About a dozen people in a festive mood gathered Monday on Second Street to applaud the unveiling of a new sign recognizing individuals and businesses who donate the funds necessary to maintain the grounds of the Solvang Festival Theater.

City officials, representatives of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, Solvang Theaterfest board members and some of the sponsors braved overcast skies and the first drops of rain to cut a ribbon just after 4 p.m. and lift the sheet covering the sign.

Located between the box office and the entrance gate, the sign lists the donors who each contribute annually to the maintenance of the lawn, gardens and trees outside the open-air theater.

Replacing the previous sign has been on Solvang Theaterfest’s to-do list for several years.

“The old sign was two decades old and it needed to be redone,” said Mary Ann Norbom, executive director of Solvang Theaterfest. “It was designed for 15 (donor) spaces, but it had gotten up to 17, so two of them were kind of stuck up in the corners.

“This is cleaner in design, and it’s larger to accommodate 20 incredibly generous sponsors who each donate $350 a year,” she said. “That money goes to pay for — well, look at our beautiful grounds.”

Norbom added the new sign was paid for by Pam Pilcher, former executive director of Solvang Theaterfest.

Although there are 20 spaces, there are currently 17 donors, leaving spaces for three more to bring total contributions to the approximately $7,000 needed to maintain the grounds, which are an integral part of the theater experience.

Patrons often picnic on the grass before summer theatrical performances, garden blooms surround the receptions that precede and follow concerts, and special events are shaded by the towering trees.

Following the ribbon-cutting, the small crowd gathered inside the gates for a toast to the new sign with Sanford sparkling wine.


News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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