A different kind of special event was recently held at the Solvang Festival Theater grounds -- and of course, the Red Coats were there in support of the cause.

On Saturday, Jan. 12, 20-year Red Coat volunteer Ruth Seeley, wearing a sparkling pink sweater, pink rose boutonniere and a beauty pageant-like sash that read "100 & Fabulous!", rang in her 100th birthday with family and fellow Red Coat volunteers who could not think of a better place to celebrate the centenarian than in the theater’s Patron’s Garden. 

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100-year-old Seeley sits happily surrounded by her family and in front of her special birthday cake at the Solvang Festival Theater's Patron’s Garden. 

"Ruth was clearly the belle of the ball, basking in the love of her family and friends," said Mary Ann Norbom, executive director of the Solvang Festival Theater, who attended the celebration.

According to Norbom, the celebration included more than 60 people who enjoyed cake despite the chance of showers. 

The Solvang Theaterfest board of directors and staff honored Seeley by presenting a custom-designed cake from Solvang Bakery and contributing $600 in her name towards the Solvang Festival Theater's maintenance fund. Norbom said she presented her with a framed certificate commemorating the donation. And her Red Coat family contributed another $135 at the party.

Over the years as a Red Coat volunteer, Seeley has attended numerous theater shows, offering her time and attention directing and handing out programs to event-goers, as well as renting blankets to patrons on colder nights. She works many of the four productions the PCPA brings to Solvang Festival Theater each summer, plus Theaterfest-produced concerts and other events, Norbom said.

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Presented by Mary Ann Norbom, executive director of the Solvang Festival Theater, birthday girl Ruth Seeley accepts a certificate commemorating a $600 contribution made in her name.  

Without pause and as a testament to her impressive longevity, when asked what she was most looking forward to after the birthday party, Seeley replied, “getting back to work!”

The Solvang Festival Theater opens for the 2019 season with a benefit concert for the theater itself, featuring country music star Scotty McCreery on April 27. Seeley will likely be there, too.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.solvangfestivaltheater.org

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. Follow her on Twitter @LAndreSYVNews.

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