curiosities, this exhibition will address the changing nature of our relationship with the natural world, and encourage viewers to consider the questions 'what is a specimen, what do they tell us, and why are they important to both artists and scientists,'" says Bedford curator Carrie Lederer.

    The gallery welcomes 2,000 K-12 children a year for school tours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings before the gallery is open to the public.

    Docents bring art alive and encourage future artists with hands-on art projects. To schedule a group tour, email gallerytours@bedfordgallery.org.

    The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and from 6 to 8 p.m. when there are evening performances at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek. The first Tuesday of each month is free.

    For more information, visit www.bedfordgallery.org.

    Author talk

    The Clayton Valley Woman's Club will welcome guest speaker and local author Judith Marshall at its Oct. 9 meeting.

    Her book, "Husbands May Come and Go, but Friends are Forever" won the Jack London Prize awarded by the California Writers Club.

    Her column, "Fashion Over Fifty" is a hit in the Clayton Pioneer.

    The combined meeting and luncheon begins at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, at the corner of Ygnacio Valley Road and Alberta Way in Concord.

    For information, call 925-672-9448.

    Squadron record

    The Concord-Diablo Rotary's Picker Squadron gleaned more than 1,000 pounds of fruit in an hour and 20 minutes, putting the group at more than 9,000 pounds collected for the year. Each pound over 4 tons is a record.

    The bounty will be divided among the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Monument Crisis Center, Share, Salvation Army and the homeless shelter, all located in Concord.

    If you have fruit trees to be gleaned, contact Edi Birsan at 925 798-3537 or EdiBirsan@astound.net

    Concord cook

    Concord resident Priscilla Yee is featured in this month's Taste of Home magazine for her recipe for Summer Corn Salad.

    Taste of Home receives tens of thousands of recipes each year, and Yee's was chosen to be featured in the magazine and online.

    Taste of Home decided Yee's recipe is the perfect way to take advantage of fresh, seasonal produce.

    Get the recipe at www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Summer-Corn-Salad.

    "Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.